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PRODUCTION STEPS FOR 3D COMPUTER ANIMATED FILMS
For a 3D computer-animated figure, a reference must be created, i.e. a drawing that can then be digitally created as a 3D model. In order to define and understand every aspect and every angle, the figure is drawn from the front, side, from the back and possibly also from above or below. This information is needed to create a corresponding 3D figure in the computer. For a more comprehensive design, a model made of clay or plasticize may also be suitable. The model should be three-dimensional and stable so you can pick it up and look at it from all angles. Meanwhile, models can also be transferred directly to the computer with 3D scanners. Mostly, however, retouching of the scanned digital model is still necessary. The main difference between 2D and 3D animation is that you have to work with all sorts of angles in 3D animation. When creating a 3D figure, the 3D modeler must, therefore, regularly check whether the figure is plausible, from all points of view.
A finished model is initially a carefully crafted hollow framework that cannot yet move. To animate the model, it must be built accordingly. For this purpose, an articulated skeleton (rig) is placed within the model. The skeleton must consider all joint movements, such as those of the shoulders, elbows, hips, or knees. Rigging, therefore, determines how the individual parts of the polygon mesh can move. If the surface of a model is deformed by a certain joint movement, the polygon arrangement must be revised accordingly.
Once the models have been created, the animation can begin. This requires four steps: blocking out, creating the key poses, inserting the in-between and fine-tuning.
Blocking Out inserts the static figure into all environments needed during the move. For example, if the character is to move forward, the still figure must be positioned in all key positions needed in the scene. Once the figure is positioned, the key poses can be added. First, set the key points of the forward figure and then position the arms and legs. In the 3D animation movements are recorded in the course of the film from different camera angles. Therefore, the key poses should always be considered from different perspectives.