Tag Archives: computer animation

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.

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.

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.