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What is Animation?

Animation is a type of optical illusion; it is the process by which we see still pictures move. It
involves the appearance of motion caused by displaying still images one after another at the
rate of 24 pictures per second. The most common method of presenting animation is as a
motion picture or video program, although several other forms of presenting animation also
exist. Often, animation is used for entertainment purposes. In addition to its use for
entertainment, animation is considered a form of art. It is often displayed and celebrated in
film festivals throughout the world. Also used for educational purposes, animation has a
place in learning and instructional applications as well.

There are two major forms of animation: 2D (hand-drawn) and 3D (CGI).

2D Animation

2d animation is the creation of moving pictures in a two-dimensional environment, such as

through "traditional" cel animation or in computerized animation software. This is done by
sequencing consecutive images, or "frames", that simulate motion by each image showing the
next in a gradual progression of steps. The eye can be "fooled" into perceiving motion when
these consecutive images are shown at a rate of 24 frames per second or faster.

Production pipe line

The overall process of creating a 2D animation is divided into three parts: pre-production,
production, and post-production.

Pre- production: Pre-production involves establishing the plot of the completed animation.
Because each shot in animation is so labor-intensive, it's imperative to get shots right during
pre-production. Re-animating a shot (because a character uses knowledge not gained until
later in the story, for example) is very expensive, especially compared to live-action filming.
Most animations are storyboarded, in which the main action in each scene is drawn in a
comic book-like form. Storyboards are usually pasted on large foam-core or posterboard
sheets, which can be quickly read through by the staff. During pre-production, the staff
reviews the storyboard for consistency, and parts of the storyboard may be redrawn multiple

Production: Each shot in a 2D animation involves multiple single drawings of characters. To

demonstrate the concept, think of a still camera that can take many photographs in rapid
succession. Imagine aiming that camera at a person and taking many quick photographs as
the person walks towards you. Each photograph corresponds to an individual drawing in an
animation. Keys are important drawings that convey the extremes of the character's
movement--the first drawing is almost always a key--while in-betweens are the remaining,
less important drawings in the shot. Typically, each drawing begins with a sketch, in pencil,
of the character's pose. This drawing is then cleaned up in pencil, though this is not always do
Some companies hand-ink each drawing, writing over the cleaned pencil lines with a pen.
Others--especially studios whose artists can draw very clean pencil lines--will scan the
pencils directly into the computer, then ink the drawing digitally.

The drawing is now considered a "cel." Before computers, the drawing would now be
photocopied onto a sheet of clear celluloid or acetate, then hand-painted. This created a "cel,"
which was placed on top of a background painting and filmed with the click of a film camera.
Cels are still highly prized by collectors, though few true cels remain. Many of those on the
market are reproductions. Today, the digital cels are colored on a computer. Meanwhile, a
background is drawn. The background is imported into an animation program, and each cel is
layered onto the background in succession. This is then saved on the computer as a single
video file.

In practice, the keys are usually drawn by a top animator, and these are then scanned and
assembled into a "rough cut" of the shot while the keys are given to a junior animator, who
will draw the tweens. The film can then be assembled during production, and junior
animators can be directed in small adjustments to improve the flow of each shot and scene. In
Asia, this is typically when dialog is recorded, so that the junior animators can match the
tweens to the vocal.

Post- production: Even after all the tweens have been colored and added to the animation,
the film is far from complete. There's still music and sound effects to be added, as well as
visual effects (glows, hazes, etc.). The animation also may need to be edited in the more
traditional film sense; shots cut slightly short or held longer, even scenes cut entirely.

Aladdin an example of 2d animation film

Aladdin is a 1992 animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, and
released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 25, 1992. The thirty-first animated feature in
the Disney animated features canon, relates a version of the story of Aladdin and the magic
lamp from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. It was directed by John Musker and
Ron Clements, both of whom had just finished writing and directing The Little Mermaid.
Production of the film Aladdin

In 1988, Howard Ashman suggested Disney make an animated musical version of Aladdin.
After writing a storyline and songs with partner Alan Menken, Ashman delivered it to
directors John Musker and Ron Clements. In 1991, the script was delivered to studio chief
Jeffrey Katzenberg, who thought the script "didn't engage", and only approved it after
rewrites from Clements, Musker and the screenwriter duo Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio.
Among the changes, the character of Aladdin's mother was removed, Princess Jasmine
became a stronger character, Aladdin's personality was reworked to be "a little rougher, like a
young Harrison Ford," and the parrot Iago, originally conceived as a "British" calm and
serious character, after the filmmakers saw Gilbert Gottfried in Beverly Hills Cop II was
turned into a comic role, voiced by Gottfried. The concept of calm, serious British bird
would later be worked into The Lion King's Zazu.

