Step-by-Step : How to Make an Animated Movie

In the digitalized world, every step by step planning is required for making an Animated movie as a single mistake would cost a huge loss economically. So pre- production planning is very vital. There are many stages involved for making an Animated movie from the scratch. Here are some steps that have to be followed:-

As we all know the three basics of Production Pipeline namely Pre- production,Production and post Production. In animation the post production is the most important it takes most of the time of an animator. 

The Pre- Production consists of Story Boarding, Layouts, Model Sheets and Animatics.

Story boarding:

The Storyboard helps to finalize the development of the storyline, and is an essential stage of the animation process. It is made up of drawings in the form of a comic strip, and is used to both help visualise the animation and to communicate ideas clearly. It details the scene and changes in the animation, often accompanied by text notes describing things occurring within the scene itself, such as camera movements

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Layouts

Once the storyboards have been approved, they are sent to the layout department which then works closely with the director to design the locations and costumes. With this done they begin to stage the scenes, showing the various characters’ positions throughout the course of each shot.

Model Sheets

During this stage the character designs are finalized so that when production starts their blueprints can be sent to the modeling department who are responsible for creating the final character models.

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Animatics:

In order to give a better idea of the motion and timing of animation sequences and VFX-heavy scenes, the pre-visualization department within the VFX studio creates simplified mock-ups called “Animatics” shortly after the storyboarding process. These help the Director plan how they will go about staging the above sequences, as well as how visual effects will be integrated into the final shot.

The Production involves layout, modeling, texturing, lighting, rigging and animation

Modeling:

In this stage the character is developed digitally. Modelers tend to have a sculpture background and specialize in building the characters and other free form surfaces, hard-surface modelers often have a more industrial design or architectural background, and as such they model the vehicles, weapons, props and buildings.

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Texturing:

Working hand-in-hand with the surfacing and shading departments, textures are painted to match the approved concept art and designs which were delivered by the art department. These textures are created in the form of maps which are then assigned to the model

Lighting:

Lighters have a broad range of responsibilities, including placing lights, defining light properties, defining how light interacts with different types of materials, the qualities and complexities of the realistic textures involved, how the position and intensity of lights affect mood, as well as color theory and harmony. 

Rigging:

Rigging is the process of adding bones to a character or defining the movement of a mechanical object, and it’s central to the animation process. A character will make test animations showing how a creature or character appears when deformed into different poses, and based on the results corrective adjustments are often made.

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Animation:

This step involves planning a character’s performance frame by frame. The effects team also produce elements such as smoke, dust, water and explosions, although development on these aspects does not start until the final animation/lighting has been approved as they are integral to the final shot and often computationally heavy.

The post production step involves compositing, sound editing and video editing.

Compositing:

The compositing department brings together all of the 3D elements produced by the previous departments in the pipeline, to create the final rendered image ready for film! General compositing tasks include rendering the different passes delivered by a lighting department to form the final shot, paint fixes and rotoscoping (although compositors sometimes rely on mattes created by a dedicated rotoscoping department), as well as the compositing of fx elements and general color grading.

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Sound Editing:

This department is responsible for selecting and assembling the sound recordings in preparation for the final sound mix, ensuring lip sync and adding all of the sound effects required for the final film.

Video Editing:

Video editing is the process of manipulating and rearranging shots to create a seamless final product, and it is at this stage that any unwanted footage and scenes are removed. Editing is a crucial step in making sure the video flows in a way which achieves the initial goal. 

 

Animation production is a very coordinated process where different teams of artists work together while utilizing optimum resources and achieving the initial goal in the time available

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Disney Plans to release Miyazaki’s last talent

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The wind rises is Hayao Miyazaki’s last film. Disney has decided to release the film in North America. The new film from Hayao Miyazaki and his production house Studio Ghibli, widely acclaimed as not only one of anime’s brightest stars but one of Japan’s greatest living filmmakers of any kind.

