3D Animation

What makes a picture 3D?
A picture that appears to have a height, width, and depth.

What is CGI Animation?
CGI stands for Computer Generated Imagery. More specifically 3D computer graphics. CGI is used for visual effects that are computer generated.

Advantages of 3D/CGI animation are:
CGI is very successful because the animator has more control over the animation. The animator does not need actors, props, or expensive sets. 3D animation has evolved so much from where it began.  3D looks realistic and the final product is truly amazing!

There are many 3D computer programs that are different and have their own characteristics and specialties. Some examples are:

  • Maya
  • LightWave
  • Softimage
  • Studio Max
  • Swift
  • Amorphium
  • Carrara Studio
  • Poser
  • Bryce
  • Blender
  • Renderman

Creating a 3D animation starts with good planning.
Creating multiple drawings of your object and storyboards. Start Simple.
The object will be broken up into a series of shapes which will create a wire-frame surface.

Wire-frame – is the basic structure of the 3D object divided up into basic shapes. These shapes are based on geometry  with multiple interesting points that can be moved and altered.

Wire frame of a hand-made from relatively few polygons —-862 total
Wire frame of a hand made from relatively few polygons ----862 total

The outline of the wire-frame can be made to look more natural and rounded by adding more polygons — 3,444
The outline of the wireframe can be made to look more natural and rounded by adding more polygons --- 3,444

Shaders and Textures
In a 3D graphic you can only look at the graphic image to get all the information possible. The break down of the areas that are important to make a 3D graphic realistic are:

  • Color
  • Texture
  • Reflectance

Adding a Surface to the Wire-frame:
Adding a Surface to the Wireframe

Lighting and Perspective
Lighting plays a key role in two effects that give the appearance of weight and solidity.

  • shading
  • shadows

Lighting adds depth:
Lighting in a 3D image adds depth

Creating Perspective:
Creating Perspective

Depth of Field
Depth of Field is used to focus the audiences eye on an object in the animation or to create perspective.
Depth of Field

3D Animation Examples:

Augmented Reality

Augmented-reality displays will overlay computer-generated graphics onto the real world.

Moving and Rotating Objects in 3D

Using the 3D rotation and translation tool in Flash 5 allows you the animator to rotate an object in three-dimensions and move it around in a 3D space.

Important facts to remember about the 3D tools:

  1. The object has to be a movie clip.
  2. The 3D tool is limited since the drawing tools in Flash only create two-dimensional images.
  3. The 3D tool can create some good effects.
  4. The Flash files has to be ActionScript 3.0 when you create you file.



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