Category Archives: Computer animation

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”.

Pivot – a great tool for teaching children animation

Pivot stick figure animator is a great piece of free animation software that is ideal for introducing the principals of movement to children. When the software is first opened there is a stick figure in the centre of the frame. Each limb is jointed and can be moved by grabbing red spots with the mouse curser and dragging them. When you add a frame and move the figure a grey shadow is left in the old position in an onion skin effect. This allows you to judge how much to move the figure. Once two frames have been completed the animation can be played so you can check how you are doing as you go along. The frames also appear in a strip along the top of the work area.

100 Pixar characters drawn to scale

A fascinating panorama of Pixar characters drawn to scale has been produced by graphic artist Juan Pablo Bravo. The silhouette characters are are arranged in a timeline starting with Wally B from the 1984 short film The Adventures of André and Wally B and ending in 2010 with Twitch from Toy Story 3. There is also… Read More »