Computer animation has turned out to be one of the biggest and most lucrative industries today. Since past few years, the technology of computer animation is getting simpler day by day; at the same time, window of opportunities for talented computer animators is also increasing at a radical pace. Let us have a brief insight at this computer animation.
Traditionally, in the absence of computer technology, animations were done manually. The most widely used method was making a series of drawings, which were later blended into a film. Another method popularly adopted was by using physical objects or models. Using this method objects or models were placed at a certain place, and images were captured. The objects or models were then moved, and again a set of images were captured, and this process kept on recurring.
Eventually, with the advent of technology, traditional ways were replaced by computer animation. Computer animation or CG animation is the method of creating moving images with the help of computers. Using computers both 2D as well as 3D animation can be created. CG animation is also sometimes referred to as CGI (computer-generated imagery) animation. Images are created on the computer and then are manipulated using various sophisticated CGI software packages. Photorealistic animation involves motion capture, which is a process of recording the movement of people or objects.
CGI Software Packages
Computer animation entirely depends on the use of various CGI software packages. Maya, Cinema 4D, 3ds Max, Softimage, V-Ray, Mental Ray, and Z-Brush are some of the examples of CGI software packages. There are plenty of CGI software package options available, although, prices varies according to the functionality of the program.
Using these high-tech CGI software packages, computer animators can create amazing animations. Although, the key reason of amazing computer generated imagery lies with creative vision of the animators.
These days, computer generated animation has a diverse and extensive use ranging from the field of movies, video games, televisions, advertisements, web designs, and even education and research. Since it has a wide range of application, computer generated imagery has seen a steep upward surge over a past few years or so.
People all over the world, especially the young ones, are simply mesmerized by the hyper-real graphics and sound effects that have been introduced in movies, television programs, as well as in commercial adverts. The use of multimedia aspects makes the presentation more alluring as well as effective.
Animation has significantly improved over the years, from the old two-dimensional cartoons of old to the amazing, and often believable, three-dimensional animation that can now be seen in many movies.
So, how does computer animation work? In a nutshell, 3D animation is created by using a computer to “give life” to static images. In other words, by quickly running through a sequence of images, a computer can appear to make static objects move. This article will explain the basics of how computer animation works.
How Does Computer Animation Work?
There are 2 types of computer animation. The first is called computer assisted animation and the second type is computer generated animation. There are differences between the two, the most significant being that computer assisted animation creates 2 dimensional, commonly referred to as 2D, images. Computer generated animation creates 3 dimensional, or 3D, objects.
The other major difference is that in computer assisted creation, the artist will draw the original 2D objects either on paper or with the help of a computer. In computer generated graphics, the computer does all of the work, since it’s not possible to create this type of dimension using pencil and paper.
In traditional animation, an artist first draws out his objects, scenes and characters in a sequence. Next, he places the most important elements of the sequence in an outline. These are known as keyframes. Each keyframe represents a significant point of time in the final sequence.
Originally, junior animators were then called in to draw the parts of the sequence between these keyframes, thus creating one continuous sequence. Creating these cells, or frames, which fill the gaps between the keyframes is referred to as tweening.
With computer assisted animation, tweening is done by the computer using advanced mathematical algorithms to create a smooth, animated sequence. In computer generated animation, the entire process is done by the computer, from the beginning drawing to the final animation sequence.
What Kind of Software Is Needed to Create 3D Animation?
Today’s computer animators use sophisticated software programs to generate 3D images and graphics. A few of the most popular 3D animation software programs are Maya, 3D Max and Poser. These programs are used by amateur animators and professional artists alike. Unfortunately, the cost of these programs is completely out of reach for the average person. Many of them cost $5000 or more! Thankfully, there are few cheaper options, including free software, available for aspiring animators to learn with.