Rocky Shi on The Future of the Film Industry 

Rocky Shi on The Future of the Film Industry 
Rocky Shi on The Future of the Film Industry 
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Smaller production companies are finding innovative ways to meet animation’s increasing demand.

According to TAOST Co-founder and CEO Rocky Shi, the film industry will continue to use and rely heavily on animation production, at least for the foreseeable future. The increased appetite for narrative-driven animation, says Shi, will drive innovation and streamlined production in future films.

Currently, streaming services are begging for narrative-driven animation films for adults. Animation films created for adult audiences build and tell stories around adult themes and settings. And they almost always center on one character facing a struggle for survival.

The leading streaming service now owns 90 percent of all feature animation in the United States. This brand is willing to spend significant money to produce feature animation films, expecting to recoup much of that investment in merchandising. 

However, successful animation films don’t necessarily require the $200 million plus budget established by big-name producers. Smaller filmmakers can often produce narrative-driven animation films with a production spend of as little as $500,000. 

For example, Ale Abru produced and directed Boy and the World in 2013 with a relatively small production budget and a 35-person animation team.


According to Rocky Shi, artificial intelligence software will likely streamline procedural workflows and continue to lower production costs for many animated films. Animators now have more advanced options for mixing animation and computer graphics animation. These advanced options provide the opportunity to improve quality without adding cost. They also allow creators to add background or special effects. 

One example is Piper, a computer-animated film. In the movie, a sandpiper learns to overcome fears while growing up on a beach. The production uses a hyper-realistic animation style effectively, leaving the viewer questioning what is real.

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Film producers can use machine learning to improve quality and lower production costs in other ways as well. For instance, some tools can scan a pixelated image and turn it into a brighter, clearer image in real-time. This process is called denoising. 

Scaling animation is also made much easier through AI. Making changes to the environment, angles, size, and lighting is also more streamlined and faster with machine learning, mainly because the filmmaker no longer has to start from scratch.

Machine learning also makes motion capture easier. In many cases, actors no longer need to wear motion capture suits, while filmmakers no longer have to use the facilities of expensive studios.


These days, filmmakers often face the challenge of producing 4k films, which are made at 48 frames per second. To make these films, filmmakers will need to increase resolution, which, in turn, means they’ll have to create more detailed scenes and characters that will look good at higher speeds. 

Some filmmakers fear a shift to 4k films will be cost-prohibitive. Further advances in computer technology can help reduce the costs involved.

About Rocky Shi and TAOST

Rocky Shi is Co-founder at TAOST, a unique and innovative entertainment platform offering digital and visual artists, writers, content creators, and studios a better way to connect, collaborate, and share content. 

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