Archive for February, 2013

traditional animationTraditional animation also called cel animation or hand-drawn animation or classical animation was the process used for  most animated films in 20th century. The individual frames of a traditional  animated film are photographs of drawings, which are first drawn on paper. To create the illusion of movement, each drawing differs slightly from the one before it. The animators’ drawing are traced  or photocopied onto transparent acetate sheet called cels, which are filled in with paints in assigned colors or tones on the side opposite the line  drawings. The completed character cels are photographed one-by-one onto motion picture film against a painted background by a rostrum camera.


  Rostrum Camera

Rostrum camera is a specially designed camera used in television production and film making to animate still images or object.

The traditional cel animation process became obsolete by the beginning of the 21st century. Today, animator’s  drawing and the background are either scanned into or directly into a computer system. Various software program are used to color the drawing and simulate camera movement and effects. The final animated piece is output to one of several delivery media, including  traditional 35 mm film and newer media such as digital video. The “look” of traditional cel animation is still preserved, and the character animator’s work has remained essentially the same over past 70 years. Some animation producers have used term “tradigital”  to describe cel animation which make extensive use of computer technology.

Pinocchio-1940-posterExample of traditional animation movies Pinocchio (United States 1940), Animal Farm (United Kingdom,1954), and Akira (Japan,1988). Traditional animated films which were produced with the aid of computer technology include The Lion King (United  States,1994), Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (Japan,2001), and Les Triplettes de Belleville (France,2003).

. Full animation refers to the process of producing high-quality traditional animated films, which regularly use detailed drawings and  plausible movement. Fully animated films can be done in a verity of styles, from more realistically animated works such as those produce by the Walt Disney studio (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King) to the more ‘cartoony‘ style of those produced by the Warner Bros. animation studio. Many of the Disney animated features are example of full animation.

. Limited animation involve the use of less detailed and/or more stylized drawing and methods of movement. Pioneered by the artiest at the American studio United Production of America, limited animation can be used as a method of stylized artistic expression, as in Gerald McBoing Boing (US, 1951), Yellow Submariner (UK, 1968), and much of the anime produce in Japan.Its primary use, however, has been in producing cost-effective animated content for media such as television (the work of Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, and other TV animation studios) and later the Internet (web cartoons).

. Rotoscoping  is a technique, patented by Max Fleischer in 1917, where animators trace live-action movement frame by frame. The source film can be directly copied from actors’ outlines into animated drawing, as in The Lord of the Rings (US, 1978), or used in a stylized and expressive manner, as in Waking Life (US, 2001) and A Scanner Darkly (US, 2006) . Some other examples are: Fire and Ice (US, 1983), and Heavy Metal (1981).

.Live-action/animation is a technique,when combing hand-drawn character into live action shots. One of the earlier uses of it was Koko the Clown  when Koko was drawn over live action footage. Other example would include Who Framed Roger Rabbit (US,1988), Space Jam (US, 1996) and Osmosis Jones (US, 2002).

Animation Overview

Animation Overview:

Key frame Animation 

keyframepathThe model is placed in a starting pose or position, and a key frame is set. Some frame later, another key frame is set, and the model is moved as desired. This process is repeated as many times as needed. The animation software interpolates the motion needed to move the model smoothly between the key frames. What this means is that if the animator keys a box, and moves the box across the room in the next key frame, when the scene is scrubbed or viewed, the box will glide across the floor instead of jumping from frame to frame. This applies to anything in the scene – moving fingers, eyelids, moving lips,etc.

Nonlinear Animation

After animating a character with key frames or motion capture, its animation data can be collected into single, editable sequence. This animation sequence is called an animation clip.There are two types of clip: source clip and regular clips.Which preserve and protects a character’s original animation curves by storing them in source clips. Source clip are not used to animate the characters. Instead, copies or instances of source clips called regular clips are used to animate the characters non linearly.

Moving, manipulating, and blending regular clips to produce a smooth series of motions for a character is the basic of nonlinear animation.The tool with which all these aspects of a character’s nonlinear animation can be managed is the Trax Editor.

Path AnimationPathAnimPic

path animation controls the position and rotation of an object along a curve. An object must first be attached to the curve for it to become  a path curve. Motion paths can be generated by animating objects using motion path keys.



riggedSkeletonSkeletons are hierarchical, articulated structures that let the animator pose and animate bound models. A skeleton provides a deformable model with a similar underlying structure as the human skeleton gives the human body. Just like in the human body, the location of joints and the number of joints you add ta a skeleton determine how the skeleton’s bound model or ‘body’ moves. The process of binding a character to it’s  skeleton is called “Skinning”. The process of  making a skeleton or bones, refining the joints, using IK or FK, putting handles on the joints so animators can manipulate them, and over all making the model ready for animation is called “Rigging”.

