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Getting An Understanding Between 2D And 3D Animation

Jun 30, 2008
Do you remember when computers first came out? It was truly a momentous occasion that will be hard to top. If you are old enough to remember the early days of computers, then you are probably pretty impressed with all of the technological advances that have been made within the industry. One of the biggest advances is in the form of animation; computer animation to be specific. The improvements made within a relatively short span of time are incredibly awesome.

Animation actually refers to any kind of animated graphic, not just the 3D animations. Animation has historically been produced in two ways. The first is by artists creating a succession of cartoon animations frames, which are then combined into a film. A second method is using physical models, such as in King Kong.

The model is positioned, the image is recorded, then the model is moved, the next image is recorded, and the process continues. At times a simple rendering machine is used to produce successive frames to create animations, where the image is slightly changed in each one. It is hard to believe that it all started as basic cartoon figures in a book and flipping the pages over.

All types of animations, including computer animation, depend heavily on motion control. Naturally, many of the earlier animators were actually scientists rather than artists and as such, scripting systems were developed and this resulted in the animator actually writing a program, or script to control the animation. Most of the earlier systems did not have the computer power needed for optimum results.

In the early days of animations cartoons, expert animators such as Walt Disney, would design (choreograph) an animation by drawing certain intermediate frames called keyframes. Then the other, less experienced animators would draw the in-between frames. The sequence of steps to produce a full design computer animation would include developing a story (or script), and laying it out on what is known as a storyboard.

This is a sequence of drawings showing the form, structure and story of the animation. Once a detailed layout of the action scenes is produced, it is correlated with a soundtrack. They would then transfer the frames to sheets of acetate film, called "cels". The cels were then assembled into a sequence and filmed.

You have more than likely dealt with animations and may not have even known it. For example, if you have ever created a project using PowerPoint or a similar application, then you have created a project using 2D animations. Using the computer to create these animations is a much faster method than the original method of hand-painting cels.

Considering the fact that it is close to impossible to produce the thousands of drawings that would be needed for creating the animation by hand, the superiority of computer animation can be seen when creating 3D animation versus hand-drawn methods, as most people are pretty inefficient at drawing three-dimensional objects.
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