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Computer Graphics Animation FAQ

3D Graphics Programming


   Please read this faq before posting to `comp.graphics.animation'.

   Computer animation is a large and growing field, and people want
different things from it; this FAQ tries to cover all bases, and as a
result is rather thin on many of them!  So feel free to contribute, or
to offer suggestions -- the FAQ will *never* be complete or free of
errors, but your help will make it better.

   In this (introductory) chapter, we try to give some guidelines on
posting to `comp.graphics.animation', and deal with some matters
concerning the FAQ document itself.

   In *Related Resources*, we look at related newsgroups, define some
conventions for resource references in this document, and point to some
general resources that may be of use.

   In *Using Animation*, we cover animation file formats, animation
players, and point to some sites where animation may be found.

   In *Hobby Animation*, we give an overview of the stages in the
animation process, and note some venues for computer animation.

   *Animation Media* tries to cover the various forms an animation may
end up in, and how to get there and back again.

   *Career Animation* is intended for those who want to make a living
out of animation, and *Animation Theory* is intended for those
interested in the internals of computer animation packages, and the
research behind them.

   The *Animation Software* chapter is cheifly a list of available
computer animation packages, including pointers to net resources
specific to those packages, and to wrap up is *Miscellaneous*.

 -- Contents --

* Introduction::                about this FAQ
* Related Resources::           where your enquiries may be better directed
* Using Animation::             from the end-user's pov
* Hobby Animation::             from the hobbyist's pov
* Animation Media::             animation not on your VDU
* Career Animation::            animation as a business
* Animation Theory::            technical / programming information
* Animation Software::          what you may want to use
* Miscellaneous::               what's left over...

 -- More Detailed Contents --


* Changes::                     recent additions and alterations
* Should I Post::               basic nettiquette
* Availability / Distribution::  where to find this FAQ
* To Do::                       where the FAQ is lacking

Related Resources

* Newsgroups::                  related newsgroups
* Internet Resources::          format conventions used in this FAQ
* General Resources::           sources of general information
* More Specific Resources::     are scattered, not collected

Hobby Animation

* Animation Process::           general stages
* Venues::                      where animation is shown

Animation Media

* Media Properties::            resolution, aspect, etc. of film and video
* Media I/O::                   getting animation off the computer

Career Animation

* Your Union::                  a californian animation union           

Animation Theory

* Types of Computer Animation::  2-d, 3-d, procedural, etc.
* Interpolation::               one and multi-dimensional interpolation
* References::                  books, journals, papers

Animation Software

* 3-d Package Reviews::         some reviews of 3-d packages
* 3-d Packages::                alphabetical details of 3-d packages
* 2-d Packages::                animation, multimedia, and video packages
* Morph Packages::              details of morph packages
* Renderer Front & Back Ends::  animation scripts


* Creating this FAQ::           what tools i use
* Acknowledgements::            thanks everyone!


   Well, late again (so what's new, I hear you cry).  The FAQ is about
to change hands -- this is the last time I'll be posting it for a while
-- I'm finishing my Master's and then off for six months overseas.
Thanks everyone for the help and suggestions for the FAQ!  I hope
you'll be even more helpful to the new maintainer, Francisco X Dejesus
, who *also* maintains the `avalon' FTP site.  Three
cheers for Francisco!!

   Changes since the last post:
   * Corrections / updates / additions to Truespace (see `Caligari -
     TrueSpace') and Imagine (see `Impulse - Imagine') sections,
     including the new address for the Imagine mailing list. (Thanks

   * New information on professional 2d animation package Animo (see
     `CAS - Animo').

   * Web page for AERO (see `AERO').

   * Avalon (see `General Resources') has moved from `chinalake' to
     `vislab' - it's now `avalon.vislab.navy.mil'.

   * New site for DMorph (see `DMorph').

Should I Post to comp.graphics.animation?

   `comp.graphics.animation' is a forum for discussion of all things
relating to computer animation.  This includes, but is not limited to
the following.  Please remember that these are not hard-and-fast-rules,
simply guidelines.  DO NOT post animations to `comp.graphics.animation'
- a pointer to some remote access site (for FTP retrieval, etc) is much
better, or use one of the `alt.binaries.pictures*' newsgroups if you
must post.  (If there are any glaring omissions here, someone please
point them out to me.)