Forward Kinematics

FKForward Kinematics (FK) is an animation method that involves moving each joint without the restriction of an expected final position. Thus, the ‘goal’ is to move a joint ( or series of joints) as desired, and the final pose is a consequence of those movements. Forward Kinematics is often used for finally-tuned joint movement (such as hands & fingers), as it allows for more complete control over posing.

Inverse Kinematics


IKThe reverse of Forward Kinematics, Inverse Kinematics is a method that involves defining a final pose, and generating joint movement as needed to reach that pose. Thus, the ‘goal’ is for all joints to be in a final pose, and the individual joint movement are a consequence of getting to that final pose. Joints  must have carefully defined limits to their possible motion for Inverse Kinematics to work well, or the joints can end up ‘flopping’ before reaching the goal pose. Inverse Kinematics is often used for large limb movement (such as walking, reaching.etc.).


weightpaint-cylinder“Skinning” is the process of setting up a character’s model so that it can be deformed by a skeleton. You skin a model by binding a skeleton to the model. A model can be bound to a skeleton by a variety of skinning methods, including smooth skinning and rigid skinning. Smooth skinning and rigid skinning are direct skinning methods. Indirect skinning methods can also be used, which combine the use of lattice or wrap deformers with either smooth or rigid skinning.



“Constraints” enable the animators to constrain the position, orientation, or scale of an object to other objects. Constraints are often used to depict characters manipulating or interacting with props or the environment. Further, with constraints specific limits on object and automate animation process can be imposed.


“Deformers” are high-level tools that you can use to manipulate (when modeling) or drive (when animating) the low-level components of a target geometry. In other The following are the many types of deformers : Blend Shape deformer, Lattice deformer, Cluster deformer, Jiggle deformer, Wire deformer, Wrinkle deformer, Wrap deformer, Point On Curve deformer.

Animation Principles


The bible of the industry is the “Illusion of Life” by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.These 12 principle became the gospel according to the nine old men of animation that worked with Walt Disney in founding the industry that you see today.

1. Stretch and Squash

2. Anticipation


4.Straight Ahead Action and Pose to pose

5.Follow Through and Overlapping Action

6. Slow In and Slow Out

7. Arcs

8. Secondary Action

9. Timing

10. Exaggeration

11. Solid Drawing

12. Appeal


1This action gives the illusion of weight and volume to a character as it moves.Also stretch and squash is useful in animation dialogue and doing facial expression.How extreme the use of stretch and squash is, depends on what is required in animating the scene. Usually it’s broader in a short style of picture and subtler in a feature. It is used in all form of character animation from a bouncing ball to the body weight of a person walking. This is the most important element you will be required to master and will be used.


imagesThis movement prepare the audience for a major action the character is about to perform, such as, starting to run, jump or change expression. A dancer does not just leap off the floor. A back wards motion occurs before the forward action is executed. The backward motion is the anticipation. A comic effect can be done by not using anticipation after a series of gags that used anticipation such as a pitcher’s wind-up or a golfers back swing.Feature animation is often less broad than short animation unless a scene requires it to develop a character personality.


A pose or action should clearly communicate to the audience the attitude, mood, reaction or idea of the character as it relates to the story and continuity of the story line. Staging directs the audiences attention to the story or idea being told. Care must be taken in background design so it isn’t obscuring the animation or competing with it due to excess detail behind the animation. Background and animation should work together as a pictorial unit in a scene.


images (2)Straight ahead animation starts at the first drawing and works drawing to drawing to the end of a scene. You can lose size, volume, and proportions with this method, but it does have spontaneity and freshness.Fast, wild action scenes are done this way. Pose to Pose is more planned out and charted with key drawing done at intervals throughout the scene. An animator can do more scenes this way and concentrate on the planning of the animation. Many scenes use a bit of both methods of animation.


When the main body of the character stops all other parts continue to catch up to the main mass of the character, such as arms, long hair, clothing, coat tail or a dress, (these follow the path of action).Nothing stops all at once.This is follow through.Overlapping action is when the character changes direction while his clothes or hair continues forward.


slow-in_out-copyAs action starts, we have more drawing near the starting pose, one or two in the middle, and more drawings near the next pose. Fewer drawing make the action faster and more drawing make the action slower. Slow-ins and Slow-outs soften the action, making it more life-like. For a gag action, we may omit some slow-ins or Slow-out for shock appeal or the surprise element. This will give more snap to the scene.


images (1)All action, with few exceptions, follow an arc or slightly circular  path. This is especially true of the human figure and action of animals. Arcs give animation a more natural action and better flow. Think of natural movement in the terms of a pendulum swinging. All arm movement, head turns and even eye movement are executed on an arcs.


This action adds to and enriches the main action and adds more dimension to the character animation, supplementing and/or re-enforcing the main action.The secondary action is a few strong gestures of the arms working with the walk.Think of the walk as the primary action and arm swings, head bounce and all other actions of the body as secondary or supporting action.


