The Future of Animation

Online Poster Presentation - March 31, 2014
Group No. - 6
Parth Patel, Vipulkumar Patel, Archit Prajapati, Anuradha Anuradha
Derrick Millard
Sheridan College - Davis Campus, Brampton, ON

               John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer of Pixar & Walt Disney Animation Studios) says, "I loved animation and cartoons, even when it was not cool when you were in high school. I raced home to see the Bugs Bunny cartoons". Animation, a famous mean of entertainment which is loved by most of the population regardless of their age. It is hard to define animation but, it can be defined as rapid movement of time sequenced frames that cause an illusion of moving images. There are many world famous cartoons like Tom & Jerry, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, Aladdin etc. and animated films like Toy story, Finding Nemo, Rio, Cars etc. which people like so much.

A Brief History of Animation

The Text - "Apperentia nocturna ad terorem videntium"

       There are many names nominated as the father of animation as it is very unsure about who invented animation or motion physics.  According to the The Magic Lantern Society (1999 - 2007), the father of the first projecting lantern was Giovanni de Fonatana who invented Liber instrumentorum near about 1420. An image of its first projection is shown above which is known as "Apperentia nocturna ad terorem videntium". Since his idea of first projecting device evolved, the invention of animation devices carried over by other engineers successively.  

          Though the hand drawn animation or images were practiced well before in the era of caveman. This is also shown in the modern animation film "Croods ". Have a glance on the video below to see how the caveman used hand drawn painting that is shown in the movie and it also describes the progression of creation as well.

            There are many other ancient tools of animation which looks tiny but had played a humongous role in animation advancements. These include devices like  Thaumatrope (1824), Phenakistiscope (1832), Zoetrope (1834), praxinoscope (1877) etc. (Animation Notes #3 - A Short History-II - AIM, 2014)

Current Status of Animation

             Animation technology has been advanced since Walt Disney's arrival in this industries. His creations like Micky Mouse and other cartoons just brought a revolution in the animation world. More and more animation engineers are working hard to make new and advanced software to make animation easy, fast and more realistic.

             There are many kinds of techniques and types of animation existing in the world. Click on the titles of various kinds of animation to view the illustrating embedded video.

  1. Classical 2D animation: Also known as "Hand Drawn 2D animation. It needs at least 12 drawing on paper for one second length film
  2. Digital 2D Animation: No need of paper work. Frames are directly made by means of pen and mouse on a computer software
  3. Digital 3D Animation: 3D models are prepared, framed and immersed into the virtual space
  4. Stop-motion: Frames of the character are exposed behind the fixed background and slight changes are made in a progressive manner to achieve the animation
  5. Clay animation: Use of plasticine and clay material for making moving objects
  6. Cutout animation: Use of paper frames and decorated background moving over one another
  7. Paint-on-glass animation: Animation achieved through slow drying oils on the glass frames
  8. Drawn-on-film animation: It is a direct animation without having camera. Pre exposed frames are used and objects are drawn directly on film
  9. Experimental animation: Animators use their ideas according to the scene and make animations using different techniques

             With help of modern software and technological devices, animators continuously  try to create something new and better. Animation had produced some tremendously pleasant cartoons, movies and games to enjoy for the people. Some of the world famous cartoon series includes Micky Mouse, Tom & Jerry, Looney Toons, Flintstone, Garfield, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto etc. which kids and even adults watches still today. 'Avatar' (2009) has just crossed all the expectations, possibilities and ability of creating something unbelievable. It was simply a master piece that was produced by James Cameroon. This blockbuster and the 3rd ranked highest grossing film was created by Lightstorm Entertainment Ltd. and Dune Entertainment Ltd.  It was comprised of great efforts of the production team with the help of 3D animation and virtual effects software.

        Many other animated movies like Ice Age (2002), Finding Nemo (2003), Madagascar (2005), Cars (2006), How to train your dragon (2010), etc. are the masterpieces created by the leading animation companies like Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks.

                       Who can forget games in the current scenario? There are countless games in market that are really great creations of animations. No one would have expected that they would direct players like Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rooney in a soccer game before 20 years ago. Now, it is possible and it has been successful up to that extend that you are ruling the real soccer game. EA Sports is one of the leading gaming industries with some massive blockbuster games like NHL, NFL, FIFA series, NBC, Need for Speed series, etc. Playstation and X-box platforms had provided games with better graphics and visualization to make customers feel great experience and satisfaction

The Future of Animation & VFX

         "I've always been thinking in three dimensions, ever since I started working with computer animation in the early '80s." These are the words of John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animations when he was in his starting period of his animator career. Like John there will be many other animation engineers who have valuable and unbelievable dreams in their eyes.

