Wednesday, 16 March 2016

What is 3D animation and how it works

First of all - 3D is just an illusion made of the series of still flat images. They go 3-d when you play them.
3D requires a lot of time and a lot of designer effort. Hence a 3D-video is not cheap.
First every frame needs to be drawn with the help of a computer and then put into a 3D software.

The animator inputs a parameter set into the special software.
This parameter set describes how elements look like and move

"At frame #1 (a point in time) place the ball at coordinates X1,Y1,Z1 (a point in space).»

At frame #25 (1 second later) place the ball at coordinates X2,Y2,Z2 (a second point).»

A camera needs to be placed at particular coordinates (X3,Y3,Z3) - so to say where your camera will look from.
A source of light is also placed to illuminate the whole thing.

Once these parameters are set the software calculates (renders):

  • The journey the ball makes from point 1 to point 2: Where exactly should the ball be at each one of the 25 frames?
  • How each frame looks from camera POV?

What you get?

A 25-image sequence moving across your screen. If you play the result at 25 frames per second you get the notion how 3D works. At least basically.

Is it this hard?

Yes it is. There is no «Animate» button.

We can compare an animation software trying to animate a whole movie to MS Word trying to write a world-class novel.
You can align text, copy-paste - automatically. That’s all. The rest is done manually.

What a computer can do:

Filling the tweens
Multiple figures/characters
Perfect 3D illusion
Material simulation
Complicated lighting simulation
Virtual and live integration (e.g. Mars landscape and a real person).
Live actor and animation combination

In modern world the margins between 2D and 3D are getting thinner. Take « Beauty and the Beast» - 2D animation waltzed under a 3D chandelier.

However a real 3D is a stunning experience.

Should you have any more questions - e-mail us. 

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