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  1. 1. Chapter 7 Introduction to Animation OBJECTIVES At the end of this chapter, you should be able to: 1. state the importance of animation in a multimedia application; 2. identify the basic principles and techniques of animation; and 3. know some of the main traditional animation techniques. INTRODUCTIONMultimedia technology has contributed a lot in our daily lives specifically in theentertainment world. Current Hollywood movies, especially action films andcartoons use a lot of animation technology such as movies like Star Wars: Attackof the Clones, Matrix, and Toy Story. Such films interest the audience. InMalaysia, local animated cartoon films such as Silat Lagenda and Putih havecaptivated the hearts of the audience. Unlike normal films, almost or all of thecharacters and scenes in these films are produced through drawings butappeared to be real. This situation is called animation; where allstatic images either as drawings, statues or inanimate objects can move, talk andact like live characters.Animation provides the visual impact for your multimedia project. Mostmultimedia applications, for both the Macintosh and Windows, provide thetools required for animation. But before that, we need to understand theprinciples and techniques found in animation.
  2. 2. 118 UNIT 2 MULTIMEDIA COMPONENTS 1: TEXT, GRAPHICS AND ANIMATION 7.1 DEFINITIONAnimation originates from the Latin word which means "bring to life." Accordingto the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka dictionary, animation is an act or process ofmaking something seem realistic or alive.A more complete definition of animation can be interpreted from the definitionby Neo & Neo (1997) which is as follows:"Animation is a technology that enables a still image to look as though it is alive,able to move, act and talk. This is made possible by cinematography graphicsand plastic art techniques to create or to give the illusion of movement and life tocartoons, handdrawing, statues and three dimensional objects." THINK Have you ever watched an animated action film or cartoon? In your opinion, how is animation created? 7.2 PRINCIPLES OF ANIMATIONAnimation is made possible because of a biological phenomenon known as„persistence of vision‰. An object seen by the human eye remains chemicallymapped on the eyeÊs retina for a brief time after viewing. Combined with thehuman mindÊs need to conceptually complete a perceived action, this makes itpossible for a series of images that are changed very slightly and very rapidly,one after the other, to seemingly blend together into a visual illusion ofmovement.The principle is explained more clearly through an illustration of circles as shownin Figure 7.1. Take note of this diagram; at each stated circle, an arrow is drawnat a different position and this position is changed towards the right-side at anangle of 15 degrees.
  3. 3. CHAPTER 7 INTRODUCTION TO ANIMATION 119 Figure 7.1: Picture of movement of an imageWhen the images are progressively and rapidly changed, the arrow is perceivedto be spinning.Television video builds 30 entire frames or pictures every second; the speed withwhich each frame is replaced by the next one makes the images appear to blendsmoothly into movement.For computer animation to function well, it should be built by using 12 to 15frames per second (12 - 15 fps). Any amount of fps which is less than the statedvalue will produce animation that is jerky and not smooth. This is becausethe human eye is able to detect the changes from one frame to the next.In conclusion, it can be said that animation is produced with the benefit ofthe biological phenomenon known as "persistence of vision." Figure 7.2: Stop motion photo "Humans in motion" by Edweard MuyBridge Source: http//
  4. 4. 120 UNIT 2 MULTIMEDIA COMPONENTS 1: TEXT, GRAPHICS AND ANIMATIONRead the passage below regarding the device known as Zoetrope which isproduced based on the "persistence of vision" concept.The ZoetropeThe zoetrope, or Wheel of Life, takes the PhenakistiscopeÊsprinciple of using slits to view the image and folds it into arotating drum. Invented in 1834 by William George Horner,the image was drawn on a removable strip of paper, so theanimations were changeable. The slits were equally spacedaround the drum, and the images were spaced along withthem. The viewer spun the drum and watched the animationthrough the slits. This was perhaps the most popular andlongest lasting of all of these toys. Horner originally namedit the Daedalum, or Wheel of the Devil, but changed it beforemarketing.