How 3D/Animation Has Changed My Life

The past four weeks have seemed like a whirlwind of information and learning with regards to my most recent class, 3D graphics/animation.

There is truthfully so much that concerns the 3D/animation world and only so much can be covered during a four week span.  However, this class and everything that I have learned has without a doubt left an impact on me!

Even though my animations are simple animations, I have learned how much work really goes into animating figures.

I have always been a huge fan of animated films and now I can begin to understand just how much all the teams of illustrators put into the films that we enjoy.

Recently, my wife and I watched the 2013 Pixar film; Monsters University.  We are like children in the way that we love watching animated films as often as we can!  When I was watching this movie most recently however, it was like my eyes were opened for the very first time.  Even from the very first scene with the scene being set with a row of houses surrounded by trees, and the morning sunlight shining brilliantly through those trees; I was able to see a glimpse of what those animators went through even to make just those few first seconds of the movie!

Animation takes so much patience and so much manpower.  I am even more impressed with everything that is able to be accomplished with todays animated films.  It really isn’t a surprise at all that these movies take years to complete!  All the folks involved in the animation process are superheroes in my book, and I just can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

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Animation Studios + 3D Printing

When I discovered 3D printing, my mind was pretty much blown (which I think it is safe to say is the reaction that most people have when they discover the magic behind 3D printing).

An industry that has benefited from the use of 3D printers is the movie industry.  I recently read an article that discussed the animation studio LAIKA that relies on using the software and 3D printing hardware to make its films.  With recent improvements on the technology that the [really good] 3D printers use, LAIKA has the ability to print thousands of precise colors and subtle gradients in plastic, which achieves color accuracy that has not been accomplished with 3D printing before now.

The way in which LAIKA most utilizes the 3D printer for their films is pretty simple in concept:  faces.  LAIKA’s designers produce the puppets’ (they produce stop-motion animated films) faces, and they the 3D printer is used to print literally tens of thousands of slightly different facial expressions for each character that is utilized during filming.

LAIKA actually pioneered this specific technique on their first film Coraline and they have continued to continually change things up with each film that they have produced.

3D technology is amazing and is constantly changing, and it has produced incredible applications to so many industries including film.  I cannot wait to see where this technology goes in just the next few years!

Real Graphic Design Solutions: Adobe Creative Cloud at Work in Pete’s Dragon

I love movies.  Plain and simple.  Something I am also a big fan of are smart reinventions of movies that I loved from my childhood.

I was beyond thrilled when I found out that Disney was remaking Pete’s Dragon!  I loved this movie when I was a kid (even though this movie was technically a little before my time) and it just brings back great memories from growing up.

What makes me most excited about this remake is knowing how much technology has changed since the ’70’s.  What is even cooler is that Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps had quite a bit to do with the process of creating the giant green star of the movie, Elliott.  In a recent interview with Adobe, one of the supervisors involved in the creative process told how the team used Photoshop CC and After Effects CC a lot during the visualization of Elliott.

Since one of the fun aspects of Elliott is his disappearing trick, the team had to get creative   with finding ways to make him disappear (and reappear!)  They were able to use Photoshop render layers to create multiple looks, and then they were able to finalize them in After Effects.  Illustrator was then used to create visual diagrams that the team actually used while on set.  These diagrams main purpose was to show where the camera was in relation to the actors, including how high it is and where it moved.  All this came together to make sure that the vision the creative team had makes sense and lines up with what the actors are able to re-create in real life.

This, I’m sure is only scratching the surface on how the creative team for Pete’s Dragon was able to use some of the Creative Cloud apps to their advantage.  Each day I learn more and more about how the apps are able to be used other than their obvious ways for design.  I love reading about these real-life applications of graphic design!