Animation refers to a set of still images or drawings / sketches that, when viewed in a rapid sequence it gives the impression of moving picture or illusion of movement. The concept of animation goes way back in time, when cave paintings of animals were found with their legs replicated over and over to give the perception of motion.
Although, the animator requires tangible raw materials such as pencil, brush, and a whole lot of papers the most important ingredient that remains is the imagination and creativity of the animator. Nowadays the things have changed. Along with the mentioned materials, various computer technologies are starting to get implemented into the process of animation. Sketches and pictures are directly drawn on the computer itself and later on it is feed to various animation software applications.
Though animation is all about bringing characters and sketches to life, it is a long and tedious process. Imagine just to make a character say ‘Hi, my name is James,’ requires as many as 30 sketches / drawings to show each movement of the character’s facial emotions. This is just a sketching or drawing effort. Let us go through the entire animation process.
I. Story is imagined and written – from a vague idea a story or concept is formed and is written and drawn on storyboard. Storyboard is a series of sketches with pop-up dialogues created for the purpose of the complete overview / idea of the animation project.
II. Audio recording of dialogue, music and sound effects – actors and sound artist comes together to record voices of characters and other sound effects & music such as weather sound, slamming of door, river running, etc.
III. Models of characters are created – 2d and 3d models of main characters and other characters are created with computer modelling software applications such as Maya, Mudbox, Softimage, Zbrush, etc.
IV. Character’s movement are created – predefined movement and facial expression of various characters are depicted and created using various rendering software applications.
V. Characters and environment are dressed – all the characters and environment details are coloured appropriately and are checked several times whether they are suitable and appealing or not.
VI. Lighting effects are added – lightings from various angles are added to create ambience of the background and is used to enhance emotion and mood in the scene.
VII. Compilation – all the sketches, models, characters, movement, dialogue, music, sound effects and everything is compiled and rendered together. This can even take days depending upon the length and details of the animation project.
VIII. Final quality check and retouches are made – an editor make the final check, removes the unwanted scenes, and give final suggestions regarding the animation if there are any.
The techniques of animation are always getting better and better but, the end result remains the same, entertainment and joy to all age group.