(Source: Exercise 7.1 1. Give ONE definition of animation that you have learnt. 2. Explain what you understand by the concept "persistence of vision?"7.3 THE IMPORTANCE OF ANIMATION IN MULTIMEDIAThe need to integrate animation in the development of a multimedia programs orsoftware not only arises from the desire to increase the „oomph‰ in theapplication, but also to provide a more dynamic visual to the audience. Inmultimedia aspects, animation is one of the elements that are able to increasethe attractiveness of a multimedia program or software. However, the decision touse animation is based on its aesthetic value and the growing importanceof animation.There is a difference between the use of digital video clips and animation. Videoclips capture real live movement whereas animation is just a simulation of the
  5. 5. CHAPTER 7 INTRODUCTION TO ANIMATION 121real world. Digital video files are larger than animation files. Therefore, digitalvideo clips are only used if it is proven to benefit the overall presentation.Nowadays, computer animation is progressing rapidly. With the price ofcomputers and software getting lower and the capacity of computer systemsincreasing, development of animation technology will definitely continue toprogress. Animation makes a person creative in the sense that the software isuser friendly and the hard disk storage can be increased to accommodate anyshortfalls. This makes the production of animation easier and it is only limited bythe creativity of an individual. Figure 7.3: Examples of local animated films: Putih and Silat Lagenda Source: /gambar/poster/posterthumb.html7In the West, computer animated technology became a huge success with theproduction of animated films such as „Who framed Roger Rabbit, Antz, andToyÊs Story". In Malaysia, computer animation technology received attentionwith the emergence of the first computer animated cartoons such as, UsopSantorian and Keluang Man, Anak-anak Sidek, Silat Lagenda etc. Althoughthese local animated cartoons have their weaknesses, these efforts have beenrelatively successful in introducing new changes in the local film industry. 7.4 COMPUTER ANIMATION APPLICATIONSAs we know, recently there are many uses for computer animation, more so inthe era of multimedia industry development. You may think that computeranimation only focuses on producing computer games, TV broadcasts ormaterials with multimedia characteristics. This is not necessarily true becausecomputer animation comprises of not only entertainment but also practicalelements and education.The areas that benefited from computer animation applications are advertising,archaeology, architecture, arts, chemistry, education, engineering, film and videoproduction, flight simulation, forensics, medicine, space probe, military andmany others. Figure 7.4 below shows the various fields of computer animation.
  6. 6. 122 UNIT 2 MULTIMEDIA COMPONENTS 1: TEXT, GRAPHICS AND ANIMATION Figure 7.4: Computer Animation Applications7.4.1 EducationEducation and learning processes will be more effective and attractive if they areimplemented in informal and pleasant situations. With the increasingdevelopment of multimedia, animation continues to contribute greatly to the fieldof education. Coloured and dynamic animation features not only makethe educational content more lively and interesting, but it also stimulates andinterests the students.
  7. 7. CHAPTER 7 INTRODUCTION TO ANIMATION 123 Figure 7.5: Example of a screen display of an Animated Maths software Source: courseware that are available in the market use animation, for example acourseware built for the Smart School project. What interesting about thiscourseware is the interactive feature that is relayed through multimedia. Students who use this software donÊt use it passively but have active interactionswith the software. Figure 7.5 shows an example of mathematicsÊ software,„Animated Math." Flix Productions is a company that specialises in children educational software. Visit its website at: http://www, MedicineAnimation also plays an important role in the medical field, especially in surgery.Sophisticated computer technology enabled every organ in the human body to bemodelled and animated. With the existence of such technology, the percentage ofsuccessful operations will surely increase because surgeons are able to learn andexplore on model organs first before, they operate. This increases the surgeonsÊconfidence levels and contributes to the success of operations.
