Tuesday, August 17, 2010

History of Animation by Tej Kohli

Tej Kohli

History of animation
Animation has come a long way from papers to the computer screens and now the big screen. But do you even now how animation started? Tej Kohli blog takes on a delighful journey of the animation...
Animated films have entertained people from all around the world for over years now. A shark leaping out of the water to attack, a humanoid swinging through the trees centuries in to the future, or a bird flying so close you can almost hear the flapping of its wings – these are a few examples of animation work seen by zillions across the globe in animation movies. What started as groups of hand-drawn pictures of cartoons about a century ago has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry that entertains and challenges us the way no artform has ever done.
Early History Of Animation
The inception of the animation dates back to 1824 when Peter Roget wrote a scientific paper on how the brain sees individual images as a continuous series of motion. This was followed by the invention of the first camera, the kinetoscope by Thomas Edison that could project 13 seconds of a film. Within a decade, photographer and owner of the Vitagraph Studios, J. Stuart Blackton made the first ever animation film with the help of a blackboard. Known as 'Humorous phases of funny faces', he drew a comic face them filmed it, stopped the camera while he erased a face and made a new face and then filmed it again. This outcome of changing faces or stop-motion became the first animated film technique.
The Silent Era
In 1910, the French caricaturist and animator Emile Cohl used paper cutouts to demonstrate an early example of animated films. His technique revolved around repositioning the figure instead of drawing it again, which was time saving. By the year 1914, Winsor McCay, also known as the father of American animation, created a cartoon named Gertie the Dinosaur, which needed thousands of individual drawings. In the same year, Earl Hurd, when working at John Bay studios, developed the technique of drawing on transparent cels and then photographed each one. This cel animation technique became the foundation of animated film making for years.

Disney's animated Cels
In 1923m Walt Disney, a commercial artist, shifted from Kansas City toLA to work as a director. Disney wanted realism in his characters and trained his animators to study anatomy to add more life to the characters. He advanced the Hurd's Cel animation technique. Images were hand drawn on transparent cels in layers, one on top of another. Background cel was kept at the bottom of the pile as each layer was filmed then removed. The process was time consuming and took weeks to generate a single sequence. It was in 1928, when Disney made its first talking animated film, “steamboat Willie”, an instant success that introduced Mickey Mouse. By 1937, Disney produced the first full length colored animated film “Snow white and the seven dwarfs”, earning an academy award, the first of 37 Oscars for Disney.
Early Computer Animation
By the year 1980, what had taken weeks to do manually was replaced by the first computer animated production system – CAPS, and by the year 1985, Disney studio adopted this computer generated process entirely. With a wider color palette and blended and shaded tones, this computer software added a more realistic appeal to the animation. Developed by Disney and Pixar artists and engineers, this program allowed camera movements such as pan, tilt and zooms as a part of entire filming process. Disney took over Pixar in 2006, replacing CAPS with newer 2D and 3D animation techniques.

CGI animation and 3D
The introduction of CGI, computer generated imagery, changed film making for good. With movies like the 'Terminator 2' and 'Jurrassic Park' in the 1990, animation marked a new epoch in the film making industry. In 1995, Walt Disney Productions and Pixar animation studios jointly produced “Toy Story', the first film to be completely animated using CGI technology. Motion capture is a technique where any movement is recorded and transferred digitally. This technique is used by the US military to create battlefield scenarios in its training. This method was first used in 2004 movie “The Polar Express” . In 2009, film “Avatar” reinvented 3D technology as the first ever movie to use performance capture imagery to produce life-like 3D characters and an entire world.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Learning 2D Animation the Easy Way!

Tej Kohli explains how to learn 2D animation.
Things You'll Need:
* Tracing paper
* Digital camera or scanner
* Pencil
* Eraser
* Computer

2D animation is a time-consuming and painstaking process. A classic form of animation, 2D animation is also capable of producing some truly mind blowing outcomes. Learning and developing your won 2D animation is a simple concept to begin, yet it can take years to excel in this art completely. Each frame must be drawn in hand,and while this may look like too much work, it will add a truly unique flavor to your animation work. Upon learning the basics of the 2D animation, you can start drafting more complex animations.

2D animation reflects the movement of the object or the character. So, to begin with, draw a character in a starting pose, which will serve as as base for your next frames. A simple example of 2D animation would be to create a character who is waving. Draw the head, body, arms and legs of the character. Position the waving arm above the head with the palm open. Be sure to keep a slight bend in the elbow to make the pose look natural.

Now put a tracing paper above the drawing and copy the picture except the waving arm and the eyebrows. Then redraw the waving arm so that it is extending out diagonally. Make sure the elbow remains completely straight. Redraw the eyebrows tilting inwards slightly towards each other. This will add some slight movement in the drawing, so it doesn't appear that the arm's the only section being animated.

