10 facts about 3D or Computer Animation

Computer animation, or CGI animation, is the process used for generating animated images. Modern computer animation usually uses 3D computer graphics, although 2D computer graphics are still used for stylistic, low bandwidth, and faster real-time renderings. Computer animation can be created with a computer and an animation software. Here are 10 facts about 3D animation.

1. For 3D animations, objects (models) are built on the computer monitor (modeled) and 3D figures are rigged with a virtual skeleton.

2. To trick the eye and the brain into thinking they are seeing a smoothly moving object, the pictures should be drawn at around 12 frames per second or faster. (A frame is one complete image)

3. Early digital computer animation was developed at Bell Telephone Laboratories in the 1960s by Edward E. Zajac, Frank W. Sinden, Kenneth C. Knowlton and A. Michael Noll.

4. Futureworld (1976), the sequel to the 1973 film Westworld, used the 3D wire-frame imagery, which featured a computer-animated hand and face both created by University of Utah graduates Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke. This imagery originally appeared in their student film A Computer Animated Hand, which they completed in 1971. This is the early step into the history of computer animation.

5. Developments in CGI technologies are reported each year at SIGGRAPH, an annual conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques.

6. The very first full length computer animated television series was ReBoot, which debuted in September 1994.

7. The first feature-length computer animated film was Toy Story (1995), which was made by Pixar.

8. When computer animation is driven by motion capture (a newer method), a real performer acts out the scene as if they were the character to be animated. His/her motion is recorded to a computer using video cameras and markers and that performance is then applied to the animated character.

9. One of the greatest challenges in computer animation has been creating human characters that look and move with the highest degree of realism. Many animated films instead feature characters who are anthropomorphic animals (Finding Nemo, Ice Age, Bolt, Madagascar, Over the Hedge, Rio, Kung Fu Panda, Alpha and Omega), machines (Cars, WALL-E, Robots), insects (Antz, A Bug's Life, The Ant Bully, Bee Movie), fantasy creatures and characters (Monsters, Inc., Shrek, TMNT, Brave, Epic), or humans with non-realistic, cartoon-like proportions (Despicable Me, Up, Megamind, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Planet 51, Hotel Transylvania, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs).

10. To animate means "to give life to" and there are two basic ways that animators commonly do this - a. Computer-assisted animation (classed as two-dimensional (2D) animation), b. Computer-generated animation (also known as 3-dimensional (3D) animation.).