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Film and Animation Graphics

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Hollywood has gone digital, and the old ways of doing things are dying.

Animation and special effects created with computers have been embraced by

television networks, advertisers, and movie studios alike. Film editors, who for

decades worked trying to make scenes look real are now sitting in front of

computers screens.

They edit entire features while adding sound that is not only stored digitally, but

that is also created and manipulated with computers. Viewers are witnessing the

results of all this in the form of stories and experiences that they never dreamed of

before. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of all this, however, is that the entire

digital effects and animation industry is still growing pretty strong and, the future

looks bright.

In the beginning, computer graphics were really hard to manipulate but with time

the software companies started to improve their programs, adding more tools and

key features, which helped the way computers generated pictures, simulating real

world scenes.


Creating computer graphics is essentially about three things:

Modeling, Animation, and Rendering. Modeling is the process by which 3-

dimensional objects are built inside the computer; animation is about

making those objects come to life with movement, and rendering is about

giving them their ultimate appearance and looks.

Hardware is the brains and brawn of computer graphics, but it is powerless

without the right software. It is the software that allows the modeler to

build a computer graphic object that helps the animator bring this object to

life, and that, in the end, gives the image its final look. Sophisticated

computer graphics software for commercial studios is either purchased for

$30,000 to $50,000, or developed in-house by computer programmers.

Most studios use a combination of both, developing new software to meet

new project needs.


Modeling is the first step in creating any 3D computer graphics. Modeling

in computer graphics is a little like sculpting, a little like building models

with wood, plastic and glue, and a lot like CAD. Its flexibility and potential

are unmatched in any other art form. With computer graphics it is possible


to build entire worlds and entire realities. Each can have its own laws, its

own looks, and its own scale of time and space. Access to these 3-

dimensional computer realities is almost always through the 2-dimensional

window of a computer monitor. This can lead to the misunderstanding that

3-D modeling is merely the production perspective drawings. This is very

far from the truth. All elements created during any modeling session

possess three full dimensions and at any time can be rotated, turned upside

down, and viewed from any angle or perspective. In addition, they may be

re-scaled, reshaped, or resized whenever the modeler chooses. Modeling is

the first step in creating any 3-dimensional computer animation. It requires

the artist's ability to visualize mentally the objects being built, and the

craftsperson's painstaking attention to detail to bring it to completion. To

create an object, a modeler starts with a blank screen an sets the scale of the

computer's coordinate system for that element. The scale can be anything

from microns to light years across in size. It is important that scale stays

consistent with all elements in a project. A chair built in inches will be lost

in a living room built in miles. The model is then created by building up

layers of lines and patches that define the shape of the object. Animation

While it is the modeler that contains the power of creation, it is the


animator who provides the illusion of life. The animator uses the tools at

his disposal to make objects move.

Every animation process begins essentially the same way, with a storyboard. A

storyboard is a series of still images that shows how the elements will move and

interact with each other. This process is essential so that the animator knows what

movements need to be assigned to objects in the animation.



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