   * computer animation research

   * implementation of animation systems

   * animation software packages

   * animation-related hardware

   * computer animation in film and tv

   * working in the animation industry

   * net-accessible animation

   If your post is not of general interest (to
`comp.graphics.animation'), but you think `c.g.anim' is the most
specific, the most appropriate, or is likely to be the most fruitful
forum -- don't hesitate to post.  But `c.g.anim' is not for discussion
of things for which there *are* more specific resources available (ie
newsgroups, mailing lists, etc) and which are not of *general interest*
(to `c.g.anim' readers).  Ie: if it happens that there is a mailing
list for the package that you're having problems with, mail to it
before posting to `c.g.anim'; if you want to know how to implement
double-buffering on your video card, and there's a newsgroup
specifically about video cards on your machine, use it, not `c.g.anim'.

   If you're not sure, you may as well post -- the group's not
moderated, and is frequented by mostly polite people -- you're not
likely to get flamed, but please do spare a moment's thought before you

   The next chapter (see `Related Resources') lists some places you may
find more suited to your particular query.

Availability / Distribution

   I can now easily generate plain-text (ASCII), HTML, DVI, PostScript,
GNU Info, and AmigaGuide versions of this FAQ (see `Creating this
FAQ'), although external links from the HTML document aren't properly
implemented yet.

   The plain-text version of the FAQ is available once a month on
comp.graphics.animation, and the post (like all other `official' FAQs)
is archived on `rtfm'

   All official FAQs, and then some, are available on the WWW
Some of these are plain text, some are not.

   The FAQ in the above formats is available by FTP in

   The HTML version is available via WWW
 or alternatively
.  A slightly
different HTML version is
There are active URLs in this version, but many (the partial ones) are
bogus (the two versions should soon be the same now that links work
properly in my HTML version).

To Do

   Just to repeat myself - from this posting, there's a new FAQ
maintainer, Francisco X Dejesus .  If you want to lend
a hand, mail him!

New sections needed (these are definitely FAQs):

   * animation schools

   * i wanna be an animator, how do i go about it?

   * how much should i charge?

Sections that need a lot of work:

   * venues, conferences and events

   * animation media chapter (incl. i/o h/w)

   * animation theory chapter (esp. references)

   * career animation chapter

Related Resources

   or, does my post really belong in `comp.graphics.animation'?

   Computer animation, like its progenitor computer graphics, abuts on a
large number of fields.  If everyone from all related fields posted
here, the newsgroup would be swamped with irrelevance.  The following
sections indicate where your comments, information, or questions might
be better directed.  Of course, if `comp.graphics.animation' really
*is* the most appropriate group -- post away!


   Read these groups' FAQs before posting to them -- don't be
flamebait.  DO NOT post animations to `comp.graphics.animation' -- a
pointer to some remote access site (for FTP retrieval, etc) is much
better, or use one of the `alt.binaries.pictures*' newsgroups if you
must post.

     comp.graphics                   : image generation, modelling
     comp.graphics.algorithms        : algorithms for graphics
     comp.graphics.raytracing        : bouncing light around
     comp.graphics.visualisation     : scientific / data visualisation
     alt.movies.visual-effects       : SFX for film and TV
     comp.graphics.XXX               : \
     comp.sys.XXX.graphics           :  \
     comp.sys.XXX                    :   } how do I do YYY
     comp.sys.XXX.hardware.video     :   } on/under XXX
     comp.os.ms-windows.*            :  /
     comp.windows.*                  : /
     comp.soft-sys.wavefront         : wavefront graphics software
     comp.graphics.packages.alias    : graphics software from alias research
     comp.graphics.packages.lightwave: animation software from NewTek
     comp.graphics.rendering.*       : only renderman at the moment
     comp.multimedia                 : sound and text and vision
     alt.3d                          : SIRDS, holograms, etc. 3d perception.
     rec.arts.{anim*,disney}         : discussion of anim pieces (mostly trad)
     alt.animation.warner-bros       : chuck jones and mates
     fj.rec.animation                : discussion of anime (in japanese)
     alt.graphics.pixutils           : picture manipulation, conversion
     alt.binaries.pictures*          : posts of pictures and anims, formats...
     alt.ascii-art.animation         : yes, vt100 animation
     rec.video.{desktop,production}  : video, desktop video
     sci.image.processing            : sophisticated image manipulation
     sci.virtual-worlds*             : anything about VR
     comp.compression                : compression issues (incl. JPEG, MPEG)
     *.test (misc.test, etc.)        : test postings (some people...)

