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Understanding Computer Animation

Animation has come a long way due to the advent of computer technologies. Traditional animations were hand drawings, but today, we have computer technology that helps create both 2D animations and 3D animations. Hand drawn animation required a great deal of efforts, and not to forget time and labor; however, due to the advent of computers, animation can be created by a single individual (animator), with a no big hassle.

These days, computer generated 2D animations can be found everywhere ranging from cartoons on TV to simple animated graphics that we see every day on the internet space. It can take a form of commercials, infomercials, e-cards, and so on. Although, whatever may be the form, it all starts from a storyboard, which simply is a basic script in a graphical format, much like a comic book strips. Sometimes, to complement a storyboard, a rough audio track is created just to give animators something to sync with their sketches. 2D animation entirely depends on “vector graphics,” meaning all the drawings created for are based on mathematical equations, unlike “raster graphic” that is purely based on a grid of pixels.

Somewhat similar to 2D, 3D animation is a process of creating moving pictures in a digital three-dimensional environment. 3D is something that automatically pops up in mind of people when they are speaking about computer animation. Although, what people do not realize is that animation industries, especially those dealing in motion pictures, only share a small portion of the 3D market.

Conversely speaking, there is only a thin line between traditional and computer generated animation. The only differences between both them are the tools and efforts used in creating animated graphics, and the costs associated with the same. Traditional animations that were capable to give the perception of 3D were more like the clay animations, which were usually created using stop motion technique. It was not until the use of computers, when the term 3D gained popularity.

Entertainment industry is largely accountable for the advancement of 3D animation although, they only make a fraction of the market that is using 3D. Animation these days, both traditional and computer generated are largely used for marketing and teaching purposes since it makes information simple, attractive, and easy to understand.