The Wind Rises, a/k/a Kaze Tachinu, is based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed the “Zero” fighter plane used by Japan in World War II. Controversy has swirled around the film since its original announcement, much of which has revolved around whether or not the film glorifies war. Miyazaki is adamant that his movie does no such thing, and instead concentrates on the life of a man who “desired … to make exquisite planes.” Flight and flying are constant and recurring themes in Miyazaki’s movies; there’s scarcely a one where the characters don’t take to the skies. 

Controversy aside, the film has performed well in Japan, earning some ¥960 million (around $9 million) in its first two days of release, with a total of ¥7.2 billion ($74.1 million) in four weeks.

Courtesy: By , About.com Guide

Hannah Barbera: Tom and Jerry: Traditional animation is being replaced

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Master cartoonist drew his last on 20th December 2006. In jelly-stone yogi bear wiped off a tear, the Flintstones family mourned in the bedrock and Tom and Jerry declared truce as a mark of respect. For, after decades of entertaining children and adults with some of the finest cartoons ever drawn, their creator, Joseph Barbera, had died in Los Angeles. He was 95.

“When we started, people said, ‘Cat and mouse? That’s old stuff’,” Barbera once said of Tom and Jerry. “They said it had been done by everybody – Felix the Cat, Ignatz the Cat, not to mention Mickey Mouse. But I felt that in any country you wouldn’t need dialogue to understand the plot. All you needed was a cat and mouse, and everybody knew what was going to happen.”

Hanna and Barbera first tried the theme in the 1937 Puss Gets the Boot with a cat named Jasper and a mouse called Jinx. It earned an Oscar nomination, and MGM let the pair keep experimenting until the full-fledged Tom and Jerry characters were born. Tom and Jerry won seven Oscars for MGM – more than its great rivals Disney or Warner Brothers earned for any individual creation. Their fantastically violent plots included Tom using everything from guns, axes, poison and dynamite to murder Jerry, while Jerry would retaliate by putting Tom’s tail in a waffle iron.

In an age before computer-generated images, each cartoon was hugely labour intensive. At 24 frames per second, a Tom and Jerry cartoon running at five minutes would have taken 7,200 hand drawn and painted frames. 

Warner Brothers chairman Barry Meyer said of Barbera: “The characters he created with his late partner William Hanna are not only animated superstars, but also a very beloved part of American pop culture. While he will be missed by his family and friends, Joe will live on through his work,”

We miss Hannah Barbera as the traditional Animation is now being replaced with digital Animation which is much more faster but the talent skills could only be seen when the hard work pays off. Today’s cartoon are missing that effort and hence the episodes are few. The last longest run episode that was seen was Scooby Dooby Doo which was started in 1969. The 3-D Animation no doubt requires effort but the hard work has lessened as compared to Hannah Barbera’s time. The digitalized world is much of commercialization and less of talent. Tom and Jerry have lost its charm and the work is not worthy of comparison.

How is Anime made?

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There is a confusion among some people that digital animation is same as anime but I would like to tell you that Anime is one of the few places left that you can still find ‘Traditional Animation’. Commercial, mainstream anime is still fundamentally hand-drawn, and that’s why it remains such a great artistic medium! Traditional animation allows for more individuality to be expressed. Sure, computers do come into it in a large way (and I’ll explain that a bit later), but the crucial thing is that the frames are still initially drawn by hand, and no in-between animation is simulated by a computer.

This is the process hoe animation is produced:

Key Animation: Based on the storyboard, the key animators start work, creating the animation drawings. They are assigned a certain number of different cuts by the person in charge of key animation. Key animators draw the essential frames that mark a distinct position or expression of a cel/character. For example, a character starting to kick someone as one key frame, and then the kick landing as the second key frame.  These drawings also include lines which direct where shading will occur.

There is a consistency in the character to be followed in different scenes of the same movie/ anime episodes. The person to look after the consistency is called

Animation Director: Their position is basically about consistency. They check all the key frames being created for an episode and make corrections where necessary so that the drawings are as close to the models for the series as possible. In some cases, they may have to redraw entire frames, or make adjustments to timing and movement. Animation directors tend to be more experienced animators and are paid more for the role.

