Computer animation is about bringing life to inanimate objects in a video.
It’s in two categories – Computer-assisted animation, and computer-generated animation.
There are different types of animation systems in computer graphics, and each type is subdivided into several other categories.
The five basic types of computer animation are the following
- Cel Animation (Traditional or Hand-drawn)
- 2D Animation (also called Vector)
- 3D Animation
- Motion graphics
- Stop Motion
Computer Animation Methods
Computer Animation methods enable animators to create high quality, animated movies, or video games with the help of special computer software.
The methods are often used to create computer-generated images from scratch or from already existing images or video clips.
There are many types of Animation methods available in the market today.
Each method has processes involved in creating animated objects.
These include; Beginnings, Transitions, Effects, Combinations, and Special effects.
Each of these is discussed in brief in this article.
The first part of any animation process is the preparation of the image or video clip for processing.
This is also referred to as the drawing path.
It is very important because you have to draw every single frame of the film frame by frame to form the image of the cartoon.
Once you understand the drawing path, you will be able to animate your characters.
During this stage, the details of the scene are planned out, lines are drawn, and color combinations are decided upon.
Various textures can also be used to provide depth to the final scene.
After a rough drawing is done, the image is scanned into the computer and is ready for some pixel-based changes.
Screen composition is used for deciding where to place various objects. Image processing software is used to alter and combine the data into an animated scene.
The next part of the process is the actual animation process, which is known as the transition or change in the image from one frame to another.
This is often done with the help of texturing or FX (lighting, shading, and reflections).
Many of these methods are based on the known techniques of film editing.
Motion-adaptation is used for simulating human motion in slow-mo or speed-of-motion sequences.
This is perhaps the most widely used part of Computer Animation.
It involves the blending or piecing together of many image processes such as light patterns, color palettes, depth-of-field blurring, blurred images, or screen wipes.
Many effects can be combined to give a final ‘look’.
Another computer animation method is called ‘camera ray tracing’.
In this method, the rays of light are traced from the camera to the chosen character.
When these rays collide with the chosen character’s surface, it will create an image of the character.
Of course, you need to use the right type of camera for this method.
If you use the wrong camera, your character will look unreal and you will lose your desired realism.
This method is used to give a smooth 3D effect. It follows a ray-tracing process.
The end result is usually somewhere between a traditional 2D cartoon drawing and a 3D animation.
This is the process of computing where the ray-tracing is applied to image sequences and producing the desired effect.
Of the many computer animation methods, the three that are the most popular and the ones that have found the most success in terms of production value are; Macclesfield, Brzescko, and Pixar.
Macclesfield is probably the oldest of the three; it uses a combination of pen-drawn animation and digital matte paintings.
Brzescko is an impressive example of a program that uses a combination of photographic images to produce a scene.
Another way of producing animation is with the help of computer animation methods called ‘animating’.
This is usually the most expensive but also the most interesting because the viewer gets to see the characters moving through the scene as they speak, laugh, or cry.
The most famous of these animation styles is Pixar. Created by the Pixar film company in the early 1990s, their animation technique called the animating technique is still in use today.
Other companies have followed suit and so there are many more animation techniques available.
There are still other computer animation methods available. One example is the ‘box-shadow’.
In this method, the areas which are dark will be highlighted and the light areas will get their background color.
This way, it will look more realistic. If you want to learn more about computer animation, you can check out some animation websites online.
If you want to create computer animation, learning these computer animation methods will surely make a lot of difference to you.
Even if you just want to create a simple animation for fun, you will never regret having learned these techniques.
The animation is of great importance today because it has affected popular culture.
Cartoons have changed people’s lives; movies have made stars out of millions; interactive computer games and toys are not unknown anymore.
All of these things can be traced back to the art of computer animation.