Animator

An animator is an artist who creates multiple images, known as frames, which give an illusion of movement called animation when displayed in rapid sequence. Animators can work in a variety of fields including film, television, and video games. Animation is closely related to filmmaking and like filmmaking is extremely labor-intensive, which means that most significant works require the collaboration of several animators. The methods of creating the images or frames for an animation piece depend on the animators' artistic styles and their field.

Other artists who contribute to animated cartoons, but who are not animators, include layout artists (who design the backgrounds, lighting, and camera angles), storyboard artists (who draw panels of the action from the script), and background artists (who paint the "scenery"). Animated films share some film crew positions with regular live action films, such as director, producer, sound engineer, and editor, but differ radically in that for most of the history of animation, they did not need most of the crew positions seen on a physical set.

In hand-drawn Japanese animation productions, such as in Hayao Miyazaki's films, the key animator handles both layout and key animation. Some animators in Japan such as Mitsuo Iso take full responsibility for their scenes, making them become more than just the key animator.

Animator
Norman McLaren drawing on film - 1944
Occupation
Occupation type
Art
Activity sectors
Film, television, internet, mass media, video games
Description
CompetenciesDrawing, fine arts, acting, computer software
Fields of
employment
Animation

Specialized fields

Animators often specialize. One important distinction is between character animators (artists who specialize in character movement, dialogue, acting, etc.) and special effects animators (who animate anything that is not a character; most commonly vehicles, machinery, and natural phenomena such as rain, snow, and water).

Inbetweeners and cleanup artists

In large-scale productions by major studios, each animator usually has one or more assistants, "inbetweeners" and "clean-up artists", who make drawings between the "key poses" drawn by the animator, and also re-draw any sketches that are too roughly made to be used as such. Usually, a young artist seeking to break into animation is hired for the first time in one of these categories, and can later advance to the rank of full animator (usually after working on several productions).

Methods

Historically, the creation of animation was a long and arduous process. Each frame of a given scene was hand-drawn, then transposed onto celluloid, where it would be traced and painted. These finished "cels" were then placed together in sequence over painted backgrounds and filmed, one frame at a time.[1]

Animation methods have become far more varied in recent years. Today's cartoons could be created using any number of methods, mostly using computers to make the animation process cheaper and faster. These more efficient animation procedures have made the animator's job less tedious and more creative.

Audiences generally find animation to be much more interesting with sound. Voice actors and musicians, among other talent, may contribute vocal or music tracks. Some early animated films asked the vocal and music talent to synchronize their recordings to already-extant animation (and this is still the case when films are dubbed for international audiences). For the majority of animated films today, the soundtrack is recorded first in the language of the film's primary target market and the animators are required to synchronize their work to the soundtrack.

Evolution of Animator's roles

Animation is the art of creating moving images. This line of work is all about creating a series of individual ‘frames’, which make images come to life when they are flicked through in rapid succession.Previously, animation was done manually, with animators drawing multiple frames to depict a single action, i.e. the kind of animation that you witnessed during a typical scene from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Tom and Jerry. Today, computer-generated imagery (CGI) has mostly replaced manual animation, but a significant amount of artistic talent is still required.

Animators are employed in various segments of the entertainment industry,including film, television and video games.

As a result of the ongoing transition from traditional 2D to 3D computer animation, the animator's traditional task of redrawing and repainting the same character 24 times a second (for each second of finished animation) has now been superseded by the modern task of developing dozens (or hundreds) of movements of different parts of a character in a virtual scene.

Because of the transition to computer animation, many additional support positions have become essential, with the result that the animator has become but one component of a very long and highly specialized production pipeline. Nowadays, visual development artists will design a character as a 2D drawing or painting, then hand it off to modelers who build the character as a collection of digital polygons. Texture artists "paint" the character with colorful or complex textures, and technical directors set up rigging so that the character can be easily moved and posed. For each scene, layout artists set up virtual cameras and rough blocking. Finally, when a character's bugs have been worked out and its scenes have been blocked, it is handed off to an animator (that is, a person with that actual job title) who can start developing the exact movements of the character's virtual limbs, muscles, and facial expressions in each specific scene.