In between Animation: We have our approved key-frames for a piece of animation, but now to complete the animation, so that it moves fluidly, more drawings have to be completed to go between the key frames. This is called in-between animation. In-between animation is paid more poorly than key animation, and is usually only a temporary position in an animator’s career. You could describe this as grunt work, because in-between animators don’t have a chance to imbue their work with individuality. They receive clear instructions from the key animator about what the in-between animation should do, and simply fill in the gaps with drawings. They also have the task of neatly tracing the key frames.

Generally, especially for TV, anime will be animated at 2:s, which means 1 drawing lasts for two frames (equating to 12 drawings per second), but sometimes animation is done at 1:s (24 frames every second) or 3:s. If every second of an anime was animated at even 2:s that would involve using around 15000 drawings for an episode! In reality, because many shots have cells as static, or because many scenes don’t necessarily require fluid movement, the average anime will have around 3000 frames/drawings. That’s still a lot of drawings!

Compositing / “filming”: It is commonplace for the frames to be completed on a computer. After they are drawn and checked, they are digitized. Once they are on the computer, they are painted with a specified color palette by painting staff (generally a low paid job). They use the shading lines drawn by the key animators to do the shading colors. This digital equivalent of the ‘ink & paint’ stage of production, which used to be done by hand, has allowed some more interesting visual styles to come through in the coloring, such as the use of gradient shading or even textures. These would have been too difficult to do back in the day. It has also saved considerable time and money in the process. These become the final “cells” that go into the animation. Now, cuts are completed digitally, and the background art can be added on the computer. Initially, when digicell was first being picked up by studios (around about 2000), it had real problems matching the fineness of detail in hand-drawn and painted cells. But nowadays, anime studios have really perfected the digital cell, giving us anime with just as much detail and more vibrant coloring.

Courtesy: Washi’s Blog

With the fall of TV:Neon alley is on rise

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As television is declining due to accessibility of internet. The rise of internet television is due to working people who fail to catch up television programs on time. Since India has taken up western culture it is not only men but also women who work and miss their favorite daily soaps. Children choose surfing the net as a pass time rather than television. television has lost its glory.

The missed programs on television can be watched on YouTube or any other channel. YouTube is becoming TV for youth and other audience who can easily access internet and is best of their knowledge. There are plenty of places to watch anime online, both free and for-pay. 

Neon Alley, VIZ Media’s 24/7 anime channel — available on PC, XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3 systems — is now spanning both worlds. Users of Neon Alley can either watch shows live, or get caught up. Neon Alley has introduced the new Catch Up feature for watching on demand. With this new expanded feature, Neon Alley members may select either a “Watch Live” or “Catch Up” option upon logging onto the service. The “Watch Live” option provides fans with the 24/7 linear English-dubbed channel that the network has come to be known for, and with the addition of the Video-On Demand “Catch Up” option, fans now have the flexibility to watch shows at their convenience. The “Catch Up” option also allows viewers to search for content by individual series or by latest additions.

Funimation, for instance, has a large and rapidly-growing video portal which features many of their shows available for free, with commercial interruptions. The same goes for VIZAnime.com, the video portal for VIZ. VIZ also has anime streaming on the web via their VizAnime.com portal site, but the programming lineup on Neon Alley is broader — titles from Aniplex, FUNimation, and the Tai Seng live-action martial-arts library are also available.

The online Anime portal must introduce more new feature so as to increase the accessibility among its target audience.

Data collected from: anime.about.com

Ghibili, It is not the end

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Anime fans were startled to learn that Hayao Miyazaki, one of the founder of Studio Ghibili and one of anime’s most influential creators is retiring entirely from film making after directing his last movie ‘The wind rises’. On September 1, 2013, numerous Japanese television networks, including NHK, reported that Miyazaki was announcing his retirement.

