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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Making Cartoons - From Concept to Creation

Once the general idea is established, and the details are being developed via scripts and screenplays, the concept art stage can come into play. Here, each character and environment is sketched out, sometimes tens of hundreds of times, until the designs of the cartoon fit exactly with the story. Components like turnaround sheets are created, showing the character from every angle, so the models can be made more quickly. Drawing out the models before making them ensures that the entire design has been thoroughly considered, so there are no unpleasant surprises down the road.

At this point of 3D Animation, a storyboard is created, combining the text in the script with sketches detailing the appearance of each scene and key action. Usually, this will also be followed by an animatic, which places the storyboard images into a timed video.

Now, the key frames are created. Every important scene, action, and pose is created, without any in-between animation, to see if the timing was planned correctly, and the 3D space is being used properly. At this stage, it is much easier to go back and change a pose or action, since the motions in-between haven't been fine-tuned.

Once the key frames have been established, the actual animation process can begin, going through all of the in-between frames, and seeing how the program interpreted the movements. While 3D animation programs have come a long way, there is still a lot of tweaking necessary to make the motions seem natural. Once all of these frames start getting attention paid to them, though, it becomes a lot more time consuming to go back and change a pose or action, so it is very important to spot any mistakes as early on as possible.

While it can be easy to get caught up in creating moving characters, it is important to consider all of the atmospheric elements of a cartoon design as well. Backgrounds and stationary objects all contribute to the general feeling of a piece, no matter how simplistic the design may be.

Another important consideration is the use of sound. If the cartoon is being set to music, then that will usually happen once the principal animation is complete, so the song can be timed out to it properly. But if there is any dialogue, it should be recorded before the animation stage is finished, so the characters movements and mouths can be matched up to the words. Sound effects and general noises can go either way, depending on how they are being used.

Once all of the pieces have been compiled, the 3D Animation can be exported and rendered. The piece finally comes together into a playable video, and the cartoon design transitions from a concept to a full reality. Overall, the several months, even years, of work can amount to a half an hour film, but the realization of the concept is truly worth it. Seeing an idea become something so full of life and emotion is a reward in itself.

Zco Corporation is an App Development Company offering services for 3D Animation and 3D Modeling.

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