Animation Studies (there is such a thing)

There is such a thing as animation studies. It's still a relatively new area of study, and is often see as a shadow of its big brother, film studies. It may be argued that animation is film. However, the definition of film is live-action, since the term 'film' itself refers to the piece of material in which light reacts photochemically through the camera to create images. Animation is entirely constructed, though of course you can have hybrid live-action/animated screen media.

I am trying to determine what makes animation so special. What can animation do that other media cannot do? Are there things that is better represented through animation? I don't think I'm the first person to think about this, as the 'Animation Studies Reader' that I'm reading suggests that this is a broad topic that other people have studied. But it seems to be an interesting topic for me to think about.

3D computer animation can benefit with the social context provided by animation studies. Paul Ward offered some thoughts on this in 2006, stating that it is preferable to be a critical practitioner, instead of a reflexive practitioner (who focuses on the technological side of the computer animation), or a theoretical practitioner (focusing on the textual interpretation). The critical practitioner looks at the entire context, and I believe this still applies today even though the article is quite old. Many schools still teach from the technological/vocational approach. It's just getting us a job, but not too much focus on the social context or the artistic side of animation. That part we have to do ourselves, most of the time.

I wonder if this has a bad effect on the industry.