Advancement of 3D Animation Industry

Animation; the term gives an instant thought of cartoons and films based on computer graphics but prior to this a technique called Phenakistoscope was there which had simple drawings which moved simultaneously giving the effect of animation. There were several animated features created by using these drawings which differed from the previous one. This method disappeared by the end of the twenty first century and drawings were directly scanned or drawn into computers. The computer animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. 3D animations give the impression to look at characters from all angles like in real life. It can be grouped under various terms:

Cel-shaded animation:

It is also called cel-shading or toon shading which is designed to make the computer graphics to look as if hand drawn. It is used to copy the style of a comic book or cartoon characters.

Morph target animation

It is stored as a series of vertex positions. In each key frame of the animation the vertex will move to a different position. This can be used for animating cloth, skin and facial expressions.

Skeletal animation

This is also referred to as rigging and is an technique for the vertebrates. This technique works by constructing a series of bones and each bone is associated with some portion of characters visual representation.

Motion capture

It is a procedure for digitally recording the action movements. It can be used in video games to animate the characters of the game and in film making it refers to the technique of recording the action of human actors.

Crowd simulation

It is the process of reproducing the movement of a large number of objects or characters and used when there are more characters than that can be animated using the other methods.

The industries that are using 3D animations are interior designing, medical visualizations, architecture naval architecture and corporate presentations. There are several interactive 3D animation software that enables one to visualize and redesign a room. These are used by architectures for designing homes for their clients. This can be used in medical field training for explaining various concepts, phenomenon and surgical techniques to give a better and clear vision to the scholars. Then in naval field it is used in designing of ships by making a 3D ship model which helps in quick progress of ship building projects. In corporate world too it is used for preparing impressive presentations and interactive websites.

The 3D animations are very realistic and are used for giving special effects in movies. The film and advertisement sectors provide ample opportunities for the growth of animation industry. The employments of computers and software’s have fastened the pace of animation industry. The growth of its use in gaming industry has made it a fast growing and dynamic field. To provide an in depth description of product we now no longer depend on still images, 3D animation is the answer to create an interactive environment where an individual can relate to the objects and enjoy the virtual world created around him. We can say that with its diversity and effectiveness has left no field untouched by its impact.

Basics of Animation

Animation

Animation is an art of presenting a series of pictures or photos in a sequence rapidly in order to create an illusion of a motion. It is shown in either 2D, 3D or through a motion capture. Usually the animation was a series of images hand drawn by an artist movement by movement and are presented in a flipbook format or photographed each image and presenting them through a video program which is very painstaking method. Today with the advent of highly technical animation like motion capture which can be seen in the success of movie Avtar, the animation cannot be distinguished from the real world.

Principles of animation

Often considered as the bible of animation, the principles of animation are written by Ollie Johnston, and Frank Thomas in “The illusion of life: Disney animation”. The twelve principles are:

  1. Squash and stretch
  2. Anticipation
  3. Staging
  4. Straight ahead action and pose to pose
  5. Follow through and overlapping action
  6. Slow in and slow out
  7. Arcs
  8. Secondary action
  9. Timing
  10. Exaggeration
  11. Solid drawing
  12. Appeal.

Till today after 30 years, still the principles are followed by the industry and consider as the basis of any animation.

In education

Animation is the best way to attract children. It creates interest in them and with the animated characteristics telling the stories and rhymes with music, it can be easily understood and learnt by children. Apart from children, it can be used in the higher education to design the complex models like the architectural animation, and for medical studies. It is mostly used in medicine to design the complex parts of the human body which otherwise is not possible to use and explain the students. It is also useful in teaching the surgical procedures which are always not possible to practically show.