                        Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, animator, manga artist, producer and script writer. He is being serving the anime Industry from 50 years now. He founded Studio Ghibili along with Iso Takahata, a film and animation studio in 1985 based in Tokyo, Japan. The studio is best known for its anime feature film. Miyazaki’s films has invited comparison with the American Animator Walt Disney. Miyazaki started his career in 1960. He first used to work with Toei animation in various roles in the animation industry over a decade. He directed his first feature film Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro which was released in 1979. He continued to produce many feature films besides during a ‘temporary retirement’ in 1997 following Princess Mononoke but was compelled to come back out of retirement to work on Spirited Away.

                  According to me Miyazaki’s retirement doesn’t mean the end of Studio Ghibili as Miyzaki retirement was quite prepared and he guided others directors so that his legacy is continued. After Miyazaki the possible candidate to take his throne is Iso Takahata, co-founder of Studio Ghibili. He directed Grave of Fireflies and whose Kaguya-Hime no Monogatari is also set to be released by Ghibli sometime in 2013.  

                   I feel there is a chance that this may be Miyazaki’s temporary retirement as happened in 1997. He may come back and we may see more of Miyazaki’s direction. There is also a possibility that he may direct short films. He’s more or less said that might still be a possibility. One could see him putting together shorts that are released with the full-length Ghibli productions, same as the shorts of Miyazaki that appear in front of PIXAR’s releases. Miyazaki will almost certainly continue to head Studio Ghibli, with other films by other directors coming out under its banner.

                   At last I would like to conclude by saying It is very sad for the Industry that a renowned animator is leaving but that certainly doesn’t mean Studio Ghibili will end. He inspired other talents and directors and also trained many. There wont be another like him. 

Courtesy: , About.com Guide

Emotional Iconography

What does it mean when an anime or manga character gets a bloody nose, or grows a giant sweat drop next to her face? All these are uniquely Japanese symbols used in anime and manga, intended to communicate a particular emotion.

Embarrassment Blushing is a common way of showing embarrassment or romantic feelings in any culture. In anime and manga, however, various forms of blushes are used  to signify almost every feeling. A slight embarrassment might be indicated by tiny red lines across the cheeks, a more deeply felt embarrassment might provoke a thick red line across the nose and cheeks, and something really embarrassing might cause one’s whole face to go red!

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“Blushing” in blue still carries the connotation of embarrassment; however, this usually indicates embarrassment mixed with anger. It seems to indicate that the person is almost frozen with embarrassment! This is frequently accompanied by evil-looking eyes, and perhaps a sweat drop or an anger vein.

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In other situations, sweat drops might form beside a character’s head. These sweat drops also indicate embarrassment, the severity of which is determined by the size of the sweat drop and, sometimes, the number of sweat drops. This generally indicates a less severe sort of embarrassment than the blue blush and a less romantic type of embarrassment than the red blush.

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When a character gets extremely mad at something, a stylized vein might appear on their forehead or fist. These “anger veins” can be used liberally, though not necessarily realistically.

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A bloody nose doesn’t mean that a character is actually injured – rather, it means that he (the afflicted character is seldom a she) is thinking lustful thoughts and/or looking at a beautiful woman.

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When anime and manga characters cry, they -cry- . One form of crying comes in “tear lines,” where two wavy lines are drawn from each eye to the bottom of the face and filled with white to indicate that the character is crying. A more exaggerated form of crying takes the tear lines off the two-dimensional space of the face and arcs it out into the sky, making it seem as if the character is crying whole waterfalls but extremely emotional moments don’t need waterfalls.

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Tezuka Osamu, the father of anime and manga, drew the eyes of his characters large so that they could express more emotion; to this day, the eyes are the most expressive parts of an anime character. The eyes of someone good and innocent are large and childlike, while someone who is more conniving and sneaky will have smaller eyes. Evil characters have the smallest eyes of all. When an anime character is expressing emotion, the eyes can do several different things to reflect their mood.

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Happy eyes, however, are much more common. The anime character’s eyes turn into two thick half-circles, giving him or her an extremely cute, delighted look. Both male and female characters can have that form of “happy eyes”; peculiar to females are the starry-eyes. Females with otherwise normal eyes will suddenly have their pupils grow to huge sizes, and stars and dozens of little white spots will appear. This signifies extreme happiness, and is also a parody of eyes in some shoujo manga and anime, where the eyes of all the girls are drawn like that, all the time!

