Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley
Animation is an illusion made with a sequence of still pictures that are each slightly different. The pictures are shown quickly to give an impression of movement. Animation is generally filmed at 24 frames per second (fps) and 12 fps. The main types are cel, stop-frame, and COMPUTER ANIMATION.
An animator produces a sequence of pencil drawings on paper. These are traced onto clear sheets called cels, and colored in with paints. Each cel is placed on a background and filmed as one frame. The background remains constant while the cels are changed.
Stop-frame animation is made using models. A miniature set is built to represent a room or a street. Puppets are placed in the set, moved small amounts, and filmed one shot at a time. Modern stop-frame animation also uses computers.
Computer animation was first used in video games, but as the technology developed, it spread to movies and television for special effects and animated features. Computer animation has evolved from both cel and stop-frame animation techniques.
Using 3-D computer software, models can be built, colored, and animated in a virtual environment. Computer animation, unlike stop-frame animation, does not need the model to be placed in every position of a movement. Instead, key poses are set and the computer creates the positions in between.
Computer software can calculate and recreate the physical movement of objects dropping, bouncing, and even knocking into each other. However, the personalities and emotions of people and creatures are too complex for a computer to understand. The human animation artist is still a vital part of the process.