Category Archives: Computer animation

Blender gingerbread man CG animation exercise completed

Following my review of the Blender CG animation software this is a report on my progress with learning to use it.

The gingerbread man illustrating this post was modelled by following the Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 Minutes exercise at wiki.blender.org. It is a written exercise that guides you through the process of modelling the figure and making a walk animation. It has numerous illustrations and a concise description of the steps required.

The Blender Foundation – a new way of funding animation


Sintel (2010)

There is no denying that hand-drawn animation is out of favour in the commercial cinema. The trend towards computer graphic (CG) animation started in 1995 with Toy Story from Pixar. This was followed by Toy Story 2 and 3. The DreamWorks studios jumped on the CG bandwagon with Shrek (2001) which was also very successful and led to sequels. The last hand drawn Disney feature film, The Princess and the Frog (2009), was a disappointment at the box office when compared with successful CG animation.

Where does this leave the home animator who may have ambitions to break into the animation business? CG animation is probably the best way to go. Unfortunately the kind of software used by the major studios would be very expensive for a young animation enthusiast to purchase, even in the student version. Fortunately the Blender Foundation have made CG animation software available free of charge. They rely on donations and volunteers to develop and improve the software.

Reallusion iClone – great software to practice storytelling


Screen shot from iClone video tutorial 'Scene Creation'.

There are many reasons why people are attracted to making animated films. If your overwhelming desire is to use animation to tell a story then the iClone computer animation package is definitely worth a look.

It uses the same sort of technology that powers the animation in computer games. As you create the animation it can be played back in real time to see how it is progressing. It can also be rendered to various movie formats for upload to YouTube and such like.

Cel Shading: the Unsung Hero of Animation?


Left: a computer graphics render with soft shadows. Right: a cel shader and border detection.

This is a guest post by Olivia Lennox.

As you’ll well know, there are far more animation techniques out there than the average movie-goer or TV watcher knows about. You can’t blame them for only really knowing about stop-motion animation, CGI animation, and what goes into shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy. These techniques are what ‘make it big’, and what can be seen on screens, both big and small, all over the world. But there are plenty of other forms of animation that don’t get the credit they deserve.

Arthur Christmas by Aardman Animations released

Arthur Christmas is a 2011 British/American 3-D computer animated fantasy comedy film produced by Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation. It was released on November 11, 2011, in the UK, and is scheduled to be released on November 23, 2011, in the USA.

The film was directed by Sarah Smith, and it features voices of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and Ashley Jensen. Set on the North Pole, the plot tells about Santa’s son Arthur Christmas, who must complete a mission before Christmas morning.

Creating computer animation characters from drawings


Richard Condie’s La Salla – 1996.

I was looking at some movies on the Internet recently when I came across Richard Condie’s La Salla. This computer animated film made in 1996 features a character very similar to one in Condie’s cel animated film The Big Snit (1985). I was reminded of Sheila Graber’s words in her book Animation A Handy Guide: “…whatever materials you use your own style will emerge”.