Take a piece of paper and sketch a simple figure on it (a cat, a dog or anything that comes to your head). Let’s say it is a cat and it is facing you from that sheet of paper. So you have the front view of the cat in front of you. Suppose if you feel that you want to see the cat from a side, will it help if you rotate the paper or flip it? No. Why? It is simply because the sketch you have drawn has the 3rd dimension missing.
Every real world object that you see around has a 3rd dimension and that is the reason why you can take it and rotate it to watch it from different angles. The sketch you have drawn had a length and a width, since the paper you used to draw also had a length and a width. But it lacks a thickness (3rd dimension) and hence your sketch also didn’t have that extra dimension.
How Conventional 2D animation Works:
Before computers started playing their indispensable roles in the animation industry, everything was done manually by animators, who were essentially artists. They would create a series of slides having images on it, where each slides image is the continuation of the previous one in the sequence. For example if an animator wanted to simulate a ball falling down, they would create a sequence of slides where first slide would portray the ball at the top. The next slide will show the ball, may be 1 cm lower than that in the first slide. In the next one, again lower and so on, till the last slide shows the ball hitting the ground. When the whole sequence of slides is shown in front of the viewer in a fast rate, it creates the feeling of the ball falling down.
The whole process was tedious and time consuming. When computers came into play, the frame redrawing works had been minimized since, copying and pasting duplicate elements between successive frames was very easy with the computers aid. The artist has to make only the necessary changes that should exist between successive frames. As technology advanced, software’s evolved that again minimized the work of a 2d animator, in such a way that several things started getting automated. Using motion twining and other techniques, an animator can set the initial position or shape of an object and then its final position and shape and the computer would generate the intermediate frames automatically. The artist even has the freedom to make corrections to that.
What was missing in 2D animation?
The 2D animation always lacked the essence, since all the real-world sceneries and objects are 3D and when they gets transformed to 2D, they lose their reality. Later stage cartoons started to simulate the 3D effect by using gradients, and varying highlights, but it required huge extra effort from the part of the artist.
How 3D Graphics works:
The stages in 3D Animation are more in number compared to the 2D animation. The first part of 3D animation starts with character sketching and 3D modeling. In the next stage the characters are rigged for animation. In the next stage they are animated. This is in fact a too compact form of what happens in the background. Let’s see each of them in a little detail.
This is the stage where an artist sketches how the character should look from various angles. Usually the sketch will be done on paper or canvas. As many variations in poses are created so that it would help the 3D Modeler to sculpt a 3D Model out of it.
Lighting and Camera setup:
This process is much like that in a real world movie making. The 3D animation software provides different types of lights which you can place in the scene in any direction you want. You can adjust the intensity, cone angle or even the shadow cast by the individual lights. Camera also is the replica of the real camera we use for shooting. We can place multiple cameras in a scene; adjust its focal length, aperture size and almost every parameter that you can find in a real camera.
The Advantages of 3D animation:
You might have wondered why we should go after the 3D animation, when the whole process itself takes a number of stages and appears to be very complex. Apart from the complexities involved, it does offer a lot of advantages. Once the modeling process is completed, the 3D software allows very flexible control over the scene and animation. You can rotate the model in any angle you want (unlike 2D). 3D animation software also gives a rich collection of tools that aid the process of modeling and animation. You can choose from a wide variety of modeling techniques based on your requirement. Lighting and camera setup is the exact replica of a real world movie shooting environment. Apart from all these, the ultra realism offered by the 3D rendered scenes makes 3D graphics the best solution for the emerging animation industry.
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