The Changing Face of Animation Design

creative animation designs

How Animation Design Has Changed from Early Days

Main Article – Animation, a billion dollar industry today, has gone through happening changes in the last few decades. What was popular once lost sting after an innovation creeped in. Thanks to evolving technology, the difference between live action and animation gradually disappeared, as proved by animated films such as A Rooster With Many Eggs and The Good Dinosaur.

Advent of Computers – Computers were first used for design objectives in 1950s. A machine was specifically designed for plotting pictures, that would then be photographed to present on paper.

Toy Story – Pixar produced Toy Story was the first feature-length computer-animated film, depicting the relationship between a few toys that pretended to be lifeless when humans were around. Shrek, which collected $484.4 million globally at the box office, established computer animation as a sophisticated form of art.

Whitney and Disney – Regarded the pioneer of computer graphics, John Whitney, Sr. is credited with bringing animation into the film industry. Walt Disney made the world stand up and notice wow the world with his Mickey Mouse and Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. In those times, animations were first drawn on paper and then transferred and colored on plastic cells which were layered together to make up a scene.

Creating Images – Evolution of Techniques – An array of techniques gradually came into being to create photorealistic images of computer generated 3D objects. These included scan-line algorithm, fur, digital stuntmen, digital actors, ray tracing, radiocity, among others.
Techniques to produce non-photorealistic images evolved as well – illustration style, water color style, oil painting style, giving artists the liberty to choose one according to their requirements.

Rotoscope – A useful introduction in the animation industry was the Rotoscope, a white board that gets live film projected onto it. The professional then traces the projected image to create the animation. John Bray, the maker of Rotoscope, made the ‘Felix cat’ cartoon with it.

CGI Animation – Many cartoon shows began to use CGI animation in the early 00s. Jimmy Neutron, a cartoon show on the Nickelodeon channel was among the first ones to use the technique. This development considerably enhanced the pace of production.

Special Effects – Introduction of special effects was a key development in the line of animation. The technology made it easier to alter perspective and lighting condition. Artists could now use special effects like water, snow, fire, steam, smoke, clouds, rain, lightening, etc. in animation with a few clicks.

Behavioral Animation – A bevy of techniques facilitate interaction between a number of ‘characters’ with rule based motion. The motion is triggered for characters via orientations and interactions, rather than procedural control. Autonomous characters can determine their own actions.

The world of animation has changed a lot compared to early days and the process is still on.

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