Stepping into the world of digital animation can seem like you’re stepping into an alien universe, especially if you have no prior experience with animation. Even though the art of animation has been around for over a century, most of us don’t really know a lot about it – and even less when it comes to digital animation in particular.
If you’re looking to learn more about this fascinating topic, you’re in the right place. Here are 10 interesting novelties from the world of digital animation that you need to know!
1. The Demand for Digital Animation Has Exploded
Digital animation is massively in demand worldwide, and in 2018, the size of the animation industry in Asia alone was valued at $52 billion. Given this rate of growth, it’s not a surprise that you can find great institutions and companies for digital animation around the globe.
Most people think of Japan when they think of animation in Asia, but there are a number of other countries that are great for it as well. For example, if your business is based in Singapore, you can find a top-notch animation studio in Singapore with ease, and things are similarly easy in other countries in the region. No matter where you are, you’ll be able to find local businesses to help you with your animation needs, which makes it easier for smaller companies to meet their animation needs.
2. Digital Animation is a Relatively New Field
While traditional animations have been around since the early 1900s, digital animation is a much newer field. The first full-length digital animated movie was Toy Story, which was released in theatres on November 22nd, 1995. The film was the first to be produced and released by Pixar, which has since gone on to become a powerhouse in the world of digital animation.
3. New Innovations are Demonstrated at the Annual SIGGRAPH Conference
The annual SIGGRAPH conference is held by ACM SIGGRAPH, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. It is hosted in both North America and Asia (SIGGRAPH Asia) every year.
The conference covers computer graphics as a whole but also includes panels on digital animation and CGI technology. Several new and exciting innovations in the world of digital animation are introduced at the conference every year.
4. Digital Animation Sometimes Makes Use of Real Performers
Digital animation doesn’t always have to be confined to the computer screen – occasionally, animators use the help of real performers to help them get the animation right. A newer part of computer animation, motion capture technology essentially allows animators to film someone (or something) in the real world and then use the data they receive to create realistic animation. It is usually done by placing sensors over an actor or object to track, record, and map their movements on a computer screen.
5. You Can Create Your Own Digital Animations at Home
While you may not be interested in pursuing animation as a career, it is still possible to create digital animations at home using only your regular computer. There are a number of tools available to make this process as easy as possible for you, with some of the most popular options including:
- Adobe’s After Effects, Character Animator, and Animate
- Autodesk’s 3DS Max and Maya
- Corel’s PhotoMirage
- The Blender Foundation’s Blender
6. Tools Animation Studios Use Are Available for Amateurs to Buy
Just because you don’t have access to proprietary technology doesn’t mean you’re not using the same tools that professionals use.
Studio Ghibli is one of the biggest names in digital animation and is the studio behind movies like Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away. Another of their popular films is the 1997 movie Princess Mononoke, and one of the animation tools used to make that movie, Toonz, is now available for free online.
There are two options for you to choose from – the open-source, free version, OpenToonz, and the commercial version, Toonz Premium. There’s also another version, known as the Morevna Edition, which includes numerous additional guides to make it easier for beginners to use the tool.
7. Full-Length Digital Animation Movie Can Cost Millions
Disney’s digitally animated films Tangled (2010) and The Lion King (2019) cost about $260 million to make each, making them the joint holders of the title of “most expensive animated movie ever made.” However, even films that are on the lower end of the price scale for digital animation can often cost studios millions of dollars to make.
Toy Story, the first feature-length digitally animated movie, had a budget of about $30 million, while its sequel, Toy Story 2, cost thrice as much, at $90 million.
8. Humans are Difficult
Some of the best received digital animation movies include names like WALL-E, Zootopia, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar. What do they all have in common?
None of them center around human characters.
This is because realistically animating humans and humanoids is one of the most challenging parts of digital animation. Because of this, films with human characters often have them stylized, with non-realistic proportions, like Despicable Me, Hotel Transylvania, and Megamind.
9. Each Second of Film Contains Several Frames
A frame of an animation movie is essentially a complete image. In order to convince your mind that the characters on screen are moving, a piece of digitally animated media must include 12 frames per second (FPS) or more. That said, most modern movies have higher frame rates, starting at 24 FPS and often going to as much as 60 FPS.
10. The Academy Awards Included a Category for Animated Movies in 2001
The 74th Academy Awards, held in 2001, were the first time the prestigious ceremony included the Best Animated Feature category. The digitally animated movie Shrek was the first film to win the award, beating out computer-animated films Monsters, Inc. and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius for the trophy.
Given the industry’s rapid growth, digital animation is quickly becoming an extremely popular career option. Not only do professionals get to enjoy the benefits of continuous growth, but they also have the potential to work for large multinational companies such as Disney and Pixar.