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Computer Animation Kathryn Crawford-Frampton Communications 538 Computer Animation Introduction Definitions A Historical Overview Timelines Contributing Events The Current Status A Future Look Conclusion The Ultimate Question: Will 3D computer animation become the industry standard?

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computer animation

Computer Animation

Kathryn Crawford-Frampton

Communications 538

computer animation2
Computer Animation
  • Introduction
    • Definitions
  • A Historical Overview
    • Timelines
    • Contributing Events
  • The Current Status
  • A Future Look
  • Conclusion
what is computer animation

What is Computer Animation?

“Computer animation has the ability to convey statements, ideas, theories and emotions.”

(Auzenne, 1994)

what is computer animation5

What is Computer Animation?

“Since its inception, animation has served as an effective vehicle for communication…The newest genre, computer animation, continues the tradition of communicator.”

(Pilling, 1997)

what is computer animation6

What is Computer Animation?

“The ability to communicate through computer animation is the result of the symbiotic relationship between science and art that exists in this medium.”

(Kerlow, 2000)

animation defined

Animation Defined

The bringing of apparent life to inanimate objects.

(Mancis & Van Dyke, 1966)

types of animation
Types of Animation
  • Two Dimensional (2D)
    • Traditional Hand-Drawn Animation
      • Example: “Bambi” or “The Secret of Nihm”
    • Stop-Motion Animation
      • Example: “South Park”
  • Hybrid
    • Two dimensional animation with three dimensional effects added.
      • Example: “The Lion King” or “Beauty and the Beast”
  • Three Dimensional (3D)
    • Computer-Generated Animation
      • Example: “Finding Nemo” or “Shrek”
    • Claymation
      • Example: “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
a historical overview important events in animation history
A Historical OverviewImportant Events in Animation History
  • First Drawings of Motion
    • Walls of Egypt, 2000 B.C.
    • Caves in Spain, Eight-legged boar
    • Leonardo da Vinci, Anatomy sketches
  • Paul Roget
    • Presented his paper, “The persistence of vision with regard to moving objects” to the British Royal Society in 1824.
    • Invented the thaumatrope in 1828.
  • Joseph Plateau
    • Invented the phenakitstoscope in 1860.
Thomas Edison
    • Invented the kinetoscope in 1889.
      • The first motion projector.
      • Projected fifty feet of film in thirteen seconds.
  • Thomas Armat
    • Designed the vitascope in 1896.
      • Projected the films of Thomas Edison.
      • Has the most influence on current projectors.
  • Stuart Blackton
    • Made the first stop-motion animated film in 1906.
      • “Humorous phases of funny faces.”
      • Created by drawing faces on a chalkboard, photographing them, and repeating the process.
Winsor McCay
    • Created “Gertie the Trained Dinosaur” in 1909.
      • First character with a story line.
      • Over 10,000 separate drawings.
      • Led to popularity of hand-drawn shorts, “Felix the Cat”, “Colonel Heeza Liar”, and “Old Doc Yak”.
  • “The Jazz Singer” (Warner Bros., 1927)
    • First to loosely combine sound with animation.
  • “Steamboat Willie” (Walt Disney, 1928)
    • First synchronized sound with animation.
  • Earl Hurd
    • Developed cel animation in 1915.
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

(Walt Disney, 1938)

    • First feature-length animated film.
      • Commercialized.
      • Studios realized profitability of the medium.
  • ENIAC (1943)
    • First fully electronic computer
      • 18,000 vacuum tubes, 10 feet tall, 1,000 square feet, and weighed 30 tons.
  • BASIC (1964)
    • Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instructional Code
    • Developed by Thomas Kurtz and John Kemeny
  • Development of Personal Computers
computer animation institutional roots
Computer AnimationInstitutional Roots
  • Bell Laboratories (1961)
    • Started developing computer techniques for producing animated movies.
    • Made the first (anti-climactic) computer animated film.
      • “Two –Gyro Gravity-Gradient Attitude Control System”
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1963)
    • Sketchpad
      • Ivan Sutherland created an interactive light pen which could draw directly upon the computer’s cathode-ray tube.
  • Seattle’s Boeing Company (1964)
    • First company to employ analog computer animation.
      • William Fetter used animation to design cockpit configurations.
University of Utah (1970’s)
    • Mecca for computer graphic art research and design.
      • Created algorithms for curved surfaces, texture mapping, surface techniques, animated human faces, and synchronized speech.
  • Minicomputer (Mid-1970’s to Early 1980’s)
    • Apple and IBM PC-compatibles
      • Embraced by visual professionals.
      • Easier to use and less cumbersome to operate than Supercomputers.
  • Early Adopters (1981)
    • George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic
    • Wavefront, Digital Productions, R/Greenberg Associates and Polygon Pictures
  • Pixar Animation Studios opens (1984)
    • John Lasseter employs the most talented animators.
advancement of technology form follows function
Advancement of TechnologyForm Follows Function
  • PageMaker
    • Desktop publishing released in 1985.
  • RenderMan
    • Shading software developing in 1988 by Pixar.
    • Received a Technical Academy Award.
  • Color Studio
    • Image retouching software for Mac.
  • Photoshop
    • Released by Adobe in 1990.
  • Facetracker
    • Facial motion capture system released in 1992.
types of computer animation
Modeled Animation

