There are many different types of animation that are used in our present day world. The three main ones are clay animation, computer animation, and "plain" animation. All of them have their own distinct uniqueness.
The most common type of animation is drawn on cells and is 2-D. Later the
3-D(three-dimensional) animation of clay animation is created. And recently,
the most popular type of animation is computer animation. To learn more, click
on the titles underneath.
Clay animation is also considered as a type of stop-motion animation. Clay animation is sometimes called 3-D animation because the figures are 3-D on a 3-D set. Clay animation is where you make something out of clay and move it so it is slightly different in every frame and take a picture, a lot like regular animation.
Unlike regular animation, in clay animation, instead of drawing a figure in different positions, you make the clay figure it different positions. One of the most popular clay animations we see are from Aardman Animations, such as Wallace and Grommit.
The first thing you need to know about clay animation is how to use the clay tools. The best, most widely used tool should be your hands. Your hands shape, squish, smooth, flatten, pinch, and poke the clay the best. However, the other tools also serve important functions too. They can to detail too small for your hands.
Now you need to build your character. The first step to making you character is to make armature. The armature is a skeleton for your clay figure that gives it support and allows you to move it properly for animation. You will want aluminum wire, and some hardening clay. Make a stick-figure frame for your character using the aluminum wire. Then, where the figure will NOT need to move, put hardening clay on. For example, if you were doing the arm. Have clay everywhere except the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Allow the hardening clay to dry before moving on.
Next, you want find out what body parts you won't be moving. For example, the eyeballs themselves do not vary. They move around, but the actual ball doesn't change shape. All body parts similar to this should be made using hardening clay, to save them from accidentally getting ruined, since clay figures wear easily and will need to be restored in the process of the making of animation. Once the clay dries, paint it. Other things that needs to be done like this are teeth, neckties, stomach, and any props.
After that, make the figure. make sure you use non-hardening, oil-based clay. It should be in colors, you won't be painting it. Put the clay around the armatures and use your fingers and tools to shape you figure until you like it.
Then you have to shoot it. No, no, no, you don't need a gun, just a camera. A super 8mm or a 16mm camera and a tripod is preferred. A projector is handy, but it is not absolutely necessary. Make sure you watch the cost because the prices do add up fast. Well, you're ready to start.
The last step is to animate. Set up the characters how you want and take a picture. Now, the tricky part, move each character you want to move just a tiny amount and take a picture. You have just made two frames. Continue on until you have completed you animation. You will also have to take note not to move the cameras excessively, and with practice, your skills of how and where to move your clay figures will improve.
Keep in mind the timing, acting, lip sync, and gags. If all goes well, you'll
have a real clay animation production to show you family and friends!
In the beginning of the 20th century, when animation first came into the world, each page of an animation was drawn by hand. It was only much later that there came about cel animation. The use of clear acetate sheets made many cartoonists' life easier, and we can enjoy more of their fruitful results. Now, a whole century had passed and at the start of this new millennium, we have progressed so far that we now have a new frontier approach to animation. We are now looking towards the more modern and sophisticated way of creating animation--by using the cutting edge of the current technology, computers.
The use of computer has brought about a new way of approaching animations. It started when computer experts saw the possibility of computers as a way of developing wonderfully good pictures that would have taken a lot more effort producing or even impossible to produce otherwise. Then later on, in the late 20th century, we saw the help of computer generated graphics being used in major successful movies, such as the Star Wars Trilogy and the Jurassic Park, directed by George Lucas and Spielberg respectively. In these two movies, much of the Computer Generated Imaging (CGI) was used to create impressive scenes that would otherwise need to waste much money on building believable models and then filming them. The use of computers also came in where dangerous stunts needs to be done. Now, the simple flicks done to a computer can save so much more effort and resources!
As the world of computer animation grows, we see the creation of the first fully computerized animation, Toy Story, a Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Production, released by Walt Disney Pictures in 1995. And now, as a prelude to the start of this new millennium, the world is eagerly anticipating the release of the fully computer generated film from Japan, Final Fantasy.
By the use of computers, we now let it do the more menial work that used to be done by junior cartoonist. Before this, the chief cartoonist would draw out the key frames and others would draw the pages in between. Now, we can use the help of computers to create these scenes and do the in 'betweening' (or known as tweening) scenes. This saved the animators a lot of effort and time, which is much appreciated.
This form of animation is quickly gaining importance in the world, and we are looking forward to the time when we may be able to see much more use of computers in the wide film of cinematography.Going Further - 2D and 3D
In these days of high technology, we not only have 2D animation but also
3D animation from computers. The examples of 2D animations are the use of
flash and animated GIF we usually find on the Internet. I have mentioned earlier
of the examples of 3D animation.
The shift from 2D to 3D environment is enormous. In a 3D environment, we now have to consider many different things that we would not have needed in a 2D environment.
Such as the simple use of 3D give the pictures a view not only from the front, but also from different angles and positions (e.g. from top view or side view).
Other than that we have to keep in mind of simple rules that the computer does not understand and the computer-generated objects would not abide by, such as the laws of physics. We ourselves must keep in mind that a heavier object would move faster than a lighter one. And we need to take care of the slightest detail such as the twitching of the eye corner or the movement of fingers in the simple movements such as a hand waving. These simple details that we need to keep in mind when creating an animation or it would not have looked realistic in the eyes of the audience.
The early users of computer animation are actually computer experts that have little knowledge of cartoon animation and the early animation programs consists of much programming jargon to control how an object would behave. Now, there are 3D programs that hide much these programming languages so that we only need to specify the different properties we wish our animated environment to have.
Stop-motion animation, or motion capture, or performance animation, unlike any other types of animation, is simply a way to animate puppets. Essentially, puppets are used and a photograph is taken every time their position is changed slightly to create a fluid-like motion. In a way, it defines animation where we give life to non living objects and make them look life like.
Stop-motion animation is a very interesting way of producing animation and it is also one of the most complicated and tedious one. Instead of just drawing on papers and coloring them, in stop motion, we not only have to design the characters, we also have to make them from scratch using wood, metal, clay and other scraps of material. For example, hair gel is used to make water, cosmetic toothpaste to make blood, a fountain is made by plastic and resin instead of plain water, cotton wool is used to make smoke and smog and etcetera.
In creating a stop-motion character, we would first and foremost need the armature of the character, which means the skeleton of the puppet. It is mainly made out of metal, and these metal scraps will usually need to be custom made and involves quite a bit of money.
Technology and puppets
In these advanced state of technology, there is now a totally different way of creating stop-motion animation. An actor will wear a suite connected with various sensory wires that plots the movement and positioning of the joints. Then the computer will use these inputs to change the puppet that had been previously designed and created in the computer. Nickelodean was created this way.
View a short clip of stop-motion animation done
with colored sand.
Contributed by Art Club of Victoria Junior College.