Sunday, 3 February 2008

Pioneers of computer animation.

Computer animation is one of my favorite fields in animation. It offers more realistic images and speeds up production. I was surprised to find that the earliest computer animations were created in the 60s I thought that it was a more modern discovery but then i am only really familiar with 3D design computer animation that is seen in feature films by Pixar and Dreamworks.
I had never seen any of the early 60s abstract forms of animation. They explore the movement of colour, shapes and text and express the beatnik movement and psychedelic culture of the 60s. More importantly these animation were a break through in computer development and animation. Scientists and mathematicians would be the first to practice computer animation because they new how the computing programing worked.
In the 70s people began experimenting with story-lines and characters. Hunger la Fain (1971) is an early computer animated film by John Whitney. It includes characters that morph into different shapes and facial and body movements. The standard of animation doesn't come close to the 3d characters we see today but the short film has an artistic presents and unique style. The timing of movements in the film isn't correct in most places but because of its style it doesn't really matter. In modern day pieces of animation the movement of the characters and props is perfect.
In the 80s computer animation developed into 3d. Technology companies used this animation to advertise their modern products. The 1981 animation 'Glider' was use for a panasonic advert. this animation reminded me of the Dire straits music video for Money for nothing. The shapes and figures are very 'square' and the movement is slow. Macintosh advertised their latest computer using Adam Power's 'Pencil Test' (1988) animation short produced on the Mac computer. The pencil icon is characterized so emotion is reflected in its movements.
Pixar are now one of the most recognized 3d animation studio after the success of feature length films such as Toy Story and Monster Inc. The Toy Story DVD includes some of Pixars earlier works. The 1987 film (Reds Dream) features a unicycle dreaming of being in the circus. The unicycle has its own personality and character that is reflected through its movements. One of my favourite Pixar animations is the 1989 film Knick Knack the snowman. It features multiple characters and has a hilarious story-line. It was actually rereleased with Finding Nemo but had been altered so that the animation matched the quality of Finding Nemo.
I definitely want to explore the world of 3D animation more and hopefully concentrate on producing pieces of 3D work. Although the work takes patients an time i believe that the satisfaction of a complete piece is greater than in any other style of animation.

click the link to watch Knick Knack

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