Next, trace over the picture again except the waving arm and the eyebrows. This time, redraw the waving arm so that it's now pointing straight up. Make sure to take a slight bend in the elbow, but not as much as you gave in Step 1. Draw the eyebrows tilting almost diagonally down. This will reflect a slight effort in the character's face from waving.

Redo steps 1 to 3 until you think that the character has waved for long enough. Take individual digital photos of all your drawings, and import the pictures in your computer. Through a computer program like iMovie or Movie Magic, you may string a series of pictures together in sequence to create an animation effect.
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Tej Kohli explains 2D Animation Software for Beginners

In the previous post, Tej Kohli discussed about the various 2D animation tools available for professionals online. Today, Tej Kohli will talk about most useful 2D animation software for 'Beginners'.

A 2D animation programs is the one that allows you to create moving 2D images on a desktop or other output media. These softwares are nothing but a specialized painting or drawing programs that allows the movement of pictures along the two dimensions of the screen, besides an additional dimension of time.

Frames and Keyframes

Any picture made with 2D animation software is called a frame, which are similar to the frames of a traditional animated movies. Artists paint a series of virtual frames to create a movie. Each frame displays graphical objects that represents characters or scenery. There is a very slight movement in the characters as they move from one frame to the next. This movement creates the illusion of motion when the frames are shown quickly in sequence.

Every animation program has playback tools which are used to view this sequence of frames. Most animation software will also let you export the movie to a popular format like AVI or Quicktime.

2D animation software saves you time by computing frames. In these programs, only those frames where a new action begin or ends are drawn rather than every frame. Such frames are called keyframes. The calculations a software use to compute the frames in between the keyframes is called interpolation.

Based on the type of motion to be interpolated, key frames can be divided into various categories. While the translation keyframes are for movement of a graphical object, scaling keyframes allows you to resize objects. Rotation keyframe allows for the circular movement of an object around a specific point.

Curve Editors

the curve editors display curves that reflects the motion of a graphical object. The animation can be changed by reshaping the curves rather than objects. One of the main advantage of curve editors is that you are able to see every motion frame at once, instead of single frame at a time.

Horizontal Graphs

It displays the increasing numbers along its left side to show various horizontal positions of the object. The center of the graph displays the curve itself and for right-to-left moving ball, this curve will represent a line starting from the upper left of the screen, and moving to the lower right of the screen.

Vertical Graphs

The vertical graph is similar to the horizontal graph, except the graph's left side will display vertical values for the ball's position. This means a line will run across the lower left of the screen and move to the upper right.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Tej Kohli's Best 2D Animation Tools

Tej Kohli Animation blog - your reservoir of animation and everything related to it!

While there is no denial that 3D animation has taken the animation industry by storm, there are still a plenty of traditionalists who believe that 2D animation is better that its contemporary counterpart. No matter if you believe that strongly, or you're just a novice who is trying to carve his niche is the animation industry, 2D animation is your first step towards becoming a professional animator. There are a variety of 2D animation tools available out there, even online. You can also access them for free and hone your 2D animation skills.

Pencil – This is perhaps the first thing an artist shall befriend with. Not only in real life but also virtually. Pencil is a free animation program that allow users to create 2D images using both bitmap and vector graphics. Although this programs doesn't not feature all the features that a professional 2D animation program has, but as a free program, it lets users create hand-drawn-like animations.

DigiCel FlipBook – This is an extremely useful program that helps at every stage of animation process – from the lip-syncing and creating storyboards to the raw and refined animation, all the way to the final product. Equally great for amateurs and professionals, this program helps you create feature-length animations. Use hand-drawn pictures or create them on the computer itself. You can also add a variety of effects, like zooms and dissolves to give your work a professional look.

Plastic Animation Paper – This program is available in three versions, and each of them differ in price and tools they feature. The free version is very basic but looks great if you're fond of 2D animation, and is ideal for an amateur. The home edition, which comes at $99, has some extra tools that adds a professional appeal to your animation. Using the home edition, you can make animations for YouTube or your own website. And lastly, the professional version, which is tagged at $695. This is capable of making feature-length animation and is perfect for a studio team.

Stickman and Elemento – This is a basic program with few buttons and features and allow students to expand their knowledge about the animation process. Draw in the program or import images like JPEG or Photoshop. While it's not a fully-featured software, but is ideal for younger students to help them harness their creativity.

Monkey Jam – A freeware animation, Monkey Jam is a wonderful intermediate program that allows you to create your own personal animations. Animate or separate layers to facilitate animation process, and use keyboard shortcuts to alter image duration, which works great while testing the speed of animation.

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