Internet Resources


   A URL is a Uniform Resource Locator.  URLs are an artifact of the
World Wide Web (WWW), and are how the WWW is connected together -- any
reference to a document or other resource on the WWW is via a URL.  As
it's an OK format, and WWW use is becoming more widespread, most
references to net resources in this FAQ are in a URL-like format.  Many
of these may actually be URLs (further explanation soon).

   If you find a reference in this document that is incorrect or simply
unreachable, please inform me so that others do not have to suffer the
same problems.  I can't check every reference in every issue.  Without
your help, it's inevitable that the FAQ will be full of bogus
references that are of little help to anyone.


   HTML (hypertext markup language) documents are the ones that WWW
likes best, allow the inclusion of `inline' images and further URLs,
and are formatted on the fly to best fit your Web browser.  References
to WWW HTML documents look like the following.
            ^www-site   ^path       ^hypermedia-document


   References to anonymously FTP-able files look like the following.
           ^ftp-site              ^path            ^document

   `/pub' at the root of the path is often assumed.  Some FTP
references I give in this document are incomplete, indicating a
directory to browse in or whose whole contents are relevant, or some
degree of uncertainty.  (These have a trailing slash ('/'), ellipsis
('...'), or Unix-style wildcards.)  Many FTP-able files are mirrored on
other sites to reduce bandwidth; use `archie' to find a copy near you.

FAQ pseudo-URLs

   I don't know of an FAQ URL, so these are pseudo-URLs.  References to
FAQs in this document look like the following.
           ^archive-path           ^archive-name

   The `archive-path-and-name' is taken directly from the
`Archive-name:' field in the FAQ's header.  All `official' FAQs are
cross-posted to `news.answers', and archived for anonymous FTP on
`rtfm.mit.edu' (and other sites), under the directory
`/pub/usenet/news.answers/', using their archive name.  So
`faq://archive-path-and-name' is really shorthand for
This FAQ is `faq://graphics/animation-faq', or
and our example above (expanding the wildcard (`[1-3]') as we go)
etc.  Most multi-part FAQs have a whole directory dedicated to them,
which is indicated with a trailing slash ('/'):

   Note that almost all FAQs (official or otherwise) are also available
through Thomas A. Fine's excellent `Usenet FAQs' WWW site
Try expanding `faq://archive-path-and-name' as

pseudo-FAQ pseudo-URLs

   Some FAQ posts are not yet `official' so they won't have an archive
name, and you won't be able to find them on `rtfm'.  These I reference
using the following pseudo-URL format.
     post://comp.graphics/"Computer Graphics Resource Listing"
            ^newsgroup     ^title (minus date,part,group info,...)

   To follow these references, you'll have to look in the appropriate

   Note that almost all FAQs (official or otherwise) are also available
through Thomas A. Fine's excellent `Usenet FAQs' WWW site

Mailing List pseudo-URLs

   References to mailing lists are pseudo-URLs, and look like the
     mail://listserv@netcom.com//"subscribe animaster-l"
            ^who to mail to       ^what to put in the message body

   Note that the second (subject) field is often blank (as it is in this
example), as is the third (message body) field.