Most characters' designs were based on the work of caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. Aladdin was
drawn originally based on actor Michael J. Fox but during production it was decided that he
wasn't "appealing enough" and they decided to make him resemble actor Tom Cruise instead.
Computer animation was used to develop some features of the movie, such as the tiger
entrance of the Cave of Wonders, the magic carpet, the scene where Aladdin tries to escape
the collapsing cave, the full view of Agrabah, and the clouds in "A Whole New World".
The weakest-looking aspect of Aladdin is its computer-generated animation. With the
integration of CG within a 2D world still in its infancy in 1992, it often sticks out like a sore

Watching this film will give animation buffs the opportunity to study and admire the fine
animation work. The film mixed a variety of animation and art styles to come up with a
unique look. Though some influence from Richard Williams’ “The Thief and the Cobbler”
(made from 1968 to the early 1990s) is apparently present, the crew of “Aladdin” borrowed
motifs from Tex Avery cartoons, Al Hirschfeld drawings, and Arabian design. The colors,
used in the film are rich and almost three-dimensional. The film has the traditional touches
many people associate with classic Disney animation. The first element is story, the story of
a young boy who wants to become somebody. The sidekick characters are another element of
Disney animation, and there are many in this film and most of them are strong

The strengths of this film are many and overshadow any minor gripes one might have.
Musker and Clements’ direction is solid. The animation and voice casting is nearly perfect.
It’s fun entertainment. The film is also an interesting time capsule on Robin Williams. Of
course, there’s also the top-notch artwork and music. There’s not much doom and gloom to
be found in Aladdin, as the colorful, smooth style of animation really adds a layer of detail to
the story. Character animation is pitch-perfect, and the backgrounds are even better.
Combined with the trademark Disney style of orchestral music, Aladdin is a well-rounded
effort that holds up well.

Image detail and contrast are superb, and really bring the colorful world of Aladdin to life.
Only a few minor nitpicks kept this presentation from being perfect, namely a few instances
of very mild edge enhancement and a few traces of interlacing. Otherwise, this visual
presentation is up to the high standard of Disney’s Platinum Collection.

3D Animation

3D animation is the creation of moving pictures in a three-dimensional digital environment.

This is done by sequencing consecutive images, or "frames", that simulate motion by each
image showing the next in a gradual progression of steps, filmed by a virtual "camera" and
then output to video by a rendering engine. The eye can be "fooled" into perceiving motion
when these consecutive images are shown at a rate of 24 frames per second or faster.
Producing animation by using computer technology, without doubt, is closely related with
the computer technology technique and a series of capabilities of this technique. Computer
gives the opportunity to the animator to use time, technique and creativeness at a higher level
and enables high quality products to be emerged.

Production pipeline

In the process of 3-d computer animation production, it is inevitable to realize some series of
steps related to production technique and methods based on both technique and expression
style. The information about these steps is as follows.

• Design
• Producing the models (modeling)
• Determining the surface qualities of models.
• Scene arrangement
• Transformation
• Rendering the objects
• Assembling and special effects
• Transferring to video, CD, or film.

First of all, an idea must be formed to produce an animation. And design enables the transfer
of the idea. “The design process of animation production is a kind of planning process in
which the subject of animation, the message to be sent to target population, the method to be
followed in presenting the information, time and expression characteristics are all taken into
consideration and planned as a whole.” The event takes its first form with the scenario.
Scenario can be thought as the story of the planned design. Besides this description, the
drafts of characters, models, images and sound which are going to be used in the animation
are formed in mind. The event that is going to be told, the message that is going to be given,
relations, atmosphere, manner and behaviors all form the text in this step.

3-d computer animation production begins with the modeling of the characters that are made
in the computer’s virtual space where width, length and depth are entered with numerical
values. In the first step, a three-dimensional skeleton of the model which seems to be made of
wires is made. On the surface of this skeleton color, texture and material features are defined.
These features are the simulations of the objects surface characteristics in real life.

