3D Animation

What Is Animation?

Animation is when images of figures are manipulated to appear to the human eye as though they are moving. In traditional animation, images are drawn individually to be photographed or put onto film. Another kind of traditional animation is called stop motion animation. With this, three dimensional figures are painstakingly committed to film, frame by frame, being moved slightly between shots. With 3D animation, all of the images are created using computer graphics.

At it’s most basic form, animation is an illusion, a trick of the eye, allowing us to see movement in a rapid succession of images. In order to trick the eye, the frames should move at a minimum of 12 frames a second, although there are instances where even slower speeds are used for effect. However, for 3D animation to appear as though movement is naturally occurring in three dimensional space, a much faster speed of frames per second is required, 24 at a minimum, with no still frames in between.

How Does 3D Animation Work?

Objects are created with 3D models and then manipulated within 3D software. These manipulations allow for picture sequences to be exported that make it appear as though movement is occurring in a 3D digital environment.

How Is 3D Animation Made?

There are three main phases in the creation of 3D animation:

1- Modeling

There are two main sources for modeling. The first is when an engineer or artist uses a 3D modeling tool to create a 3D object within the computer. The second is when real world objects are scanned into a computer to create the models.

2- Layout & Animation

During the modeling phase, a great many number of controls are built into the model, allowing it to be animated. For an animal or human model, oftentimes a skeletal animation is first created. This can aid in assigning animation variables (Avars).

3- Rendering

There are two main types of rendering. The first is for photorealistic results and simulates light transport and scattering. The second creates non-photorealistic rendering by applying an art style. Rendering also requires 3D projecting which displays the 3D image in two dimensions.

What Is 3D Animation Used For?

Although a lot of the history of animation is most apparent to the general public in how it has been used in the entertainment industry, the truth is that 3D animation is used across a wide variety of industries, now more than ever before.

In the beginning as much as 3D animation was developed for the arts, it was also being used for research and science. But today it doesn’t stop there. Let’s take a look at just a few of the many ways in which 3D animation is used.

  • Television and Movies: Both for special effects in live action movies and television shows or to create entirely animated programs, 3D animation is everywhere in television and movies in the 21st century.
  • Gaming: 3D animation is central to this booming industry.
  • Education: Studies have shown that people can remember videos better than other forms of media, especially as it often captures attention better. It’s a great way to demonstrate concepts, especially as distance learning increases.
  • Commercials and Other Advertising: It’s amazing how much a 3D animation can bring to advertisements, not just commercials, but also online and in expanded platforms, such as on social media and in-app advertisements.
  • Marketing: 3D animation can punch up any marketing campaign a lot, and help to reach more people.
  • Medicine: Within the medical field, 3D animation is used for a wide variety of tasks, and has been employed since the earliest days of computer graphics. Some of its uses include simulations of dissections and surgeries, providing patient education and helping with pharmacological and medical device marketing.
  • Architecture and Design: 3D animation provides advantages to all involved in a building project. 3D animation provides the experience of being able to walk through a space that is only envisioned, and does not yet exist. This is perfect for an architect or engineer to spot any flaws. It creates a simpler map for the construction firm and it offers the customer a way to understand the project, even allowing them to experience different times of day in a building that doesn’t yet exist.
  • Retail: As online shopping has exploded, more and more retailers have found 3D animation invaluable in propping up product descriptions, truly allowing their company to stand apart and presenting the product to the consumer in a way they can more easily understand.
  • Simulations: In situations where practicing in real life circumstances leads to too much risk then simulations can be a powerful tool. Examples of this include military drills and medical procedures. This can also be used to assess possible outcomes and risks in a potential situation.
  • Prototyping: Important especially to the manufacturing industry, prototyping allows an object to be virtually created, tested and explored prior to manufacturing. This can also be used to create machinery. 3D animation allows for a much higher rate of technological progress at lower overhead costs.