In this post, I will outline some of the key pipeline elements of creating a 3D animation.
After completing the 3D modelling process, an important step to ensure a high quality, realistic model is texturing it. To tell the program where to place desired textures we use a process called UV Mapping, where U and V refer to the ‘texture-space’ coordinates, just like X, Y and Z refer to the axes of the three dimensions (Blender Texture Manual). These coordinates will indicate the exact position of the texture. The texture is a 2D image file that can be thought of as the skin of the model; it simulates the color, feel and appearance of a particular object, just like objects in real life. The UV coordinates cut up and indicate the exact position of these textures on a model, and it is important to keep in mind various aspects such as the amount of pieces the model surface is broken into, overlapping of these pieces and size (Brinck, no date). The overall process of creating UV maps and assigning materials and shaders is called texturing.
Shaders are a coded instruction which tells the computer how a surface interacts with light and how it should be displayed(Slick, 2014). Shaders are essential to achieve a photorealistic effect and to produce a high level 3D model. Shaders require a set of parameters to be specified, such as specularity, reflectivity and opacity.
Rigging is a complex process in the animation pipeline which prepares a static 3D model for animation. This is done by binding the model to a digital ‘skeleton’ which consists of joints and bones which act as handles used to position the model into the desired pose(Slick, 2014).
After rigging is complete, the model is ready for animation. There are different types of animations including short films, skirts and special effects (theartcareerproject, 2011). In a large scale animated movie, a team of specialised animators are assigned to work on different aspects of the animation, so there would be different people working on the face, the body and the background.
fromgray (2012) Base 15: UV mapping. Available at: https://fromgray.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/base-15-uv-mapping/ (Accessed: 28 January 2016).
Behance (no date) Available at: https://www.behance.net/gallery/18460113/Build-a-solid-foundation-with-3d-max (Accessed: 28 January 2016).
ExplainToon (2015) ‘Animación, más que una ilustración en movimiento’: Rigging. Available at: https://explaintoonblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/la-animacion-es-mas-que-ilustraciones-en-movimiento-rigging/ (Accessed: 28 January 2016).
Imgur (no date) Toothless gifs. Available at: http://imgur.com/gallery/32za5 (Accessed: 28 January 2016).
Blender Texture Manual (no date) Doc: 2.4/manual/textures/mapping/UV – BlenderWiki. Available at: http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.4/Manual/Textures/Mapping/UV (Accessed: 28 January 2016).
Brinck, W. (no date) UVW-Mapping in 3DS max. Available at: http://waylon-art.com/uvw_tutorial/uvwtut_02.html (Accessed: 28 January 2016).
Slick, J. (2014) Anatomy of a 3D model Vertices, edges, Polygons, maps, and Shaders. Available at: http://3d.about.com/od/3d-101-The-Basics/a/Anatomy-Of-A-3d-Model.htm (Accessed: 28 January 2016).
Slick, J. (2014) What is rigging? Preparing a 3D model for animation. Available at: http://3d.about.com/od/Creating-3D-The-CG-Pipeline/a/What-Is-Rigging.htm (Accessed: 28 January 2016).
theartcareerproject (2011) 3D animation careers | salary | information | education. Available at: http://www.theartcareerproject.com/get-movin-with-a-career-in-3d-animation/215/ (Accessed: 28 January 2016).