At that point, the role of the modern computer animator overlaps in some respects with that of his or her predecessors in traditional animation: namely, trying to create scenes already storyboarded in rough form by a team of story artists, and synchronizing lip or mouth movements to dialogue already prepared by a screenwriter and recorded by vocal talent. Despite those constraints, the animator is still capable of exercising significant artistic skill and discretion in developing the character's movements to accomplish the objective of each scene. There is an obvious analogy here between the art of animation and the art of acting, in that actors also must do the best they can with the lines they are given; it is often encapsulated by the common industry saying that animators are "actors with pencils".[2] More recently, Chris Buck has remarked that animators have become "actors with mice."[3] Some studios bring in acting coaches on feature films to help animators work through such issues. Once each scene is complete and has been perfected through the "sweat box" feedback process, the resulting data can be dispatched to a render farm, where computers handle the tedious task of actually rendering all the frames. Each finished film clip is then checked for quality and rushed to a film editor, who assembles the clips together to create the film.

While early computer animation was heavily criticized for rendering human characters that looked plastic or even worse, eerie (see uncanny valley), contemporary software can now render strikingly realistic clothing, hair, and skin. The solid shading of traditional animation has been replaced by very sophisticated virtual lighting in computer animation, and computer animation can take advantage of many camera techniques used in live-action filmmaking (i.e., simulating real-world "camera shake" through motion capture of a cameraman's movements). As a result, some studios now hire nearly as many lighting artists as animators for animated films, while costume designers, hairstylists, and cinematographers have occasionally been called upon to consult on newer projects.

See also

References

  1. ^ "How A Cartoon is Made" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2007-01-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Gaut, Berys (2010). A Philosophy of Cinematic Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 138–139. ISBN 9780521822442.
  3. ^ Virtue, Robert (29 April 2015). "Acclaimed Disney director shares his creative vision for Newcastle". 1233 ABC Newcastle. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 May 2015.

External links

Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate (formerly Adobe Flash Professional, Macromedia Flash, and FutureSplash Animator) is a multimedia authoring and computer animation program developed by Adobe Systems.Animate is used to design vector graphics and animation for television programs, online video, websites, web applications, rich internet applications, and video games. The program also offers support for raster graphics, rich text, audio and video embedding, and ActionScript scripting. Animations may be published for HTML5, WebGL, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) animation and spritesheets, and legacy Flash Player (SWF) and Adobe AIR formats.It was first released in 1996 as FutureSplash Animator, and then renamed Macromedia Flash upon its acquisition by Macromedia. It was created to serve as the main authoring environment for the Adobe Flash platform, vector-based software for creating animated and interactive content. It was renamed Adobe Animate in 2016 to better reflect its market position then, since over a third of all content created in Animate uses HTML5.

Animation director

An animation director is the director in charge of all aspects of the animation process during the production of an animated film or an animated segment for a live action film or television.

Arthur Davis (animator)

Arthur "Art" Davis (June 14, 1905 – May 9, 2000) was an American animator and a director for Warner Brothers' Termite Terrace cartoon studio.

Brad Bird

Phillip Bradley Bird (born September 24, 1957) is an American director, screenwriter, animator, producer and voice actor. He is best known for his animated feature films, The Iron Giant (1999), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), and Incredibles 2 (2018). His live-action films are Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), and Tomorrowland (2015).

Bird developed a love for the art of animation at an early age and was mentored by Milt Kahl, one of Disney's reputed Nine Old Men. He was part of one of the earliest graduating classes of the California Institute of the Arts alongside John Lasseter and Tim Burton. Afterward, Bird worked as an animator for Disney in The Fox and the Hound (1981) and The Black Cauldron (1985) and wrote the screenplay for Batteries Not Included (1987).

Bird served as a creative consultant on The Simpsons during its first eight seasons, where he helped develop the show's animation style.

Bird directed his first animated feature film, The Iron Giant in 1999. Although it fared poorly at the box office, it came to be regarded as a modern animated classic. He rejoined John Lasseter at Pixar in 2000, where he developed his second animated film, The Incredibles (2004). He directed his third film, Ratatouille in 2007. Both films place among Pixar's highest-grossing features and gave Bird two Academy Award for Best Animated Feature wins and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay nominations. In 2011, Bird directed his first live-action film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which was a critical and commercial success. His second live-action film, Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney, was released in May 2015, to some acclaim but less commercial success. In 2018, Incredibles 2 was released, which Bird wrote and directed. Like its predecessor, the film was a critical and box office success.

Character animation

Character animation is a specialized area of the animation process, which involves bringing animated characters to life. The role of a Character Animator is analogous to that of a film or stage actor, and character animators are often said to be "actors with a pencil" (or a mouse). Character animators breathe life in their characters, creating the illusion of thought, emotion and personality. Character animation is often distinguished from creature animation, which involves bringing photo-realistic animals and creatures to life.

