Wow! People have so astutely and successfully leverage the god natural gift of ‘persistence of vision’ to devise a new idea of animation. Animation which derived its name from the Latin word 'anima' meaning soul can be defined as the art of breathing life to a character. A blend of entertainment industry and technology, it is concerned with design, drawing, layout and production of graphically rich and attractive multimedia clips. In other words animation is making of movies, games or cartoons by moving the drawings or models of animals or people with the help of computers or other electronic means. Time and space play a critical role in animation.
The art of animation started with the cavemen who used to draw pictures on the rock surfaces. But early animations, which started appearing before 1910, consisted of simple drawings photographed one at a time. It was extremely labor intensive as there were literally hundreds of drawings per minute of film. Then Walt Disney took animation to a new level. He was the first animator to add sound to his movie cartoons with the premiere of Steamboat Willie in 1928. In 1937, he produced the first full length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Such artist scientists have used different kinds of animation techniques to try to give more natural look in their animated characters. With change in time great minds have brought fabulous changes in the techniques to reduce an arduous work of creators and attain more qualitative work. Three vital techniques to manipulate a sequence of images frame by frame that have come up are
Traditional Animation (Cel Animation)
Traditional animation (also called cel animation or hand-drawn animation) was the process used for most animated films of the 20th century. The individual frames of a traditionally animated film are photographs of drawings, which are first drawn on paper. To create the illusion of movement, each drawing differs slightly from the one before it. The animators' drawings are traced or photocopied onto transparent acetate sheets called cels, which are filled in with paints in assigned colors or tones on the side opposite the line drawings. The completed character cels are photographed one-by-one onto motion picture film against a painted background by a rostrum camera. Full animation, limited animation, rot scoping and live action are types of traditional animation. But with next new technique, traditional animation process became obsolete by the beginning of the 21st century.
Everything that is shot live, frame by frame, in front or under a camera is called stop motion or stop frame animation. Stop motion has a special and powerful appeal of its own. It is a technique to make objects move on their own. Here, a few images are drawn with some different positions and photographed separately. Some famous movies that are animated via stop motion effects are King Kong, The Dinosaur and the Missing Link, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and The Lost World. There are many different types of stop-motion animation, usually named after the type of media used to create the animation. Computer software is widely available to create this type of animation.
Puppet animation typically involves stop-motion puppet figures interacting with each other in a constructed environment, in contrast to the real-world interaction in model animation.
Clay animation, or Plasticine animation often abbreviated as claymation, uses figures made of clay or a similar malleable material to create stop-motion animation.
Cutout animation is a type of stop-motion animation produced by moving 2-dimensional pieces of material such as paper or cloth.
Silhouette animation is a variant of cutout animation in which the characters are backlit and only visible as silhouettes.
Model animation refers to stop-motion animation created to interact with and exist as a part of a live-action world. Intercutting, matte effects, and split screens are often employed to blend stop-motion characters or objects with live actors and settings.
Go motion is a variant of model animation which uses various techniques to create motion blur between frames of film, which is not present in traditional stop-motion.
Object animation refers to the use of regular inanimate objects in stop-motion animation, as opposed to specially created items.
Graphic animation uses non-drawn flat visual graphic material (photographs, newspaper clippings, magazines, etc.) which are sometimes manipulated frame-by-frame to create movement. At other times, the graphics remain stationary, while the stop-motion camera is moved to create on-screen action.
Pixilation involves the use of live humans as stop motion characters. This allows for a number of surreal effects, including disappearances and reappearances, allowing people to appear to slide across the ground, and other such effects.
Computer Animation started way back in 80’s is the latest technique that includes 2D and 3D animation. These not only enhance the hand-drawn characters but also make them appear real as compared to the above mentioned animations. Computer animation can be produced by using a rendering machine to produce successive frames wherein some aspect of the image is varied.
The term “2D” refers to the animation that is created using two dimensional drawings. It is used through PowerPoint and Flash animations. Though its features are similar to cel animation, 2D animation has become popular due to simple application of scanned drawings into the computer like in a cartoon film. 2D animation figures are created and/or edited on the computer using 2D bitmap graphics or created and edited using 2D vector graphics. This includes automated computerized versions of traditional animation techniques such as of interpolated morphing, onion and interpolated rot scoping.
3D animation is digitally modeled and manipulated by an animator.”3D” refers to Computer Generated Images (CGI) that creates the illusion of three dimensional space with great accuracy. In order to manipulate a mesh, it is given a digital skeletal structure that can be used to control the mesh. This process is called rigging. Various other techniques can be applied, such as mathematical functions (ex. gravity, particle simulations), simulated fur or hair, effects such as fire and water and the use of motion capture to name but a few, these techniques fall under the category of 3D dynamics. Well-made 3D animations can be difficult to distinguish from live action and are commonly used as visual effects for recent movies.
It is used in filmmaking where we require unusual objects or characters that are not easy to display. . There are different shapes, support of mathematical codes, display of actions and colors which are mind-blowing as if copied from an actual picture.
The above mentioned 3 basic types of animations have brought a new era of amazing technology in the field of Internet (website design and graphics), film industry and media. Dwelling on these techniques has given a new shape to every business field especially to our film industry. Animation is a gift to creative minds which has enabled many career opportunities as well as chance to utilize their creativity in a different manner. Now with changing era animation techniques are advancing that is showing efficacious glimpses in variant industries.