The invention of 3D technology has changed animation production and opened up new technical and creative possibilities for animators. The animation genre has found a second life and received additional tools of expression.
In contrast to the usual two-dimensional animation in a 3D cartoon, the characters and the objects around them have a three-dimensional structure. Thanks to the 3D effect, viewers get a more complete immersion in what is happening on the screen.
A 3D cartoon, like any animation, starts with an idea and plot development. Once it is approved, the creation of 3D cartoon have following steps:
- Writing a script based on a brief
The script details every action of the character and dialogues. At the same time, information is collected about the time, place, objects that will be shown in the animation, for a more accurate plot realisation.
- Character Creation
Each character is portrayed in different angles, poses, with different moods and emotions. Then all the characters are lined up on one sheet (line of characters) for their sizes comparison.
A sequence of drawings is created based on the script. The main frames, locations, characters, details are defined, taking into account angles and camera movement.
The frames are portrayed, refined and combined into a video sequence – animatic. A draft sound is recorded along with replicas, which makes it possible to understand the length of the dialogues. It is time when the draft version of the cartoon is being created.
Modelling is the stage when volumetric 3D models of characters, components, environments are usually created.
In order for the character to move, a skeleton and a control system must be created during this step.
- Placement of 3D objects in the scene
Simplified character models are used, which do not overload the computer with polygons (the planes that make up the 3D model), and high-polygonal objects are placed later. At this stage, the makers correct the movement and depth of field of the camera, the placement of objects and the clothes of the characters.
- Texture mapping
In order for a 3D model to resemble a real object, it is not enough to accurately repeat its shape, it is also necessary to colour and texture it. Texturing allows to create a feeling of smooth, hard, rough and any other surface. The use of shaders (a physical model of material behaviour) can give the texture realistic highlights and light transitions.
Static objects “come to life” and change their positions. Animation in cartoons is usually done with the camera.
The virtual space, where 3D artists work, has no light sources. To simulate lighting in three-dimensional graphics, special light sources are used. In order for the lighting of 3D objects to look real, many factors have to be taken into account: the location of the light source, brightness and light reflection from objects.
Converting 3D geometry, textures and lighting data of the scene into a single picture with the necessary colorfulness.
- Video editing.
Compilation of the finished 3D cartoon, musical arrangement, sound and image editing.
The voice of the characters and the sounds of the environment are superimposed.
The cartoon is ready to be played.