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Animated Films

An animated film cosists of a number of frames that show the characters is slightly different poses. When viewed sequentially the frames give the impression that the characters move.

The individual frame making process has changed over the years - but the basic method of putting together an animation is the same:

See: Hand Drawn Cel Film Production

See: Computerized Animation

Stage 1

See: Storyboard

Stage 2

Sound - the sound needs recording so that the images fit to it - you cannot do it the other way round without great difficulty!

DiDA students: You have to be careful to save the soundfile in a suitable format - then it will be acceptable within Flash.

Stage 3

Using the stroryboard an artist is commissioned to draw a sequence of images - each one in a slightly different position - to show movement as time progresses - including 'lip synchronisation' for speech or singing. Therefore they are also given the sound track to 'fit' it too. For a big animation many artists will be employed and working to the storyboard specifications is very important. An animator may spend weeks working on a few minutes of action, while a layout artist is spending a similar amount of time on the background.

The above image sequence shows how the 'blink' was achieved. See here for detail of how the other effects wre acheived.

Stage 4

Those sketches are then played in sequence to ensure the animation is correct before any detailed work is done on them.


Stage 5

The artist can then work on the detail - colour, rendering, shadow addition... and background - that is sometimes done by another artist!

This site sells original art for cell - you can use it to see the quality of images - and also the stages they go through.
This is another site that sells cel originals - it has sequences of cells of such characters as Bugs Bunny - check out the Chuck Jones section.


Glossary of terms

animator An artist that draws a sequence of graphics that appear to move when displayed in order.
background artist An artist that colours and renders the background according to the instructions of the layout artist.
frame A still image that is used to create the illusion of movement in a film.
frame rate The number of frames that are displayed within one second.
key frame A frame that defines the starting and ending points of any smooth transition within the film action
layout artist An artist that designs the backgrounds - specifying lighting for the shot and camera angles for the viewpoint for each section of the storyboard.
storyboard artist An artist that transfers the script into a sequence of sketches that indicate key frames in the storyline.


Software that makes animation easy - Click here