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Technologies That Shaped Our World. 07. Computer Animation

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The word animation traces its roots back to Italian anatomist Luigi Galvani’s experiments, where he tried to stimulate the legs of frogs through electric impulses and they then “twitched”. This became the reference point for the word Animation i.e. Animal motion.

From experience, I have come to realize that to reach a child’s heart, teach a child better and keep a child fully engaged in learning as well as entertained, animation films do the job best.

I am always wowed when I see animation movies. The height of expertise, precision and investment it will take to create one leaves me awed in reckless abandon. Often I sit to think about how long it must have the creators to create each character, the scenery and the process it might have taken to script and animate them. What a job!

What Is Computer Animation?
Computer animation is the art of creating moving images via the use of computers. The more general term is computer-generated imagery (CGI) includes both static scenes and dynamic images. However, computer animation only refers only to moving images.
Computer animation is essentially a digital successor to the art of stop motion animation of 3D models and frame-by-frame animation of 2D illustrations.

Computer Animation Models
3D Animation
3D animation is the process of placing objects and characters in a 3D space and manipulating them to create the illusion of motion.
In 3D animation, Objects (models) are created on the computer monitor (modelled) and 3D figures are equipped with a virtual skeleton. Then the head, eyes, mouth, body, clothes, etc. of the model are moved by the animator on keyframes. The differences in appearance between keyframes are automatically calculated by the computer in a process known as tweening or morphing. Before the animation is executed.

2D Animation
2D animation implies any moving art that is created to work in a two-dimensional space. In 2D, individual drawings are put together in a sequence and when they are played together, it gives off the illusion of a moving film. This has allowed animators to create moving art without involving humans or natural scenery and create any type of characters, creatures, and backgrounds as they wish.
To produce the illusion of movement, an image is displayed on the computer monitor and continually replaced by a new image that is similar to it but advanced slightly in time (usually at a rate of 24, 25, or 30 frames/second). This technique is identical to how the illusion of movement is achieved with television and motion pictures.

To get things straight, computer animation is the process of adding life to inanimate objects on the computer screen by creating multiple frames of similar objects and switching them in fast motions, so that it seems to be in motion. To trick the eye into believing that an object or model is in motion, multiple frames (A frame is one complete image) of a model are switched at rates up to 24 frames per second which is sufficient to create the illusion of continuous movement.

In contrast, a newer method called motion capture use live-action footage. When computer animation is driven by motion capture, a real performer acts out the scene as if they were the character to be animated. Their motion is recorded on a computer using video cameras and markers and that performance is then applied to the animated character.

The goal of computer animation is not only to imitate reality as closely as possible. However, many animated films also feature characters who are anthropomorphic animals, legendary creatures and characters, superheroes, etc.

Applications Of Computer Animations
1. Film And Television
3D animation is often used for character animation in TV and films. The method can make characters seem more realistic, enhancing the emotional connection viewers establish with them. A 3D animated character is more vivid and engaging, almost like playing with a toy. Little wonder many prefer to see animation movies over real-life ones.
Early examples of feature films incorporating CGI animation include the live-action films Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Tron (both 1982).VeggieTales is the first American fully 3D computer-animated series sold directly (made in 1993); its success inspired other animation series, such as ReBoot (1994) and Transformers: Beast Wars (1996).

2. Education
With computer animations, pictorial illustrations stick longer in the mind of children. This is the reason why most of the learning materials for children involve animated videos. With computers, children will be able to watch some of their developmental books as animated videos.

3. Marketing
Computers animation has also proven to be effective in marketing. Most marketing Ads are now run in 3D animation, with this technique a marketer can show off all product features as they would appear in real life. Audiences in turn will get a better sense of what the product looks like and what to expect from it. Brands can also use 3D animation to showcase products through tutorials or demos.

3D animation can also be used to create captivating content that can drive sales, especially in our present world where attention span is getting shorter, a short compelling video ad with 3D techniques can invoke consumers’ interest.

4. Medicine
In medicine, 3D animation when especially shows detailed images of the human body, and even digitally demonstrates medical techniques. Computer animation can also be used to communicate with patients—for example, by showing them what to expect from a medical procedure.

5. Gaming
With 3D animation, everyone loves games. The feeling of 3D animation in video games intensifies the action in action or racing games. The obstacles, the 3D sensation lives long-lasting impressions. 3D animation can also be used with virtual reality and augmented reality special effects, giving the player the sense that they’re inside the game in real-time.

Grand theft auto iii is one example of how a video game animation can leverage 3D technology. The action game involves a lot of physicalities, making for a more adrenaline-pumping experience.

5. Architecture And Design
3D animation is also useful in creating real-life designs of houses and buildings before construction. 3D animations Combined with VR and AR tools, architects can go as far as walking through their designs as in real-life situations. It is also helpful for interior decoration, which will let designers get a concrete idea of what a room looks like.

In conclusion, I won’t be wrong to say that computer animation makes the digital world more engaging, relatable and inspiring.

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About author
We are the same, we may only be different in our experiences, values and exposures. Technology is a big part of my experience, learning is one of my values and writing my credible means of exposure.
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