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Sunday, September 14, 2008


What is animation?

In Latin, ‘Anima’ means soul. Animation is all about giving soul to a character.
It is about moving something which cannot move itself. Time and space play
a critical role in animation. The object of animation could be a 2D painting,
a clay statue, a picture of a person/ animal/ thing – just about anything at all.
Animation simulates movement through a series of pictures that have objects
in slightly different positions.

How does animation work?

A simple theory known as persistence of vision offers an explanation. The
Greek astronomer Ptolemy discovered this principle back in 130 AD. If
images are flashed before the eye at a speed of at least ten frames per
second, the brain thinks it is seeing a single moving image. The numberof
Frames Per Second (or FPS) directly correlates to how smooth the
movement appears. If the frame rate is too slow, the motion will look
awkward and jerky. If the frame rate is too high, the motion will blur.

Animation techniques

2D cel animation

Also known as traditional animation, 2D animation involves the creation
of a high volume of separate drawings that define a sequence. These
drawings are then traced with ink onto transparent celluloid sheets
called cel, which are scanned and painted using a special application
software. These cels are layered on each other to create a sequence.
The sequence is later edited to synchronise the audio and video content.
This technique is widely used in creating characters for animations and
cartoon programmes.Did you know that a full-length feature film produced
using cel animation often requires a million or more drawings to complete?

3D CGI animation

This technique makes extensive use of animation software programmes. 3D
objects are constructed using curves or 2D geometric figures. Software
programmes are used to modify the texture, light and colour of the object
surface. Virtual cameras are used to zoom, focus, illuminate and resize the
3D objects. Important frames are developed to regulate the flow of intermediate
frames. This technique is commonly used to create animation for television
programmes, movies and online and console games.

3D motion capture animation

This process of creating 3D characters is similar to the 3D CGI animation
technique; however, the techniques differ with respect to the time when
the animation effects are introduced. To produce animation effects,
sensors from a computer are attached physically to a human being.
These sensors help coordinate the real-time movements of the human
actor with the movements of a computerised 3D character. This technique
is widely used for low-resolution games, Internet characters, live TV
performances and special effects for animated movies.

What does it take to be a complete animator?

A good animator should have knowledge of:

~ Drawing techniques

~ Animation techniques

~ Different styles of animation such as 2D and 3D animation

~ Design and layout

~ How people move and express their feelings

~ How animals move

~ How to create different moods and feelings in characters

~ Computers and animation software applications

~ The history of art and design

~ Film and television production

Besides, he or she also needs to:

~ Be artistic, creative and innovative

~ Be a good communicator

~ Have inclination for good music

~ Be able to ideate and conceptualise

~ Be focused, self-disciplined and self-motivated

~ Be able to use knowledge of the human body and how animals move to
create animations

~ Be versatile and adaptable and able to accept criticism

~ Be able to work to a deadline

~ Be observant, with an eye for detail

~ Be able to work well in a team

~ Be able to understand the comic nature of cartoons


Creating animation Animation creation consists of idea development,
pre-production, production, and post-production.
In idea development,
the characters and story for the film, ad or other creative are created
and a go-ahead taken on the same.
In pre-production, the idea is converted
into layouts. The script is written and finalised, characters are designed,
a storyboard is created and layouts are developed. Cost-wise, this phase is
extremely important since a single mistake here can put the entire project

Pre-production for 2D animation

1. Scriptwriting 2. Storyboarding

3. Character development 4. Backgrounds

5.Layout designing 6. Animatics

7. Voice

Production for 2D animation:

In this stage, we get to see the actual results of the treatment given to the story as well as its visualization.

A large volume of production work is outsourced by overseas clients to Indian studios and the majority of Indian animation professionals are involved in production-related activities.

1.Animation 2.In-betweening*

3. Scanning 4. Compositing*

5.Background preparation 6. Colouring

* In-betweening: Tweening (short for in-betweening) is the creation of intermediate frames between two main images to give the appearance that the first image flows smoothly into the second one.

* Compositing: Images from different sources, e.g. real-world video, digitised film, synthetic 3D images,
2D animations, painted backdrops, still photos and text, are combined to create a finished frame of animation.

1. Editing 2.Special effects (SFX)

3.Colour correction 4. Compositing

5.Voice & music editing 6. Rendering*

*Colour correction: Undesirable cast or tint is removed from a colour image.

*Rendering: Giving final touches to an animation scene, in which the (vector) data is converted to the raster image or animation.

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