General Resources ================= These references are specific sources of information in various broad areas relevant to this FAQ. `faq://graphics/faq' The `comp.graphics' FAQ: graphics references, groups, standards, various algorithms... Maintained by John T. Grieggs `'. Thanks John! `faq://graphics/resources-list/part[1-3]' The `comp.graphics' resource listing: FTP sites, rendering, 3d modellers, GUIs, visualisation, image analysis, textures... Maintained by Nikolaos C. Fotis `'. Thanks Nick! `faq://graphics/algorithm-faq' The `comp.graphics.algorithms' FAQ: graphics algorithms in abundance. Maintained by Jon Stone `'. Thanks Jon! `faq://graphics/animation-faq' This! The `comp.graphics.animation' FAQ: animating, playing anims, animation "theory", references, fun! `http://www.lightside.com/~dani' 3DWEB : an animation WWW site. Animation % hyphenating this causes troubles... industry resumes (submit yours!) and job offers, information on CGI production houses. Literature, references, discussion for animation (not just computer animation). Also images, animations, other sites. Information on relevant hardware and software firms, software packages. Pointers to CGI organisations, laboratories, projects, and some VR pointers. Maintained by Daniele Colajacomo `'. Thanks Daniele! `faq://graphics/fileformats-faq' The `comp.graphics' file formats FAQ. Maintained by James D. Murray `'. Thanks James! `http://www.cinenet.net/GWEB' GWEB : An informal trade journal for the computer animation industry. Includes monthly interviews with industry luminaries, job postings, and information on production houses. Also information on relevant hardware and software. Maintained by Rob and Sharil `'. Thanks! `http://mambo.ucsc.edu' mambo : facial animation `ftp://avalon.vislab.navy.mil/pub/' This FTP site is dedicated to things graphical, and is primarily a stockpile of 3d objects in various formats. It's mirrored at kubota `ftp.kpc.com' Maintained by Francisco X. Dejesus `'. Thanks Francisco! More Specific Resources ======================= More specific resources are scattered throughout the FAQ in the sections dealing with the specific topic, so for instance for resources concerning animation file formats, see `Animation File Formats', and for resources concerning individual software packages, see `Animation Software'. Using Animation *************** This chapter's for those who simply want to see the results of others' hard labour -- animation file formats and conversions, animation players and sites. Much of the information here is presented much better in the graphics file formats FAQ: `faq://graphics/fileformats-faq'. Animation File Formats ====================== See also: Murray, Vanryper, "Encylopedia of Graphics File Formats", O'Reilly & Assoc, 1994, ISBN 1565920589. It covers most 2-d and 3-d graphics file formats out there today. Murray also maintains an FAQ `faq://graphics/fileformats-faq' which covers much of the same material. [text by mark podlipec and others] For code that reads: DL, FLI, FLC, GIF, IFF, MovieSetter, PFX, Quicktime, and RLE animation formats, see the `xanim' entry in `Players', below. Other players' source may also be useful for these and other formats. AVI (PC): Resources: `ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/...' (RIFF AVI format. doesn't include compression format). DL: FLI, FLC (Autodesk) (PC): FLI support is for 320x200 images, and is a series of images and deltas. The colour map can be changed during the animation. FLC has a few additional chunks and supports larger image sizes. Resources: FLC article in DDJ'93 - `ftp://simtel20.../graphic/...'; and on avalon (specification of format). GIF (PC): A GIF file consists of a screen colour map and a series of images, each with an optional colour map. The images don't have to be at the origin and can be any size smaller than the screen size. This allows GIF animations to be created that only update the part of the screen that changes. Resources: see `faq://graphics/faq'. GL (PC): (not to be confused with SGI's GL programming language) IFF ANIM (Amiga): The Amiga's IFF format was designed as a universal (extensible) data format. Many different data types and chunks can be found in IFF ANIMs. Many ANIMs include sound chunks or colour cycling. There are a plethora of compression techniques (with different tradeoffs) used. Most IFF ANIMs are meant to be double-buffered, with deltas applying to frames two distant. A looping ANIM means the last two deltas produce images that are the same as the first two. The Amiga has a large number of display modes (a couple of them, EHB and HAM are