Animation in Nigeria is no longer a mirage or a dream. Nigerian animation is a reality. A reality that has spurred the advancement of storytelling and it has proven to be one of the best and creative forms of imparting knowledge and ideas to its audiences. Why? Because with animation, virtually anything is possible.
Though the Nigerian animation industry is comparatively small than the rest of the world, it is growing so exponentially that the Federal government lauds its potential to facilitate economic growth and development.
Nigerian Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed stated this last year during the opening ceremony of the 4th French and Japanese Embassies Animated Film Festival at the Institut Francais du Nigeria in Abuja.
He said, “it is worthy to note that with the inclusion of Nigerian content in the animation film festival, it will create adequate employment and contribute to the growth and development of the nation’s economy.”
This just goes to illustrate how big a deal animation is in Nigeria coupled with the fact that, Nigerians yearn to consume locally made animated content.
Away from the macroeconomics of animation, several animation studios have contributed to the growth and development of African animation in Nigeria.
Below is a list of a few of these studios you should know about. These studios encompass both 2D and 3D animation and are listed subjectively and in no particular order.
1. Ajebo toons
Ajebo Toons was founded by Egwuve Majomi Yugbovwre. She is a 2D animator and one of Nigeria’s only female animators. Ajebo Toons is one of the most popular animation studios in Nigeria, known for the viral and hilarious Aje and Kpako animated series. Aje and Kpako details the misadventures of two boys. It is funny, relatable and most importantly, it is Nigerian in all ramifications.
Besides Aje and Kpako, Ajebo toons have begun releasing episodes of a new animated series, Bubu and Fawol.
2. Spoof Animation
Spoof Animation is one of Nigeria’s leading 2D animation studios focused on telling compelling African stories through animation. Spoof Animation was founded in 2015 by Ayodele Elegba and has since remained a solid name in the animation industry.
Besides other short animation skits, Spoof Animation has credits for producing the rib cracking animated comedy, Area Daddy. In 2016, Area Daddy went on to win the first edition of Digital Lab Africa’s Transmedia Pitching Competition. A pilot episode of Area Daddy was also screened at Annecy in 2017. Area Daddy was last year greenlit for production by Lagadere Studios and Keewu Productions. One thing is certain, however; Area Daddy will be gracing our screens real soon.
3. Magic Carpet Studios
Magic Carpet Studios is a 2D and 3D animation studio based in Lagos. The studio’s vision is “to bring stories, ideas and dreams to life through bursting colours, exciting motion and spectacular visuals using emerging technologies”. This is highly evident in their animation projects such as Meet the Igwes and the upcoming Passport of Mallam Ilia which was teased last year.
In addition to animation, Magic Carpet Studios is also involved in illustration and game development.
Learn more about Magic Carpet Studios and the Passport of Mallam Ilia.
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4. Anthill Productions
Anthill Studios is one of, if not the biggest production studio for 3D animation in Nigeria! It was founded by popular filmmaker Niyi Akinmolayan in 2008. Anthill studios boasts an impressive 3D animation portfolio which includes projects such as Plaything, The Sim, Retrieve the Droid and Peak Milk’s Lola and Chuchu series.
The studio is hard at work to release it’s first full length animated film, Frogeck, towards the end of 2019. Frogeck will no doubt leave a historic mark in the Nigerian and African animation industry when it premieres.
The studio also helped promote an animated Kickstarter campaign for Roye Okupe’s Malika. Animation on the successfully backed pilot would be completely handled by Anthill Studio.
Anthill Studios features star players like Godwin Akpan, Eri Umusu and Nurdin Momodu
Learn more about Anthill Productions.
5. Komotion Studios
Komotion Studios is another 3D animation studio in Nigeria. It aims to produce animated films that promote Nigeria’s slowly eroding culture. The studio is one of the only ones that deeply employs motion capture techniques in its creation process.
Komotion Studios sometime last year released a trailer for an upcoming project that was met with rave reviews and positive response. Following the success of that, the studio is set to release a star-studded full-length animation titled Dawn of Thunder. The film will chronicle the life of Sango, the Yoruba god of thunder.
Learn more about Komotion Studios.