Animator produces very realistic images by defining the materials to objects like transparent
like glass and light permeable, bright like chromium and reflecting light, dull like plastic and
absorbing light. After the surface qualities of the models are done, the scene where the events
will occur can be built. A placement is arranged on stage according to the positions of
characters, objects and accessories, and their movements that will be performed in a planned
time which is determined by shooting script and storyboard. Light sources and cameras are
also placed in this section.

The key frames of the objects or the characters that are being planned to be moved are placed
on the time line. On these specific points, the movements are applied according to the flow of
scenario and the effect that the characters must follow. The last step is the rendering step,
once the scene is designed three dimensionally. By this operation, the defined surface
characteristics, by the help of light sources, can be viewed on the computer screen. Producing
3-d computer animation comes to an end by playing all the frames in a sequence. Using
sound, music, effects can take the animation to its goal so easily. After the editing of
animation, it is transferred to any medium like film, video, CD, etc.

Animation is being used very wide-spread in many fields today which have many steps from
design to production.
Shrek: a 3d animation film

It is a wondrous, comical animated adventure that satirizes fairy tales and wears its heart on
its sleeve without ever winking too far to remind us that it is all a joke. It wastes no time in
making big impressions. The opening credits for the movie are absolutely incredible. The
opening credits interact with Shrek’s environment and are pulled off so well that it is easily
the best animated opening credits ever created.
The second computer-generated animated film from DreamWorks Shrek is a dazzling display
of creative artistry and sheer imagination. With animated characters never looking so flesh-
and-blood before ,the movie is nonstop candy for the eyes, with a palette of bright colors
jumping off the screen, and a round-up of central characters who are not only likable, but also
memorable and enchanting. The film is an ideal viewing experience for both children and
grown-ups alike.

Production process of the film: shrek

The production moves from story and concept artwork into 3-D modeling and eventually
render. DreamWorks Animation uses the popular Linux Maya commercial package for 3-D
modeling. Layout positions the characters in the scenes and determines overall lighting.
Models are “rigged” with internal skeletons by the Character TDs, and then given to the
scene animators. Because of the complexity, Shrek 3 animators were assigned in pairs to each
of the hundreds of scenes. In the past, it was one animator per scene. Lighting and any special
effects are added, such as cloth or flames. Then, the scene is rendered frame by frame on a
3,000+ CPU Linux renderfarm.

Storyboard: a Story Artist's Rendition of the Scene

Each frame is assigned to a different node of the renderfarm by grid software so that many
frames can be output simultaneously. The frames are edited into a movie using Avid software.
Early in the process, hand-drawn storyboard images are scanned, and a scratch audio track is
edited together creating a rough video representation of the movie. As each sequence is
completed, it replaces the rough storyboard footage, building the fully rendered movie scene
by scene.

Layout: the
Layout Artist's
Blocking of
the Camera
Moves and
Animation: at this stage, the animators create the character's performance for the scene.

The issues with maintaining a large Linux-based pipeline are the same as maintaining a large
pipeline on any operating system. They unified the studio on one standard pipeline a while
ago, and now they have all productions at all times using the same pipeline. They stress, push
and develop the pipeline in different ways on each production.

Lighting: Final Version of the Scene with Lighting and Textures Added to the Frame

There was much specific technical advancement on the movie, including advancements in
hair, clothing, costuming and crowds as well as bringing the secondary character animation
[crowds] to a whole new level of performance. Long hair may be the biggest technology
advance in Shrek. In all of animation in the past long hair is very little. It took months to do
the hero-hair flick on Shrek 2. Hair is everywhere in Shrek 3. How hair glides across a
shoulder looks easy but is very complicated to model. The way the hair moves had to become
much more automated. There isn't time for animators to position each hair by hand. With
clothing they have more interactions, including ripping of the cloth. Fast motion is always
difficult to do.

Technically and creatively there were three major challenges; the human characters, the
complex environment and then the traditional visual effects — things like fire and water and
the elements. For human characters, some of the challenges were rendering skin. Computers
are really good at rendering things like plastic and metal, as they love hard surfaces, but to
date they haven’t been as successful dealing with translucent softer surfaces and we didn’t
find real applicable computer graphics research for rendering skin that we would use.