  8. 8. 124 UNIT 2 MULTIMEDIA COMPONENTS 1: TEXT, GRAPHICS AND ANIMATION7.4.3 AdvertisingAdvertising especially electronic media advertising has benefited from computeranimation. The advertising field requires dynamic and attractive media such asthe animation available in the film industry. High quality animation features arecapable of obscuring the audienceÊs eyes to the extent that it is difficult todifferentiate between computer animation and real life. If you observe theadvertisements shown on television, you will find that more andmore commercials are using amazing animation techniques.Without the use of animation, these cannot be advertised, because somemovements that need to be displayed cannot be produced. For example, anaircraft that is in the heart of the city waiting to pick up a package, as in theFedEx advertisement, is made possible through animation. So is thepetroleum advertisement that shows a car turning into a tiger.7.4.4 ChemistryAnimation also contributes to the field of chemistry. This is because there aremany chemicals such as molecules and atoms that cannot be seen by the nakedeye, let alone be experimented or researched on.Computer animation is used to help chemists with their experiments by buildingrealistic 3D models of molecules or atoms that can be viewed from variousangles. This definitely eases the difficult jobs that chemists have in real life.7.4.5 ArchitectureComputer animation technology helps architecture experts create animationbased on the concepts of internal exploration, where a person is able toexperience a real life situation while exploring and moving in a building. Withthis, we can experience the actual situation of a building before it is built.This concept also enables an architect to detect any defect in the model or designat the initial stage. This will surely save cost and energy.
  9. 9. CHAPTER 7 INTRODUCTION TO ANIMATION 125 Figure 7.6: Animation and architecture Source: To increase your knowledge regarding architecture and animation, visit the website at 4.299/Students/lsass/Anim/Text/ch-0.html7.4.6 Films, Entertainment and GamesAnimation is an alternative in the film industry. If in the beginning the filmindustry benefited from performing arts by humans and live animals, theanimation has transformed the attention by including drawing or artwork todeliver a story. Trinor & Krasnewick said that graphics artists canintegrate multimedia technology with artwork from drawing software that isacquired freely to build animated film animation such as cartoon films.Nowadays, computer animation has become a norm and increasingly popular inthe area of entertainment. Do you know that Toys Story (1995) was the firstanimated movie completely produced by computer? This movie was a jointproduction of Disney and Pixar. Other movies such as Terminator 2, Matrix, StarWars; Attack of the Clones, Stuart Little and Shrek has brought computeranimation to a new level in the film industry.
  10. 10. 126 UNIT 2 MULTIMEDIA COMPONENTS 1: TEXT, GRAPHICS AND ANIMATION Figure 7.7: Toys Story film Source: animation can fully contribute towards games, just like in the fieldof education. The highly interactive features make the games softwarehighly entertaining. Players can response actively during play. In addition, thereare also games that really challenge the players, not only in terms of physicalactivity but also intellectually. Figure 7.8: The GTA3 computer game Source: YOUR IDEATry to think of FOUR other fields that also benefited from computer animatedapplications.
  11. 11. CHAPTER 7 INTRODUCTION TO ANIMATION 127 Visit the website computeranimation. pdf to obtain additional information regarding computer animated applications.Lets take a short break before continuing the lessons. Exercise 7.2 1. What is the contribution of computer animation in the field of medicine? 7.5 ANIMATION TECHNIQUESThere are many techniques or animation methods that you can learn. Thebasic method is to create animation through the stop frame cinematographymethod. However, to ease your understanding of animation techniques, we willdivide it into two categories, that is traditional animation and computeranimation.Traditional animation will be explained later in this chapter. It covers techniquessuch as keyframes, cell animation and onion skinning. In the following chapter,we will discuss computerised animation. Isnt that interesting? Therefore, clearyour thoughts and it is hoped that you are ready to study the various interestinganimation techniques. 7.6 TRADITIONAL ANIMATIONMost of the techniques and methods of traditional animation were developed inthe 1930s at the Walt Disney studio. These techniques were aimed at producing amore realistic and entertaining animation. In fact these techniques can and shouldbe applied in the production of 3D animation.