Computer animation

Computer animation is the process used for digitally generating animated images. The more general term computer-generated imagery (CGI) encompasses both static scenes and dynamic images, while computer animation only refers to the moving images. Modern computer animation usually uses 3D computer graphics, although 2D computer graphics are still used for stylistic, low bandwidth, and faster real-time renderings. Sometimes, the target of the animation is the computer itself, but sometimes film as well.

Computer animation is essentially a digital successor to the stop motion techniques using 3D models, and traditional animation techniques using frame-by-frame animation of 2D illustrations. Computer-generated animations are more controllable than other more physically based processes, constructing miniatures for effects shots or hiring extras for crowd scenes, and because it allows the creation of images that would not be feasible using any other technology. It can also allow a single graphic artist to produce such content without the use of actors, expensive set pieces, or props. To create the illusion of movement, an image is displayed on the computer monitor and repeatedly replaced by a new image that is similar to it, but advanced slightly in time (usually at a rate of 24, 25 or 30 frames/second). This technique is identical to how the illusion of movement is achieved with television and motion pictures.

For 3D animations, objects (models) are built on the computer monitor (modeled) and 3D figures are rigged with a virtual skeleton. For 2D figure animations, separate objects (illustrations) and separate transparent layers are used with or without that virtual skeleton. Then the limbs, eyes, mouth, clothes, etc. of the figure are moved by the animator on key frames. The differences in appearance between key frames are automatically calculated by the computer in a process known as tweening or morphing. Finally, the animation is rendered.For 3D animations, all frames must be rendered after the modeling is complete. For 2D vector animations, the rendering process is the key frame illustration process, while tweened frames are rendered as needed. For pre-recorded presentations, the rendered frames are transferred to a different format or medium, like digital video. The frames may also be rendered in real time as they are presented to the end-user audience. Low bandwidth animations transmitted via the internet (e.g. Adobe Flash, X3D) often use software on the end-users computer to render in real time as an alternative to streaming or pre-loaded high bandwidth animations.

David Silverman (animator)

David Silverman (born March 15, 1957) is an American animator best known for directing numerous episodes of the animated TV series The Simpsons, as well as The Simpsons Movie. Silverman was involved with the series from the very beginning, animating all of the original short Simpsons cartoons that aired on The Tracey Ullman Show. He went on to serve as director of animation for several years. He also did the animation for the 2016 film, The Edge of Seventeen, which was produced by Gracie Films.

Eric Larson

Eric Cleon Larson (September 3, 1905 – October 25, 1988) was an American animator for the Walt Disney Studios starting in 1933, and was one of the "Disney's Nine Old Men".

Herbert West

Herbert West is a fictional character created by H. P. Lovecraft for his short story "Herbert West—Reanimator", first published in 1922. There have been several film adaptations of the story including Herbert West as played by Jeffrey Combs in the Re-Animator (film series) which include the 1985 Re-Animator film and its two sequels, Bride of Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator.

Herbert West is the inventor of a special solution that when injected into a main artery of a recently deceased person causes the body's mechanical, living functions to return. However, most subjects that have undergone the "re-animation" process have turned violent and, after failed attempts to return to their own graves, have terrorized the communities into which they were reanimated. In Lovecraft's tale, Herbert West was ostracized by his fellow medical students because he believed he could overcome death and had only one friend: the unnamed narrator of the story.

Japan Animator Expo

Japan Animator Expo or Japan Anima(tor)'s Exhibition (日本アニメ(ーター)見本市, Nihon Animētā Mihon'ichi) is a weekly series of original net animations released as part of a collaboration between Hideaki Anno's Studio Khara and Dwango, consisting of various anime shorts produced by many directors. The project began release from November 7, 2014 and is streamed worldwide on Niconico.

As of December 2018, the website and all materials related to it have been temporarily closed off to the public. They make mention of reuploading this content at a later date under a new domain.

Ken Harris

Karyl Ross "Ken" Harris (July 31, 1898 – March 24, 1982) was an American animator best known for his work at Warner Bros. Cartoons under the supervision of director Chuck Jones.

Marc Davis (animator)

Marc Fraser Davis (March 30, 1913 – January 12, 2000) was a prominent American artist and animator for Walt Disney Studios. He was one of Disney's Nine Old Men, the famed core animators of Disney animated films, and was revered for his knowledge and understanding of visual aesthetics. After his work on One Hundred and One Dalmatians he permanently retired from animation.Walt Disney once said of Davis, "Marc can do story, he can do character, he can animate, he can design shows for me. All I have to do is tell him what I want and it's there! He's my Renaissance man."

