Saturday, July 12, 2008

3D Digital Animation

3D Digital Animation raises the bar for drawing and design skills. The level of detail and sophistication expected in 3D animation is much higher than much traditional illustration and cell animation.

Some skills for students who are interested in 3D animation or game design to develop include character design, background design, prop and object design, lighting design, perspective drawing and atmospheric design. These are skills that can be developed using conventional drawing tools with students adding the necessary software knowledge as they can.

Click on the heading above to see a 4 minute animation done by Michael Sormann ( as part of his Theme Planet project. Observe the character design, story development, camera movement, 3 dimensionality, linear and atmospheric perspective, background design, object design, 3D modeling, and other skills he demonstrates in this short film.

Students can be challenged to create an animated film from 1-3 minutes long. Working in groups or as a whole class makes this more feasible. Different teams can work on backgrounds, characters, object design, sound effects, music, animation, lighting effects, etc. This is one time when larger class sizes are a benefit. Expect that a great deal of the work needs to be done outside of class.

Before attempting an actual animation project there is a great deal of learning to do in terms of regular drawing and storytelling skills. You don't want to spend the many hours necessary to create an animated film if the story and characters aren't well developed first.

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