Uganda: Animation Industry Growing Fast

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On the busy street of Nkrumah road, hidden at a back office of a big stationery shop, is a group of young men and a lady, armed with a few computers, graphic tablets and an animation table, who plan to turn Uganda's first digital animation studio into the leading animation Studio in the region. Yunus Sebyala, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the little known Xtoons Animations, says it is the first animation studio in the country.

With a virtually non-existent animation industry in Uganda, Yunus Sebyala says he had to start from scratch. His dream is to build a world class animation studio in Uganda. After completing his A' level, Sebyala spent his vacation working with computer graphic programmes like PC DJ and movie maker, and searching for whatever piece of knowledge on animation he could get hold of.

Due to the fact that the animation was non-existent in Uganda at the time, Sebyala started to teach himself using the internet. Lady luck soon smiled upon him when he got a chance to travel to the UK in 2003. While there, he met with professional animators and learnt a bit about animation.

It is on this and other trips that he acquired the basic equipments used in animation like graphic tablets and some computer components like advanced graphic cards, which he later used to establish his small backroom office. After doing some practice on his own he decided to formalise things and set up a studio in the names of Xtoons Animations Limited in 2009.

"Prior to that, in early 2008, I began teaching a group of young artists interested in animation some basic skills in two dimensional (2D) animation, which is the most common form of animation used in most cartoons on television over the years," Sebyala says.

On why he chose 2D ahead of the fast-rising and more advanced three dimensional (3D), Sebyala says it was because it was easier to teach the people he was planning to work with. Also, 2D demanded less hardware, which meant less costs.

Registered in 2008, the company started operations in 2009 at its current Nkrumah road location. The company has completed two projects so far. Both are 2D animated adverts. Sebyala says they are in the advanced stages of starting an animated television programme on one of the local TV stations.