We were all raised on Saturday morning cartoons and movies by Disney, Dreamworks and Pixar. Who can say how many imaginations were sparked to life or how many personalities have been formed by simple line drawings on paper. Everyone carries some vestige of fond remembrance of lazy mornings awaiting the adventures and the humor. Some people choose to make it their career; others want to visit the Magic Castle at Disneyland and maybe even have a creation of their own.
Because of the difficulty and skill required, there has never really been a place for dilettantes before the advent of the personal computer. Never before has there been such a massive upheaval of the animation industry. The computer makes possible projects that were never financially viable before.
The development of the motion picture projector was the result of a bet on whether a horse could fly. In 1872, a racehorse owner insisted that there were times when all four hooves of trotters were in the air at the same time. This was sacrilegious to trotter racers who take pride in how fast their horses can "walk," rather than gallop. Eadweard Muvbridge, a talented photographer known for his motion studies of human athletes, was brought in to confirm or deny the claim of the owner, who had shown faith in his hypothesis with a sizable bet among his peers. Muybridge placed dozens of trigger wires along the racetrack connected to evenly spaced cameras so as to snap a photograph whenever they were tripped. The horse trotted through the myriad of wires, snapping photograph after photograph in equal increments of time between them. When the photographic series was played back, the audience of bettors was surprised and aghast. The first motion picture film ever shown exhilarated them, and they were at a loss of their money because the horse did indeed "fly."
In 1914, Winsor McCay, a cartoonist and vaudevillian performer became the first animator, laboriously drawing frame after frame of the animation, "Gertie the Dinosaur", to show to paying audiences. Surprisingly enough, Winsor McCay was also the first to combine live action with animation when he interacted with Gertie in each choreographed performance to the audience's great approval.
Ub Iwerks, the artist for the early Mickey Mouse, was prodigious in his animation output, averaging a finished Film a month. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera brought animation to the infant and risky field of television just when the most major motion picture studios were closing down their own animation departments due to animation's great expense. Though many point to Disney as the progenitor of modem day animation, it was the Hanna-Barbera style and cost containment factors that really influenced the field and led to modem day look and story content.
Though new techniques have brought animation to the masses, normal people could only be viewers, not creators; it was still too difficult for aspiring storytellers to do on their own. Only the personal computer could break the barriers of talent, money, and time.
Martin Hash's The Art of Animation:Master© 2007
The software we use first is called Animation: Master, which competes feature-wise with the most expensive and complex movie special effects 3D computer programs but it is designed and written for someone who wants to get started right away and move onto more difficult things as you are ready. The animation training you learn in this class can be used anywhere - whether in traditional drawing or dazzling movie special effects.
Martin Hash's The Art of Animation: Master© 2007
We will also get an introduction to Blender which is an open source (free) full-featured modelling and animation software found at blender.org available on many platforms.
Other animation software:
Any animation project is divided into three parts:
Pre-production - Character design, script writing, storyboards, and dialog recording are defined as pre-production. What is the story all about and what will it look like when it is done? What does the character look like? What will the character act out? Will there be interaction with other characters? Is the skeleton capable of the animation that you have planned? All of these things are important questions that must be answered before you begin your animation. Story sequences can usually be described in a dozen or so numbered sentences.
Production - Animating is production.
Post-production - Lighting and rendering are post-production. Recombining the dialog track, credits, and adding sound effects and music finish the process.
For a detailed explanation see page 59 (reader pg 67) in the AM manual
THE 10 ANIMATION INGREDIENTS (UPDATED FOR COMPUTERS)