Expertise in timing come best with experience and personal experimentation, using the trial and error method in refining technique. The basics are more drawing between pose slow and smooth the action.Fewer drawing make the action faster and crisper. Also, there is timing in the action of a character to establish mood, emotion, and reaction to another character or to a situation.


10 ExaggerationExaggeration is not extreme distortion of a drawing or extremely broad, violent action all the  time. It’s like a caricature of facial features, expressions  poses, attitudes and actions. Action traced from live action film can be accurate, but stiff and mechanical.Exaggeration in a walk or an eye movement or even a head turn will give your film more appeal.


The basic principle of drawing form, weight, volume solidity and the illusion of three dimension apply to animation as it does to academic drawing. The way you draw cartoons, you draw in the classical sense, using pencil sketches and drawing for reproduction of life.


A live performer has charisma. An animated character has appeal. Appealing animation does not mean just being cute and cuddly. All character have to have appeal whether  they are heroic, villainous, comic or cute. Appeal, as you will use it, includes an easy to read design, clear drawing, and personality development that will capture and involve the audiences interest.Like all forms of story telling, the feature has to appeal to the mind as well as to the eye.

These are the main and very important principle of animation.

Clay Animation

In clay animation, one of the many forms of stop-motion animation, each object is sculpted in clay or a similarly pliable material such as Plasticine, usually around a wire skeleton called an armature.stom motion ArmutureAs in other form of object animation, the object is arranged on the set (background), a film frame is exposed, and the object or character is then moved slightly by hand. Another frame is taken, and the object is moved slightly again. This cycle is repeated until the animator has achieved the desired amount of film. The human mind processes the series of slightly changing  rapidly playing images as motion, hence making it appear that the object is moving by itself. To achieve the best results, a consistent shooting environment is needed to maintain the illusion of continuity. This means paying special attention to maintaining consistent lighting and object placement and work in a calm environment.


Producing a stop-motion animation using clay is extremely laborious. Normal film runs at 24 frames per second (frame/s). With the standard practice of “doubles” or “two” (double-framing, exposing 2 frames for each shot), 12 changes are usually made for one second of film movement. For a 30-minute movie, there would be approximately 21,600 stops to change the figure for the frames. For a full-length (90-minute) movie, there would be approximately 64,800 stops, and  possibly far more if parts were shot with “single” or “one” (one frame exposed for each shot). Great care must be taken to ensure that the object is not altered by accident, by even slight smudges, dirt, hair, or even dust. For feature length productions, the use of clay has generally been supplanted by rubber silicone and resin-cast components. One foam-rubber process has been coined as Foamation by Will Vinton. However, clay remains a viable animation material where a particular aesthetic is desired.

A sub variation of clay animation can be informally called “clay melting”. Any kind of heat source can be applied on or near (or below) clay to cause it to melt while an animation camera on a time-lapse setting slowly film the process.An example of this can be seen in Vinton’s early short clay-animated film Closed Mondays (co produced by animator Bob Gardiner) at the end of the computer sequence. A similar technique was used in the climax scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark to “melt” the faces of the antagonists.

Clay Animation History

Clay Animation                                         The Sculptor’s Welsh Rarebit Dream

Clay animated films were produced in the United States as early as 1908  when Edison Manufacturing released a trick film entitled The Sculptor’s Welsh Rarebit Dream. In 1916, clay animation became something of a fad, as an East Coast artist named Helena Smith Dayton and a West Coast animator named Willie Hopkins produced clay animated film an a wide rang of subjects. Hopkins in particular was quite prolific, producing over fifty clay animated segments for the weekly Universal Screen Magazine. But by the 1920s, cartoon animation using either cels or the slash system was firmly established as the dominant mode of animation production. Increasingly, three-dimensional form such as clay were driven into relative obscurity as the cel method became the preferred method for the studio cartoon.

Nevertheless, in 1921, clay animation appeared in film called Modeling, an Out of the Inkwell film from the newly formed Fleischer Brothers studio. Modeling is one of the few known shorts using clay that was released during the 1920s. Modeling included animated clay in eight shots, a novel integration of the technique into an existing cartoon series, and one of the rare uses of clay animation in a theatrical short from the 1920s.

In 1972, at Marc Chinoy’s Cineplast Film Studio, in Munich, Germany, Andre Roche crated a set of clay-animated German-language-instruction films (for non-German-speaking children) called Kli-Kla-Klawitter for the Second German TV-Channel; and another one for a traffic education series, Herr Daniel pabt auf (“Mr. Daniel PaysAttention”).

A variation of clay animation was developed by another Vinton animator, Craig Bartlett, for his series of “Arnold” short films (also made in the 90s), in which he not only used clay painting but something built up clay images that rose off the plane of the flat support platform toward the camera lens to give a more 3-D stop-motion look to his films.

Several computer games have also been produced using clay animation, Television commercials have also utilized the clay animation.