              Animation has an ever growing endless future. More and more realistic animated cartoons, films and games are becoming originality with exceptional level of reality. This is accomplished with help of various methods and hi-tech software on computers.

            We tried to get views about the future of animation of a co-op tutor Mr.Steven Khan currently serving at Sheridan College; Trafalgar Campus in Animation Department. Check it out!

Modern Animation Techniques:

Virtual Reality Devices and Oculus Rift:

Oculus rift

  • Uses custom tracking technology.
  • 360° head tracking
  • Look virtual world as you feel like real world
  • High end virtual reality experience
  • Comfortable & lightweight
  • Creates a stereoscopic 3D view
  • Presenting unique and parallel images for each eye.
  • More natural & comfortable experiences

PS4 Get Virtual Reality Headset to beat Oculus Rift (Project Morpheus)

Sony with the help of virtual reality is about to create a new gaming world. The name given to the headset is “Project Morpheus”. The PS4 coming soon will make the people not to feel like they are playing only but make them feel they are in the game and this could be possible because of Project Morpheus. The lines said by Yoshida during presenting the VR in PS4 shows the future going to be really great: "We'll continue to work on this to improve, but we believe this is a good representation of how PlayStation will deliver VR."

3D Films

3D direction will be an important technique in the future of animated films. 3D film technology is not new as it's been used since 1950s. IMAX and Disney have also been producing 3D films since last decade. Modern 3D technology uses polarization techniques having glasses that shows different images. Each lens produces different image and the images on the screen readily alternated showing different images at a single second. But in future, the red and blue glasses will be replaced by more robust and comfortable looking lenses. The new 3D technology is piracy proof and the producers are getting more profit. For example, the movie Monsters v/s Aliens hit the box office and grossed $59.3 million. Great!

Motion Capture (MoCap)

           It has been the most famous technique for recording a person's movements and his physique to make a life like animated version. As, it is very difficult to make an animated form of an actor or a player on computer software, because that will be lacking in the major detailing and pattern of their body movements. It is a really helpful technique which will be a part of existence of a virtually real world where a person will be able to meet his own self in front of his eyes without any mirror.

           This technique involves use of a specifically designed suit with numerous sensors on the surface of the suit. These sensors are mainly positioned on the joints and major muscle tendons which forms the basic movement in humans. According to the movement of the person, the sensors measures the geometrical measurements and through complex mathematical application in a software, this comes out on the computer screen as a dot diagram of the person. The dot structure is further anlayzed and processed to form a polygonal structures with lines connecting the dots. Next comes texture.A realistic texture is applied on the polygonal skeleton followed by micro detailing of person's body parts. It is widely used in gaming industries to mock the movements of the player.

           It is a much easier and faster technique than the traditional cartoon creation tools. Moreover, it provides exceptional detailing of the person which makes it more realistic either in games or in movies. The advancement in technologies, software and computers helped to grow the use of Motion Capture in the animation industries. Each year it becomes more and more effective making the virtual world feel like a real world.

             Following are the videos showing where the motion capture is and what can be its future it it continued as the same pace,

FIFA - 13: Motion Capture:

FIFA - 14: Motion Capture:

Computer Generated Imaginary (CGI)

              'Toy Story' (1995) was the first ever full length animated film which was fully generated with CGI caused the dawn of the modern animation. Computers since a long time has been the main medium for revolution animation technology. Advancement in computers, digital interfaces, virtual reality has brought a new era in animation industries. Bigger and Better super workshops are giving opportunities to animators to create extra-ordinary creations with help of new technologies and computer software.

              CGI generally includes integration of all the techniques discussed above. It includes everything from cartoon skeleton to a well polished cartoon character with full detailing. CGI involves various phases like performance animation, keyframing, inverse kinematics, dynamics, task-level animation, behavioral animation, cloth animation, hair animation and facial animation. These are very difficult or nearly impossible techniques without computers and the latest software. Use of CGI to form a movie is well described in the video shown above titled 'Making of iRobot'.

                      It just needs some initiative signals in form of movements and gestures from the actors and everything remaining is finished by computers. Computers work on the motion capture, gathers every details, integrate the data, analyze and process the data, finalize the complete body of the actor, cares about every single detailing, etc.  

Various Software for Animation

  • Autodex Maya
  • Autodex 3ds max
  • Autodest Softimage
  • Lightwave
  • Cinema 4D
  • Poser
  • Blander
  • DAZ 3D Bryce
  • Realflow



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