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Ray tracers use inherently highly scalable algorithms and model physics much more accurately, notes Walvoord, which should make production for How to Train Your Dragon 3 faster and its images more resonant. In fact, if you watch clips from How to Train Your Dragon 2, they look very dated.

The answer may lie somewhere in between, but in general, creativity wins. For Wike, technology, especially digital film, is the new oral tradition, and exascale can only open new avenues by which to tell richer, more complex stories. With a toehold on new high-performance computing platforms, Wike sees virtual reality as a key contributor to change in animation media, just as CG was 30 years ago. Perhaps in its adolescence right now, virtual reality is gaining ground among gamers, smartphone users, and the scientific simulation community.

How technology is driving the next wave of film animation

Propelled by exascale, virtual reality could quickly reach maturity. Currently, cameras are fixed and we are only aware of the action happening in front of us. But virtual reality changes that by allowing a director or the audience to go anywhere in a scene. Now the panda must be fully furred, the house fully constructed, which requires huge amounts of compute time and power. He and DreamWorks are betting on a paradigm shift to make the transition to massively parallel computing less daunting.

The company has spent a substantial amount of money over the last five years in re-architecting its primary tool set to take advantage of hyper-multicore processing. It created, for instance, a rendering service for its ray tracer that can reconfigure, on the fly, how much compute power to allocate to a particular job or artist, and to distribute the rendering process across any number of machines. And rather than try to port old software to meet high-performance requirements, they opted for new software designed for greater scalability on multiple cores. Not only does it add complexity to the visuals, but it transforms work culture, as well.

While costs and other factors could prove hurdles on the road to exascale, Wike is optimistic about the outcomes the ECP partnership could tender, and confident in the approach his company has taken to start the journey. John Spizzirri is a contributing writer at Argonne National Laboratory. Your Comments. View All Events. November 9, by John Spizzirri. Source: Dreamworks. Tags: animation , exascale. Add a Comment Click here to cancel reply. Visit additional Tabor Communication Publications.

Doug Black. Tiffany Trader. George Leopold. John Russell. Alex Woodie. Steve Conway.

NZ Sega TVC 1993 - game tips. Motion graphics, CGI, 90s computer animation

October 15 - October October 21 - October October 24 - October A computer model can be constructed from geometric primitives, like spheres boxes and cylinders, but that's not much help when it comes to creating organic looking characters. Usually the modeler will use splines, which are lines whose curvature is adjusted with little handles on the control vertices which are located at the start and end points of the spline.

By connecting numerous splines and dragging them around in three dimensions, a computer model is created. The model may be entirely created in the computer, or based on a three dimensional scan of a clay model. A problem in many computer animation programs is that they don't allow you to have continuous skin between separate body parts. Therefore, the hand, the forearm, the upper arm, etc.

A limited number of programs, however, allow you to create the character in one piece. This is known as a mesh. This mesh only provides the "skin" of the character and is hollow inside. To move the different parts of the body separately, you then have to construct a virtual skeleton inside the mesh and connect parts of the mesh to each individual bone. Thus, when you move the forearm bone, the control vertices associated with that bone will move the body accordingly. Key Frames The first principle that a computer animator has to learn is key framing. A key frame in computer animation is a frame on which the animator has specified the start or end of a movement, or a change of direction.

As an example, to move the arm of a character, the animator will set a key on frame 10 A , indicating that this is where the movement begins. Then he jumps forward to frame 20 B and creates a new key, on which he puts the arm into its end position. Thus, from frames 11 to 19 the arm will be moving from position A to position B.

But as any animator knows, the different body parts of a character don't start and stop moving all at the same time. Therefore, the animator will generally set keys for the different body parts on different frames, so that the shoulder moves from frame 10 to 20, whereas the elbows starts moving on frame 12 and stops on frame Of course, he can then go on and refine the timing by shifting the position of key frames. A good program will also allow him to copy and paste key frames between shots and even between characters.

The exact position of a character's hand in one shot may prove useful as a starting point for posing the hand of another character in a completely different shot. Function Curves Function curves are one of the most important tools a computer animator has. The term varies from program to program.

Motion graph, velocity and channels are just some of the names used.

Using function curves you can edit the slow in and slow out between key frames. By default the inbetweens created by animation software give you smooth, mechanical inbetweens that do not change speed. This is why so much computer animation looks weightless and slick, as if the characters are floating in outer space where there is no gravity. To avoid this problem, the animator needs to spend a large amount of time adjusting the exact shape of the function curve between each key frame. This determines the exact amount of movement per inbetween. Below: Two examples of the computer animator's "palette.

The charts on the upper left and lower right enable the animator to control motion and sequencing. Function curves also allow you to edit the motion and location of every object in every frame of a shot. Let's say that you have animated a walk but you want to make the arms swing a little more quickly. Of course you could adjust every key frame by eye-balling the movement, but since the body is also moving, it can be difficult to see the exact differences as you make your changes. Therefore, it is easier to edit the shoulder's function curves instead.

Each object or bone has curves associated with it that control the movement, rotation and scaling of it along the x, y and z axes. To increase the shoulder's rotation on certain frames, you simply adjust the position of the curve that represents the shoulder's rotation from front to back.

Unfortunately, most programs don't allow you to use the function curves to edit the motion of an object, only the speed. This considerably increases the time required to animate a scene.

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The skeleton of a computer character is constructed as a hierarchy, where the first bone is known as a parent, and the bone connected to it is called the child. The upper arm is the child of the torso, but at the same time it is the parent to the lower arm, which is the parent to the hand and so on. The bone on the top of the hierarchy will in most cases be the pelvis, with the feet, hands and head at the bottom. Inverse Kinematics The problem with hierarchies is that movements can only translate down the hierarchy, not up.

If you move the upper arm, the shoulder and hand will follow, since they are the children.

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However, if you move the hand, the rest of the arm will stay still because it doesn't react to the movements of its child. With inverse kinematics however, you can move the bone at the end of the hierarchy and make the rest of the body follow. This eliminates the computer animator's biggest problem, keeping a character's feet on the ground still as the pelvis moves.

Without inverse kinematics the feet would be sliding around every time you move the pelvis or legs.

BA (Hons) Computer Animation Art and Design

With inverse kinematics you can lock the feet down in space and let the software keep them there. Lights, Camera, Render! Once the animation is completed, it has to be rendered. The computer analyses each frame and creates the final image, based on the information it has regarding the location of the models in the scene, the surface of the model and the lighting.

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At large production houses, technical directors take care of all of these aspects. Some create texture maps that are laid on the model, providing detail such as skin texture or fabric. They also decide how shiny or reflective each object should be. Others position all of the objects in the scene and compose shots using a virtual camera with real world parameters such as depth of field and focal length.

Yet another technical director lights the scene, setting the position, direction, color and intensity of each light source. As with the camera functions, lighting in most 3D applications is designed to recreate lighting techniques in the real world. Needless to say, experience from related fields such as painting, cinematography, photography or stage lighting is an enormous advantage for a technical director, just as the ability to draw or sculpt is important for a modeler. So, What Do I Use? Unfortunately, only a very limited number of 3D applications offer the tools described in this article, as most programs are geared toward special effects, web design, flying logos or spaceships.

Its more expensive big brother is called Animation:Master, which offers more rendering and compositing features, but includes the same modeling and animation tools.