3D AnimatorContextual Studies: Media Roles and Practises
3D Animation: Preparing to AnimateWhat needs to be done first?Before any animation work can begin, the production will go through many development stages. The initialPre-Production stages of character design and storyboarding must be completed so the animators candistinguish what characters they are working with in the scenes and what they will be animated doing. Theanimators are not tasked with translating the character designs into 3D as this is done by specialist 3DModellers and Character Technical Designers, who create the basic characters and rig them ready formovement. Once this stage is complete, they are then passed onto the Layout artists and 3D Animators whowork on the animation sequences ready for rendering and Post-Production.1) StoryboardImages arescanned in tocreate animatic.2) Charactersare created andrigged digitallybased onstoryboardimages3) Detail andtexturing oncharacters andbackground isbuilt up4) Final work isdone andlighting addedto bring thescene to life
Who is responsible for Animating?Animation ProcessDreamWorks employed a co-ordinated structure for the animation process in the making of Shrek films,with 3D Animators being supported by Supervising and Directing Animators, overseen by a Production andTechnical supervisor. Despite being a highly successful and profitable film franchise created by one of theworld’s leading Animated film companies, the 3D animation role is undertaken by a crew of just 35 people(Mitchell, 2010). For the making of Shrek Goes Forth; the final of the four Shrek films that was released in2010, the animation team consisted of around 40 members (Gray, 2013). The animation process usuallytakes one and a half years to complete.Development of Animation TechniquesWhen the first of the series of four films was released in May 2001, entirely 3D Computer Animatedfilms was a relatively new method, and Shrek was noted for its contribution to 3D CG advancements,however as the sequels were commissioned, progression in this field was incorporated into the laterfilms with the producers striving to make the film looking more realistic than the last, with moreattention to detail paid to the movements and characters.As a result, the CPU rendering hours increased dramatically, from 5 million hours for the first film to 20million hours for Shrek 3 (Mitchell, 2010). The last sequel film, Shrek Goes Forth; consumed a massive46 million rendering hours, taking 9 times the rendering hours as the first film back in 2001(hpinspiredinnovation, 2010).
As the majority of DreamWorks productions are created using Computerised 3D Animation processes,the studios are equipped to meet the requirements of the animators to work efficiently. Linux is aoperating system popular with high profile studios specialising in animation and visual effects, andDreamWorks Animation boasts one of the largest commercial Linux installations with more than 1000Linux desktops and 3000 server CPU’s (linuxjournal, 2007).In order to be able to provide Animators with the software required to produce world-class CG films,DreamWorks Animation provides the tools, libraries and software infrastructure and employs staffspecially for Animation Software development. “Leonard (2007) states that DreamWorks studiosdevelop and support a suite of application tools for our films, including a proprietary animationsystem, lighting, rendering and compositing tools, and effects tools for things like fire, water, clothingand crowds.”The 3D animation software used for Computer Generated films is called Premo, specifically developedby DreamWorks for the animators (Gray, 2013). DreamWorks studios also make widespread use ofHP Z Workstations and data centres for animation work (hpinspiredinnovations, 2010)What equipment was used in the making?This photo illustrates the extensiveServer farm that DreamWorks Studiosutilises for their CG Animated films.(cyberciti, 2007)The company HP provides much of thehardware used by DreamWorks(wikipedia, 2009).
Working BibliographySlide 2 Images from Shrek (2007) linuxjournal.com [online image] Available at:<http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9653?page=0,1>Slide 3 Mitchell, M (2010) Shrek: The Final Frontier, Animation Magazine pp. 10-11, Jun/Jul 2010 Gray, A (2013) 3D Animation. April 28th 2013 Email to Antony Gray courtesy of Max Bode Photo of Eric Lessard (2013) linkedin.com [online image] Available at:<http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/eric-lessard/3b/a6/687> Mitchell, M (2010) Shrek: The Final Frontier, Animation Magazine pp. 10-11, Jun/Jul 2010 hpinspiredinnovation (2010) Tech of Shrek Forever After [Youtube Video] Available at:<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u8WmzVoCQY>Slide 4 Linuxjournal.com (2007) Linux desktop and server CPU figures [Internet] Available at:<http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9653> Rowe, R (2007) Interview with Leonard. 2007. [Internet] Available at:<http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9653> Gray, A (2013) 3D Animation. April 28th 2013 Email to Antony Gray courtesy of Max Bode hpinspiredinnovation (2010) Tech of Shrek Forever After [Youtube Video] Available at:<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u8WmzVoCQY> Images from Shrek (2007) linuxjournal.com [online image] Available at:<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HP_Pavilion_Computer.png>