Computer-generated animation with three functions:

Objective modeling

Motion specification

Synchronization and image rendering

Creates the 3-D database which serves as the ‘world‘ to be portrayed in a synthetic computer graphics sequence.

Uses either wire-frame or solid models to create objects.


Graphics editing


Motion Control

The specification of position and orientation of objects in time.

Using computers to move the camera to eliminate human error.

Key-Frame Animation

Computer-assisted animation with six functions:

Input of drawings

Production of in-betweens

Specification of motion

Coloring of drawings

Synchronization of sound

Initiating the recording

Types of Computer Animation
from content to creation motion begins with stasis
From Content to CreationMotion Begins with Stasis
  • Pre-Production
    • Design
      • Story and character development
      • Storyboards
    • Modeling
      • Giving shape in the computer
    • Rigging
      • Preparing the objects for movement.
      • Creating a skeleton and skin for characters.
from content to creation motion begins with stasis18
From Content to CreationMotion Begins with Stasis
  • Production
    • Surfaces
      • Properties given texture and color.
    • Staging
      • Building sets and environments.
      • Must be approved before animation begins.
    • Animation
      • Bringing the characters to life.
      • “Circular process”
    • Lighting
      • Shading objects
    • Effects
from content to creation motion begins with stasis19
From Content to CreationMotion Begins with Stasis
  • Post-Production
    • Rendering
      • A computer process.
    • Composite
      • Layering to create depth of field.
    • Touchup
    • Final film/video output
computer animation in films visual effect milestones
Computer Animation in FilmsVisual Effect Milestones
  • TRON (1982)
    • First live action film with over twenty minutes of computer animation.
  • The Black Cauldron (1985)
    • First Disney animated feature film to use some computer-graphic technology.
computer animation in films visual effect milestones21
Computer Animation in FilmsVisual Effect Milestones
  • The Last Starfighter (1985)
    • The first live action feature film with realistic computer animation of highly detailed models.
  • Luxo Jr. (1986)
    • The first of many short films by Pixar which is nominated in the AMPAS Animated Short Films Category.
  • Tin Toy (1988)
    • Receives the Oscar for Best Animated Short.
  • The Abyss (1989)
    • The first convincing 3D character.
computer animation in films visual effect milestones22
Computer Animation in FilmsVisual Effect Milestones
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991)
    • First hybrid animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture award.
  • Terminator 2:Judgement Day (1991)
    • First mainstream blockbuster with multiple morphing effects and human simulation.
  • Jurassic Park (1993)
    • First extensive use of photo-realistic CG animals.
  • Toy Story (1995)
    • The first fully 3D computer animated feature film.
the current status
The Current Status
  • Content
    • Content of 2D animation is being overlooked and will be replaced by 3D.
  • Distribution
    • Spring of 2004 will bring the last of 2D animated films.
    • All future 2D films will be rendered in a computer.
  • Consumption
    • Audiences will attend due to strong story lines and good character development.
big box office new trends
Big Box OfficeNew Trends
  • Economic
    • “Finding Nemo” (Disney/Pixar)
    • As of December 5, 2003:
      • $340 million domestically
      • $230 million internationally (not including Japan)
      • Most successful animated feature of all time.
computer animation corporations current company giants
Computer Animation CorporationsCurrent Company Giants
  • Walt Disney/Buena Vista
  • DreamWorks Pictures, LLC
  • Pixar Animation Studios
  • Twentieth Century Fox
    • Ethics
    • Revenue
suspended animation
Suspended Animation
  • Post “Treasure Planet” (August, 2003)
    • Walt Disney CEO, Michael Eisner, claims, “2D is dead.”
    • All traditional animation furniture and supplies are sold.
    • Computers and cubicles are shipped in.
    • 60 2D animators are left out of 1,500 total.
      • Left to complete work on “Home on the Range”.
medium theory
Medium Theory
  • The effect which new media has upon society.
  • Content Analysis
    • Corporations are looking at the media effect and not the content.
    • No analysis of the content creates a change of media.
a future look

A Future Look

Will 3D computer animation be the death of traditional 2D?

computer animation30

Computer Animation

Kathryn Crawford-Frampton

Communications 538