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Empathy in characters

Our goal…is to make the audience feel the emotions of the characters, rather than appreciate them intellectually. We want our viewers not merely to enjoy the situation with a murmured, “Isn’t he cu-ute?” but really to feel something of what the character is feeling. If we succeed in this, the audience will now care about the character is feeling. If we succeed in this, the audience will now care about the character and about what happens to him, and that is audience involvement. Without it, a cartoon feature will never hold the attention of it viewers.– Frank Thomas, illusion of Life, Disney Animation

The audience empathizes with emotion. If Pluto gets a sheet of flypaper stuck on his nose, the audience laughs because of how Pluto feels about it, his frustration as he tries to get it off. Flypaper on a nose is nothing more than a interesting fact if the emotion is removed. When Pluto only succeeds in shifting the flypaper fro one body part to another, he becomes increasingly frustrated; the more excited he gets, the harder he tries to free himself from the flypaper, and the funnier the scene becomes. Emotion builds, laughter builds.

Sociologist and medical and psychiatric experts agree that humans universally express six basic emotions: happiness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust and sadness. The expression is the seventh. There is a confusion however about whether facial expression are reflection of inner emotional states or whether it is a social display. Situations and emotions are what create a response, a sense of empathy, in your audience. Empathy is not just something we talk about in acting. it is fundamental to human existence. It is evolutionary. Mother empathizes with their babies which is when they know to pick them up when they cry. A psychologically healthy person is an empathic person. If a wife is standing in the kitchen with her husband when he is cooking dinner and he slices his finger with a knife, the wife will wince along with him because she empathize with his emotional reaction to injury. When King Kong sadly realizes that he can’t get out of the cage, the audience empathizes with his feelings of fear and sadness; When the dwarfs cry around Snow White’s death bed, we empathize with their grief. The audience empathizes with emotion and finding points of empathy is the animator’s key to theatrical success.

Anime Knowledge

Q: What is the very first anime to come out of Japan?

A: The first anime movie was “White Snake Legend”, 10/22/1958

                                  followed by “Hyoutan Suzume”, 02/10/1959

A: The first TV anime was “Manga Calendar”, 06/25/1962

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                         followed by “Tetsuwan Atomu”, 01/01/1962

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A: The first OAV was “Dalos, Dalos Hakaishirei”, 12/12/1983
followed by “Dalos, Remember Partholemew”, 01/28/1984

The difference between anime and American Animation is that: American animation aims at children where as Japanese anime targets all audience from adults to youth and even children.

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Animators Love Mirrors

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Animators love mirrors! They like to make facial expression in them, and act out scenes in front of them. Little Mirrors, Big mirrors, Hand Mirrors, Full- length mirrors animators will usually have one close at hand. Stage Actors by contras, quickly learn to avoid mirrors. It’s a left brain/ right brain problem. As soon as you shift your brain into watching mode, you stop acting.

Mirrors are good way for the animator to check and analyse poses, broad action, and facial expression. Stage actors are taught not to think about results. Facial expression are “results”. If I hit your toe with a hammer you will make a facial expression without thinking about it. If you smell something bad in the room, you will make a face without thinking about which face to make. An animator has a different kind of problem. He will say to himself “My character smells a shit. Now what kind of face would he make?”– at this point he gets out the mirror and wrinkles up his nose and sees how this expression would look on his character. After this he goes on and continues with his animation keeping his audience in mind. A stage actors if he watches himself in a mirror, he will be tempted to re-create that look or expression on stage or in front of the audience.

Mirrors have been a valuable hand tool for many years. The trouble occurs when you try to go   through an entire full body scene, for one thing, you will necessarily have your face turned towards the mirror so you can watch yourself, which may not be appropriate for the scene. It would be better to videotape yourself acting out a scene and then replay the tape for study which may be time consuming. Try using a mirror but keep the limitations in mind.