Neil Affleck

Neil Affleck (born 1953) is a Canadian animator, director, and former actor. He has worked as an animator on The Simpsons and Family Guy, and as an actor appeared in Scanners and then a leading role in the 1981 film My Bloody Valentine. He also directed cartoons such as Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends, Mike the Knight, and the 2009 Doki special. He animated six episodes of Rocko's Modern Life, five episodes of The Critic and one episode of Pearlie, The Legend of Prince Valiant, and Wayside. Affleck won the Norman McLaren award for his animated film Hands.

Pivot Animator

Pivot Animator (formerly Pivot Stickfigure Animator and usually shortened to Pivot) is a freeware application that allows users to create stick-figure and sprite animations, and save them in the animated GIF format for use on web pages and the AVI format (in Pivot Animator 3 and later).Pivot provides a simple, easy to use interface with a few features. It uses fixed length 'sticks' to ensure size consistency during animation.

Re-Animator

Re-Animator (also known as H. P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator) is a 1985 American horror comedy film loosely based on the 1922 H. P. Lovecraft serial novelette Herbert West–Reanimator. Directed by Stuart Gordon and produced by Brian Yuzna, the film stars Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West, a medical student who has invented a reagent which can re-animate deceased bodies. He and his classmate Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) begin to test the serum on dead human bodies, and conflict with Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale), who is infatuated with Cain's fiancée (Barbara Crampton) and wants to claim the invention as his own.

Originally devised by Gordon as a theatrical stage production and later a half-hour television pilot, the television script was revised to become a feature film. Filmed in Hollywood on an estimated budget of $900,000, the film originally received an X rating, and was later edited to obtain an R rating for video rental stores. It is the first film in the Re-Animator film series, having been followed by Bride of Re-Animator in 1990 and Beyond Re-Animator in 2003. Released to mostly positive reviews, Re-Animator has since been considered a cult film.

Richard Williams (animator)

Richard Edmund Williams (born March 19, 1933) is a Canadian–British animator, voice actor, and writer, best known for serving as animation director on Disney/Amblin's Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and for his unfinished feature film The Thief and the Cobbler (1993). He was also a film title sequence designer and animator; his most famous works in this field included the title sequences to What's New Pussycat? (1965) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) and title and linking sequences in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968). He also animated the eponymous cartoon feline for two of the later Pink Panther films.

Special effect

Special effects (often abbreviated as SFX, SPFX, or simply FX) are illusions or visual tricks used in the film, television, theatre, video game and simulator industries to simulate the imagined events in a story or virtual world.

Special effects are traditionally divided into the categories of mechanical effects and optical effects. With the emergence of digital film-making a distinction between special effects and visual effects has grown, with the latter referring to digital post-production while "special effects" referring to mechanical and optical effects.

Mechanical effects (also called practical or physical effects) are usually accomplished during the live-action shooting. This includes the use of mechanized props, scenery, scale models, animatronics, pyrotechnics and atmospheric effects: creating physical wind, rain, fog, snow, clouds, making a car appear to drive by itself and blowing up a building, etc. Mechanical effects are also often incorporated into set design and makeup. For example, a set may be built with break-away doors or walls to enhance a fight scene, or prosthetic makeup can be used to make an actor look like a non-human creature.

Optical effects (also called photographic effects) are techniques in which images or film frames are created photographically, either "in-camera" using multiple exposure, mattes or the Schüfftan process or in post-production using an optical printer. An optical effect might be used to place actors or sets against a different background.

Since the 1990s, computer-generated imagery (CGI) has come to the forefront of special effects technologies. It gives filmmakers greater control, and allows many effects to be accomplished more safely and convincingly and—as technology improves—at lower costs. As a result, many optical and mechanical effects techniques have been superseded by CGI.

Stop motion

Stop motion is an animated-film making technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames so that they will appear to exhibit independent motion when the series of frames is played back as a fast sequence. Dolls with movable joints or clay figures are often used in stop motion for their ease of repositioning. Stop-motion animation using plasticine figures is called clay animation or "clay-mation". Not all stop motion, however, requires figures or models: stop-motion films can also be made using humans, household appliances, and other objects, usually for comedic effect. Stop motion using humans is sometimes referred to as pixilation or pixilate animation.

Travis Knight

Travis Andrew Knight (born September 13, 1973) is an American animator, film director, and producer, who has worked as the lead animator for stop-motion animation studio Laika, and directed the films Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) and Bumblebee (2018).

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