6. OBK Studios
Thanks to its uniqueness and popularity, Freak the Fxx Out is the first thing we think of when it comes to OBK Studios. Freak the Fxx Out is a collection of creepy short stories. It is a horror animated series of skits created by Kanso Ogbolu, aka the Smiling Hat. If you like bizarre, gory and unexpected stories, Freak the Fxx Out is just what the doctor prescribed.
It tells unfortunate stories of characters who end up getting murdered in the most brutal way. I could say it is the first of it’s kind since other animation studios lean heavily towards family and kids entertainment.
Moving away from Freak the Fxx Out however, Kanso and his OBK Studios is simply a full circle content machine. The outfit is responsible for Talk, Falz’ hybrid 8-bit animated music video hybrid animated video and a number of witty skits and commercials.
Watch Freak the Fxx Out on IGTV.
Learn more about OBK Studios.
7. Orange VFX Studios
Founded in May 2010, Orange Visual Effects is recognized as one of the leading 3D and visual effects creators in Nigeria. Orange VFX provides content solutions for clients who want to tell their stories and advertise their products.
While Orange VFX focuses mostly on client work, the studio produces an animated series called Ovie & Wale which is lots of fun and has the right laughs.
Learn more about Orange VFX Studios.
8. Smids Animation Studios
Smids Animation Studio was founded by Damilola Solesi. In September 2018, their project The Makerbolts was pitched at the Lagos Comic-Con, where it was selected alongside ToonUp Animation’s Garbage Boy and Trash Can as one of two projects that will screen at Annecy’s MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde in 2019.
Early in March this year, Smids Animation’s Boxed Series was also screened at the Cape Town international Animation Festival.
9. HighBreed Animations
HighBreed Animations is an Animation Company, based in Lagos Nigeria. The company has two mascot characters, Ojo and Ebuka. High Breed Animation has produced two episodes of an animated series titled Ojo and Ebuka Series. High Breed Animation is presently working on its first short Film titled Felele featuring their two mascot characters.
10. ToonUp Animations
Ridwan Shades Moshood’s is a highly talented illustrator and animator who heads ToonUp Animation. In 2018, Garbage Boy and Trash Can won the first Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab Competition.
In September 2018, Garbage Boy and Trash Can was also pitched at the Lagos Comic-Con, where it was selected as one of two projects that will present at Annecy’s MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde this year.
ToonUp is known for its colorful and playful animation style reminiscent of the aesthetic of Cartoon Network classics. The studio is credited with producing Into the Odd and is presently working on In My Hood. Details on this project are scanty, but the teaser Moshood released for this is exhilarating. The teaser promises a fun trip around Lagos, showcasing the city’s prettiest moments and it’s ugly realities.
11. Scroll Entertainment
Scroll Entertainment was established in 2015 by talented artist and animator Harry Dunkwu. Scroll Entertainment is an animation company that specializes in the creation of content such as 2D/3D illustrations, comics, movie storyboards, concept art, animations, cartoons and game development art. Scroll Entertainment also conducts digital art & 2D animation trainings.
12. Basement Animation
Basement animation is one of the fastest growing animation studios in Nigeria. The studio is focused on producing teens & family entertainment content.
In 2017, Basement Animation was listed among the Top 5 Nigerian Animation Studios in DISCOP Book. Basement co-produced L’arbre à Palimpseste, a pilot episode which was selected to represent Africa and compete with other global counterparts at Animation du Monde 2018 Anncey. The studio is also responsible for the trailer for the Fupi Toons Animation Festival 2018.
Basement Animation’s next project Downtown Lagos, a 2D animation, will be released soon and it promises to be awesome.
Learn more about Basement Animation.
13. Quadron Studios
Quadron Studios is a Lagos-based creative agency focusing on 2D and 3D animation, virtual and augmented reality, motion graphics, visual effects and branding among others. Quadron Studios was founded by Uche Anisiuba and Tayo Fasunon and draws on the spirit of Lagos to help its clients.
Animation in Nigeria is going global as many animation studios are working very hard to show the world what they can do. As a nascent industry, the future of animation in Nigeria is bright. Hopefully, in the end, Nigerian animation (and animation from the rest of Africa) will stand toe to toe with the big names of the world.