Tag Archive: Digital Media


With the availability of 3D rendering options and the complexity of traditional 2D cel animation, it is not surprising that a lot of new cartoons’, such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Iron Man: Armoured Adventures etc… are being made in 3D as opposed to 2D.  However 2D animation has a certain charm over pure 3D, such as the use of squash and stretch techniques and the general stylised look.

However there are less and less pure 2D animations nowadays.  Where complex elements are needed, that would take too long to draw by hand, frame by frame, a composite is used.  The one of the earliest examples (1992)  to composite 3D CGI to create the carpet ride through the Cave of Wonders, the intricately patterned carpet itself, and the tiger head cave. (Disney Archives)

3D has become more of an influential part in animations since then, often trying to imitate the imperfections of hand drawn imagery.  Such as Warner Bros 1999 adaptation of The Iron Giant.  To achieve an imperfect look of the lines, a programme was created to generate imperfections.

Dreamworks Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron used 3D predominantly for landscapes and special FX, including the opening shots of the Grand Canyon.

The Futurama series also combines 2D and 3D graphics using a software called PowerAnimator.  The style of Matt Groening creates challenges for rendering in 3D due to the off-perspective stylised nature.  The characters are rarely if ever seen from front view, so to create fully 3 dimensional characters would just not maintain the look of the series

To say that pure 2D animation does not have a place in the future of animation would be sad, although sometimes the combination of the two can look  slightly awkward it is the inevitable future to sustain a level of complexity expected by a modern audience.  With hundreds of TV channels and internet shows, media needs to be created quickly, which is something that traditional 2D animation would have a hard time doing, 3D animation is simply quicker and more easily edited; a single model can be reused instead of every frame being drawn one by one, sets, props and characters can be viewed from any angle, textures easily changed and different rendering styles can apply a whole new treatment and mood to the composition; sending out a whole different message extremely easily.

References

http://www.myholler.com/155online/lectures/history.pdf

http://joshuamosley.com/UPenn/courses/Ani/AnimationHistory.html

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/cgi/sony-to-produce-cg-3d-popeye-feature.html

http://disney.go.com/vault/archives/movies/aladdin/aladdin.html

http://animatedtv.about.com/od/thesimpsonsfaq/a/celanimation.htm

http://www.toywebb.net/category239_1.htm

http://www.gotfuturama.com/Information/Articles/3dani.dhtml

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Creativity in Digital Media is one of the most important aspects in the success of a design, composition, animation, game etc… There is so much material available through the Internet, TV and Advertising; that it has become commonplace.  According to Brand Republic (Mar 17 2010, 02:08 PM by Danny Morris) advances in CGI have dramatically reduced the cost of advertising, which is especially advantageous in the current economic climate.  This has also been fuelled by advances in technology such as 3D TV and Films.

There are many aspects of digital design such as Motion Graphics; Special effects; programming; typography that all contribute to the overall experience, and achieving high-end results has become far more accessable over recent years.  For example, software such as After Effects, Photoshop, 3DS Max, AutoCAD etc have made it possible for the average user such as myself to produce work of a decent standard.

There is no ceiling on the work we could do, take James Cameron’s Avatar for instance, we’re always striving to reach beyond realism, create effects to achieve things that can’t be done in reality in a completely believable way.  The only ceiling there is, is the one we put up for ourselves.  There is no limit on creativity, only the boundaries we ourselves put in place.  The ultimate goal is to create a reality beyond realism

In the following video for The Discovery Network, James Cameron discusses the effect of character attraction to an audience with the extent that character looks like a humanoid.

Even though Avatar was a visually amazing; heralding the coming of serious 3D visuals and becoming the highest grossing film of all time at $2 million (Worst Previews Jan 26th 2010), the storyline was cited questionable and clichéd by some. (Davie Cook, Examiner.com 29th Dec 2009).

If this feature had not spent 14 years in the making it would have not been such a success, it had to allow for technology to catch up before the creative aspects could be achieved.

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010); although receiving a rating of  52% compared to Avatar’s 89%; was in my opinion a far more creative film.  Alice achieved both aspects of creative narrative and amazing visuals, you can’t get a better example of creativity than the works of Lewis Carroll.  The use of nonsense words, dragging you into this make-believe, impossible world and then making it real through the special effects.

It’s the little details in any piece of media that make it special, it’s the things that someone has thought about, got involved with and has been enthusiastic about.  I loved the way that the people who surround the Red Queen use false ears, noses etc…to make themselves appear like the Queen.  That little detail doesn’t necessarily add to the story, but it adds a certain embroidery to the atmosphere of Underland, as it is actually known.  (The reference to Wonderland is made when The Hatter says to Alice that she got the name wrong, calling it Wonderland during her first visit as a child)

Certain references to Lewis Carroll’s other works are made throughout the film; Depp recites part of the Jabberwocky poem, from what was actually Wonderland’s sequel, ‘Through the Looking Glass,’ (1872)  in a Scottish accent, as it was written; in fact, most of what we know from previous adaptations are in fact a mixture of events and misconceptions from both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the looking Glass.  Tweedledum and Tweedledee are often depicted as characters in the original story, however only appear in the sequel.  This version also includes characters and events from both works, but tell more of a separate series of events, which is far more rewarding than another retelling of the original story we all know.

There’s not much justice I can do for all of the little details that have filtered through from the imagination of Lewis Carroll and then the brilliance of Tim Burton, as it is such a layered story, hundreds of references to social factors and pieces of trivia, it is definitely a film that you can analyse.

Usually when watching 3D films, I end up analysing the creative process,  thinking  about render settings, lighting and materials, poly counts etc… You know when you’re a 3D student when you’re admiring the reflections in a material…  Alice was no different, but I was also admiring the creativity at the same time; it was more about the small details like actor interaction with CGI characters, composition, and the level of detail that makes the characters so believable in the environment. And that’s what I love about the media industry.

References

http://media-creativity.com/

http://community.brandrepublic.com/blogs/commentcentral/archive/2010/03/17/cgi-s-impact-on-advertising-and-marketing-campaigns.aspx

http://www.worstpreviews.com/headline.php?id=16549

http://www.examiner.com/x-29916-Davidson-County-Headlines-Examiner~y2009m12d29-Avatar-movie-review-2009-Amazing-art-and-questionable-story-line-conflicting-Avatar-reviews

http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/