Animation software

The industry has gone a long way with the advent of computer. Today with 2D and 3D computer animation it is often tough to find the difference between the real and animation. The computer animation often referred to as CGI, uses various software to design the graphics. Some of the commonly used software are:

  1. Toon boom studio
  2. Animationish
  3. Flip boom
  4. Flash
  5. After effects
  6. Pencil
  7. Synfig
  8. CreaToon
  9. sWiSH
  10. ULead GIF animator
  11. 3D studio max
  12. Maya
  13. Lightwave
  14. Blender
  15. Swift 3D

Animation techniques

The method of animation has seen many transformations since its entry in 18th century. Right from the traditional animation, the technology has developed rapidly and gave wings to the creativity. Today we have many techniques that create great movies, which are stop motion, computer animation, drawn on film, paint-on-glass, erasure, pinscreen, sand animation, flip book, character animation, chuckimation, multi-sketching, special effects, animatronics, stop motion. The stop motion is very creative in which live images are captured on a camera in a way that on broadcasting, the animation creates a moving images animation.

What Is the Difference Between Multimedia and Animation?

So what exactly is the difference between Multimedia and Animation?

The word multimedia is, in itself, explanatory. It refers to the practice of using multiple forms of media, which may or may not include animation, simultaneously, within a given product or project. Multimedia products will often combine text, still images, video, film, animation and sound within one package.

Multimedia products are often interactive in nature and can only generally be created on, and accessed by, a computing device.

Multimedia now encompasses a vast array of products, projects and services. Familiar examples are the Computer Based Training courses (CBT”s) used in education or the typical instructional CD-ROMs so often favored by the learner driver.

The CV of an artist for example, containing, a headshot, biography and a portfolio of work, which is then burned to, and delivered on CD-rom, would also be considered multimedia in nature and multimedia is very often used in the corporate setting in the form of presentations.

Even the video gaming enthusiast is not immune to the onslaught of the multimedia revolution as he or she battles within the evermore complex multi-player gaming arena known as MMORPGs.

One of the most important features of the multimedia product or service is that it is more often than not, interactive in nature. The learner driver training CD mentioned previously would be a prime example as it would require the user to engage with the content throughout.

This type of educational platform also serves as a classic example of the non-linear forms of multimedia which requires interaction and input from the user over the control and delivery of the content. Multimedia in its linear form – a simple example being Cinema – offers little or no scope for such interaction or control.

The use of the term multimedia has changed over the years and it was only during the 90’s that it acquired its current meaning. Multimedia can be live or pre-recorded and with the advent of computer tablets, smart phones, advanced gaming platforms and the like, multimedia is now an all pervasive force.

Animation on the other hand is a ‘specific cinematic medium’ which often utilizes hundreds, sometimes thousands of still images. These images are combined in sequence over a specific time period (cinematically speaking) usually 24, 25, or 30 frames per second. When these images, which will all vary slightly from one another, are recorded and replayed in rapid succession, they create the illusion of movement.

Animations can be 2D or 3D. Can be hand drawn or computer generated. Involve clay models, puppets, shadows or cut-outs. Some animation may involve all these elements and more. Good cinematic examples of 3D animations are Toy Story, Shrek, The Incredibles and The Croods.

3D animation is a very complex area with a terminology that is uniquely its own. Essentially 3D animation starts with the creation or modelling of a 3D mesh of the object or character to be created. The mesh can then be refined by the modeller before being rigged and programmed for movement. 3D animation does require some basic drawing skills at least, is very technical, and relies heavily on the use of 3D textures and lighting.

Traditional 2D animation on the other hand involved the processing of thousands of individual images copied from original paper drawings onto transparent acetates known as Cels. Each Cel was then carefully coloured and set against a painted background before being photographed one by one with the aid of a rostrum camera.

This method of film-making bought us classics such as Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, 101 Dalmatians and the Lady and the Tramp.

Stopmotion animation is similar to the above the only difference being that a physical object such as a doll or puppet will appear to move on its own when it is manipulated bit by bit between photographed frames.

Nowadays the process of animation is much less cumbersome as much animation is created and edited on computers using vector or bitmap images with sophisticated software used for coloring and camera movement.