Tag Archive: rendering

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.










Digital 3D Design by Simon Danaher covers a complete range of topics and aspects of 3D, covering mostly the basics and intermediate levels of working with 3D.  The book covers the history of 3D; 3D graphics in the working world; the links between 2D and 3D design; core concepts and theory; recommended tool set; and some advanced tips and tricks, and an analysis of existing works such as a storm scene (Chapter 6 p162-163) and compositing 2D and 3D imagery (Chapter 6 p166-167).  The book also previews works such as Russian artist, Pavel Fedorchuk’s Golden Grifon [sic]

The book starts by giving an overview of the history of 3D animation, including the importance of motion blur in the first successful animated movies. One of the first movies to use 3D graphics was Disney’s Tron (Directed by Steven Lisberger, 1982), although the movie was a ‘flop despite huge investment’ (Digital 3D design Chapter 1, p12).  Danaher goes on to say that the movie was held back by its highly stylised treatment due to poor 3D technology at the time.  What would have helped the film was motion blur, it was only in 1993 that Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park featured fully photorealistic CG dinosaurs, complete with motion blur, that 3D was a fully viable option.

Although Tron was not a visual success, it is still a major landmark in the development of animated computer graphics, originally inspired by the also iconic Pong game, a sequel of Tron is set to return to screens in  stereo 3D during 2010.

The book also explores the use of 3D graphics in games and for use in broadcast, then goes on to suggest some future advances in the field such as overhauled workflow in Modo and the possibility of virtual reality, and real-time photorealistic rendering (Chapter 1, p22).

The book also briefly explains how stereoscopic 3D, such as what we are seeing in current films and selected TV programmes today, works.  However a more in-depth explanation of how it works and history can be found in issue 14 of 3D Artist, p36-41. This article details how the technology works currently, and looks into the possibility of 3D TV without the need for glasses.  This is a very exciting advancement for the 3D artist and all eyes will be on how this technology develops.


Digital 3D Design by Simon Danaher

Chapter 1 page 12, 22

Chapter 6 pages 162 – 163, 166 – 167



3D Artist issue 14, “Get Set for Stereo” pages 36-41