  12. 12. 128 UNIT 2 MULTIMEDIA COMPONENTS 1: TEXT, GRAPHICS AND ANIMATIONThe following are some of the animation techniques used in the traditionalprocess of producing animation.7.6.1 KeyframesBefore the existence of animation technology, all traditional animation was doneby hand. To save time and reduce the workload of the artists, the task ofproducing animation was distributed to more than one person. In order for thisprocess to function smoothly, keyframes were referred to.Before an animation is implemented; a storyboard is produced first, to showsequence of the animated story. When the storyboard is completed, the chiefgraphics artist or animator will draw the main frames (usually the first frame andlast frame for an action). These main frames are known as keyframes. It will bethe key or the reference frame for all the other frames.After the keyframes have been completely drawn, the other graphics artists willtake over the task of drawing the frames between the first frame and the lastframe. The process of drawing the frames that lie between the keyframes isalso known as tweening.7.6.2 TweeningTweening is the process of producing an image or object in between thekeyframes so as to give the illusion of movement. The tweening processrequires prior counting of the actual number of frames that are requiredbetween the keyframes and the future path to be taken for the sequence ofactions. After that, the sequence of actions will be drawn in pencil. If the endresult is satisfactory and acceptable, then it will be permanently drawn in ink.7.6.3 Onion SkinningOnion skinning is another animation technique that is used in traditional cellanimation. By drawing on transparent paper, the graphics artist can see therough outline or the cell outline and use it as his guide for drawing orproducing the next cell image.
  13. 13. CHAPTER 7 INTRODUCTION TO ANIMATION 129 Figure 7.9: The Mechanical Techniques during the Disney Era7.6.4 Cell AnimationThe cell animation technique, popularised by Walt Disney, uses a series ofdrawings or pictures that overlap one frame with another frame. Cell animationbenefits the three major techniques which are the keyframes, tweening and onionskinning. For your information, films are normally built using 24 frames persecond (fps). Therefore, to produce one minute of animation we will require 1440different frames.The term ÂcellÊ originates from clear celluloid sheets that are used to draw eachframe. Nowadays, it has been replaced with acetate or plastic. Cell animationbegins with the keyframes. For example, when a person walks across the screen,he balances his body on one leg and then on the other leg. Thus, the picture of thefirst keyframe will show him bending a little then straightening a little thenbending a little again and so on and so forth, continuously.The sequence of producing the frames in between the keyframes is known astweening. Through this cell animation technique, each character or object thatrequires having movement, will be drawn on transparent sheets. Pictures of thebackground are drawn on opaque sheets.For an animation to succeed, many characters or objects will be drawn onoverlapping transparent sheets that are placed on top of each other and in turnplaced on top of the opaque paper with the background drawing.
  14. 14. 130 UNIT 2 MULTIMEDIA COMPONENTS 1: TEXT, GRAPHICS AND ANIMATION Figure 7.10: Traditional Cell Animation Shows how the major frame is produced by the animator, the assistants will draw the in between frames and onion skinning is used to ease the end result of the artwork. Source: technique saves time and energy for the graphics artists because they do notneed to draw each character or object repeatedly. Instead, these artists only needto draw certain parts of the characters that require movements. Figure 7.11: The first cartoon, „Steamboat Willie" produced by Walt Disney Source: nline/lectures/history.pdfFor additional information, kindly read the passage below:
  15. 15. CHAPTER 7 INTRODUCTION TO ANIMATION 131Cell and Paper Animation TechniqueBy mid-1910Ês animation production in US already dominated by the techniques ofcell and paper.Cell animation was more popularised in America than in Europe because ofassembly line Taylorism that had taken America by storm. Cell animation wasappropriate to the assembly line style of manufacturing because it took a whole lineof persons working on very specific and simple repetitive duties. On the otherhand, in Europe where the assembly line style of work was not encouraged, clayanimation and other forms of animation that required only a few individualsworking on the set at a time was more popularised. Because the actual set couldonly afford a limited amount of individuals working at one time together andno more this style and other alternative forms of animation became more widelyaccepted.(Source: Exercise 7.3 1. What is the most basic technique for creating animation? 2. Give TWO traditional animation techniques. Explain briefly. 3. State ONE usage of computer animation application in each of the following fields; Fields Usage of animation technology application (i) Advertising (ii) Education (iii) Chemistry (iv) Architecture
  16. 16. 132 UNIT 2 MULTIMEDIA COMPONENTS 1: TEXT, GRAPHICS AND ANIMATION SUMMARYToday, animation is almost a century old and has evolved into a verylarge technology. Animated movies continue to flood the market and havebecome an attractive source of information and entertainment. This indicates thatanimation has a bright future.In this chapter, you were introduced to the principles of animation, theimportance of animation in multimedia and the contribution of animation invarious areas of life. A few traditional techniques of animation such as keyframe,cell animation and onion skinning were discussed in this chapter.