unusual; HAM is the hardest to emulate.) Resources: on avalon (specification of format). MovieSetter (GoldDisk) (Amiga): A very flexible animation format. Animations are stored as a bunch of backgrounds, sounds and sets. Sets are smaller images that get placed on top of the background (with transparent pixels). A frame list at the end describes each frame. Each frame specifies which background to use (backgrounds can also scroll in different directions and speeds), and a list of sets to put on that background with depth information so characters can pass behind or in front of each other. Sound information is contained here as well to sync it up to the action. There is also colour cycling and specialty fades and wipes. Can come as one file or as three directories and a control file. MPEG (lossy): Resources: `faq://graphics/mpeg-faq', also in germany `ftp://ftp.cs.tu-berlin.de/pub/msdos/dos/graphics/mpegfa??.zip' (covers specification, future, software (players, &c), hardware, incl. pointers to other information...); `post://alt.binaries.pictures.utilities/"WHERE TO GET MPEG UTILS"'; Luigi's MPEG FAQ ; another WWW MPEG site ; `ftp://ftp.crs4.it' (MPEG, and other image compression techniques). PFX (PageFlipper Plus F/X) (Amiga): A series of deltas with a play list at the end. Supports colour map changes, nested loops and dynamic timing. RLE (URT) (Unix): One or more runlength encoded images, viewable with an X11 viewing program. Tools for creating consistent colour maps and for many other operations are part of the toolkit. Players ======= `display' v1.84 (PC) (Jih-Shin Ho). AVI, DL, FLC, GL, MPEG. `ftp://nctuccca.edu.tw/PC/graphics/disp*' (also on `simtel20') MPEG players for IBM, Mac, Unix, VMS, Next. See `post://alt.binary.pictures.utilities/"WHERE TO GET MPEG UTILS"', MPEG player for Atari, X11, IBM here `xanim' (X-Windows) (Mark Podlipec). DL, FLI, FLC, GIF, IFF, MovieSetter, PFX, Quicktime, RLE Official FTP site: `ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/applications/xanim???.tar.Z'. WWW page . DFV from the same person who gave you DTA (Dave's Targa Animator), comes Dave's Flic Viewer (?). Available in `ftp://ftp.povray.org/pub/povray/utilities' Anim-Format Conversion ---------------------- *Mainactor* (for Amiga) available on Aminet (in `gfx/edit', will read 14 formats including GIF, IFF-ILBM, IFF-ANIM[5,7,8], MPEG, FL[CI], and write most of these (not GIF or MPEG) You can add sound effects and edit your animations too. Autodesk *Animator* (for PC) will play and convert IFF ANIMs to FLI/FLC anims. This section could do with a few more entries. Animation Sites =============== `ftp://ftp.univ-rennes1.fr/Images/ASTRO/anim/' Space anims `ftp://ftp.cnam.fr/Fractals/anim/' Fractal anims `http://w3.eeb.ele.tue.nl/mpeg/index.html' here : Various MPEG anims `ftp://ftp.wustl.edu/pub/aminet/gfx/anim/Kinetic.lha' here : Various Amiga anims (also on other aminet sites) `ftp://ftp.povray.org' POV-anims `http://www.cs.ubc.ca/nest/imager/imager.html' here : mpeg animations done using hierarchical b-splines. For more on the modeller see `Dragon'. Mat Carr's animations Find them here . Red's Nightmare (a ray-traced animation) Here: . "Grinning Evil Death" (featuring a cockroach and a breakfast cereal superhero) and other computer animation is available in video stores as "The Computer Animation Festival, Volume 1". See 3DWEB for more sites. See `faq://graphics/faq' for PIXAR ordering info. Hobby Animation *************** This chapter's for those who want to make their own animation. Animation Process ================= [by charles king and angus] Things don't necessarily have to happen in this order (or at all), and there's room for plenty of feedback between them, especially in computer animation, but here's the basic flow. Although it's an advantage (both for the animator and the software) to integrate as many stages as possible in the one package, and most `animation' packages do so, in practice all packages have their relative merits and work may be swapped from package to package to exploit their strengths, especially in `high end' studios. This sequence assumes that the animation has already been scripted. *Model Design* *input* script *tool* Modeller *task* making the models to be animated *output* models *Animation Design* *input* models, script *tool* Animation Package *task* planning and tuning sequences of motion, action, interaction, ... *output* animation script *Production / Rendering* *input* models, animation script *tools* Renderer front-end, Renderer *task* generating images from which the animation is to be constructed *output* images *Post-Production* *input* images, script *tools* Editor, Compositor, Paint, Image Processing, other SFX Packages *task* modifying, compositing, sequencing the images *output* final sequence of images *Transfer* *input* sequence of images *tools* various media, media i/o hardware *task* transferring the frames to the desired medium *output* the product Venues ====== [See `Animation Sites', for FTP sites that carry animation.] Conferences ----------- [See `References', for more information on these.] SIGGRAPH (siggraph) EG w'shop (eg) CGI (cgs) Computer Animation (cgs) Graphics Interface Events ------ Imagina Prix Ars Electronica: International Competition for the Computer Arts. This is a biennial event, so won't be on again until 1996. 1994 information follows. ~$42k US in prizes for animation. General Info '94: (Peter Schoeber) mail: ORF-Prix Ars Electronica, Europaplatz 3, A-4010 Linz, Austria. phone: +43 (732) 6900-267, fax: -270, telex: +21616 email: `schoeber@jk.uni-linz.ac.net' Presentation: 22 jun 94. Animation Info '94: (Christine Schpf) phone: +43 (732) 6900-218 Deadline: 28 feb 94. Animation Media *************** This chapter's about the various media an animation might end up on, and how to get it there. Both GWEB and 3DWEB have information on animation hardware and software. Media Properties ================ Video ----- (NTSC PAL SECAM HDTV fields composite component synch RGB analog digital...) To subscribe to the NewTeK Video Toaster mailing list: `mail://toaster-request@bobsbox.rent.com//"subscribe toaster-l ()"'. Video Formats ------------- -format- -by- -use- -A/D- -comp...- -other- VHS JVC home analog composite 1/2" Video8/8mm Sony home analog ... 8mm Betamax Sony home analog composite 1/2" SVHS JVC prosumer analog ... 1/2" Hi-8 Sony prosumer analog ... 8mm ED Beta Sony prosumer? analog component ... M (M1)? Matsu industrial? analog ... ... U-Matic 3/4" Sony? industrial analog composite 3/4" Betacam Sony industrial? analog component 1/2" M2 Matsu broadcast? analog component ... U-Matic SP Sony? broadcast? analog ... ... Betacam SP Sony broadcast analog component ... D-3 Matsu broadcast digital composite ... DCT Ampex broadcast digital component compressed D-2 Ampex master on-air digital composite uncompressed? D-1 Sony master RGB digital component uncompressed other formats? other properties (image encoding techniques, sound quality, effective number of `lines', ...) notes: D-1 endorsed by SMPTE committee Matsu == Matsushita == Panasonic Film ---- (8mm super-8 16,32,72mm anamorphic stock ...) normal film grain ~2500 lpi resolution. slow film <-> higher resolution. 32mm: 0.875" x 1.3125" (2:3) Media I/O ========= (VCRs genlocks frame-stores film-scanners) *Film Recorders:* most film recorders have at least 2000 lpi resolution, 4000 is typical. for optimum quality, your image should be a little over twice the resolution of the recording medium. *Screen-To-Camera:* a cheap (but surprisingly effective) option for images that can be displayed at full resolution on your monitor is to photograph the screen directly using a single-framing camera. film better than super-8 is likely to be overkill. any lights on your monitor should be taped over, and the whole lot should be put under a black hood (made of cardboard or anything else handy). A slow film (100 ASA or slower, the slower the better), f8 exposure, and loong exposures should eliminate any scanline artifacts. Resolution / Aspect ------------------- film recorders: 2000+ lpi (4000 typical). 35mm: ~2500 lpi at .875" x 1.3125" ~= 2200 x 3300 pixels. (2:3) lpi == lines per inch. Career Animation **************** This chapter's for those who want to make a career of computer animation. (See `Hobby Animation' for Animation Process, Software, Venues) 3DWEB holds resumes, and has information on job offers, CGI production houses, organisations, laboratories and projects. GWEB has industry interviews, information on production houses, and job listings. Your Union ========== The Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE (California) has an ftp site with copies of their negotiated awards, news, courses, etc: `ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/mpsc839/' (email `mpsc@netcom.com' for more) Animation Theory **************** This chapter covers the basics of what computer animation is about according to graphics academics (well, it's meant to). Types of Computer Animation =========================== 2-d --- Most computer animation takes place in the 3-d world, as our world is itself basically 3-d, and model interpolation becomes a problem in fewer dimensions, due to a lack of context. 