Film Animation

Film Animation
The many stages involved in producing an animated film: Drawing, pre-animation, redesign, final animation

Within my great design blog, I wanted to discover all the different types of design. Not just looking into products and designers but looking further afield to see how design spreads across so many occupations.

In summer 2020, I watched ‘Frozen 2 behind the scenes’, yes I am a child and I thoroughly enjoy kids’ films but actually this was a very interesting documentary showing how the animation film was constructed. 

To put into perspective of how complicated and detailed the animations must be, just think about how many expressions you make during the day, how many muscles you move when speaking. All these minor movements in your face must be cleverly added to the characters face to ensure realistic human traits.

Animation process:

  1. The directors will determine a rough outline of how the scene should look and play out.
  2. The animation team will then go away and add their creative input to the scene with initial sketching.
  3. To figure out the motions and movements of the characters the best approach is to act out the scene yourself (or with family/friends) and record it. Learning from visuals makes the process easier.
  4. The next stage is blocking – figuring out the number of frames in a shot. The drawings will be very rough just to show the basic outline of the scene to the directors. (As shown in the image below)
  5. Detail Detail Detail
  6. Finishing touches and edits

To do this job, you must have a vivid imagination with impressive drawing skills and digital software skills. As an engineering student I have been introduced to digital software but for 3D modelling purposes and animation design works on the same principals but applies them in a different way.

Looking at the finished product of Frozen 2, the detail in every scene is remarkable and I can only imagine how long it could have taken. The film took over a year to make, with hundreds of animators working on the smallest sections of the film to ensure highest quality of detail.

Animation design has improved drastically over the past 100 years, when we were first introduced to the famous mickey mouse. And it will not stop there. Animation will continue to push the digital boundaries between cartoon and realistic design. I am very excited to see what the next breakthrough could be. 

24th February 2021.