2-d animation packages mostly replicate the processes of cel-based animation, where "key-frames" are used to plot the course of the animation, and the "inbetweens" (interpolating the keys) are filled in later (by an animator, not the computer). The main difference is that the images are created using pixel-based, rather than oil-based techniques. "Morphing" is probably the major 2-d animation technique in use today. Like most other computer work used for SFX in film (wire-removal, compositing, other retouching, etc), it is largely a matter of image manipulation (image processing) rather than image creation (computer graphics), although morphing *is* an animated technique, unlike many other SFX `graphics' techniques. A good starter on morphing by Valerie Hall (1992) is here , it references more detailed works for those interested, she's also written a morphing article in DDJ (1993). 3-d --- Almost all `computer animation' done today is done within the "event-based" or, interchangeably, "track-based" computer animation paradigm, which is based loosely on the key-framing system used in cel-based animation. Most computer animation systems today are built around time-varying parameters, known as "tracks", which determine the state of the animation world at any time. Tracks take the place of the variables which determine the state of a static scene: they're `animation variables'. A track's value at a given time depends on the "events" ( tuples) that define the track's state, and on the interpolation technique being used [see `Interpolation']. Events are conceptually similar to the key-frames of cel-based animation, but allow much more flexibility due to their finer grain (state-variable, rather than world-state). Although tracks may not be independant, they may usefully be treated as such, leading to the "hierarchical animation" technique espoused by Lasseter [see `References'], where the gross motion of a model is animated first, followed by animation of progressively finer detail. The number of tracks that need to be dealt with, and their often compicated interdependencies, make animating anything of reasonable complexity a big job both in terms of time and effort. Hence most of the subsequent research in computer animation. Inverse Kinematics ------------------ "Kinematics" is the science of movement: position, velocity, acceleration, and their rotational equivalents. "Forward kinematics", used in the context of an articulated structure (something with joints), is determining the positions of the links given the joint angles between them -- ie starting at the `top' of the hierarchy, we work our way along it, applying the relevant transformations, until the end-positions are known -- it's easy for the programmer, and it's the way things are normally done. However, it's quite difficult for an animator who simply wants the hand of a model to be `here', or `there' -- what the animator has to do is adjust each of the joints in the structure in order to arrive at the desired position. "Inverse kinematics" reverses the situation, making things easy for the animator by allowing an end-effector to be dragged wherever desired, but hard for the programmer/computer because the problem is underconstrained (many configurations of the joints may produce the desired end-position, which one is used?) and ill-conditioned (small changes in the end-position can mean large changes in the joints). Interpolation ============= To be done. * 1-d interpolation * 3-d rotation interpolation * euler angles and gimbal lock * quaternions References ========== For general computer graphics references, check out the comp.graphics FAQ. In particular, "Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice" and "Digital Image Warping" both have relevance. For information on animation (computer and general) books, try Debry , and 3DWEB . A recently started collection of off-the-cuff reviews of animation books . Information about a mailing list for animators (of all persuasions) and wannabees is here . Books (Industry) ---------------- Morrison, Mike, "Becoming a Computer Animator", Prentice-Hall, 1994. covers computer animation history, technology (and how to keep up with it), techniques. with tutorials, interviews with industry luminaries, buyer's guide (s/w and h/w), how to find work, getting an education. a chapter ea. on: television, motion pictures, visualisation, forensic, games. incl. 600Mb CD-ROM of PC & Mac animation and software. "International Directory of Computer Animation Producers", Pixel, 1994. 800+ separate listings of producers in 44 countries. listings include company profiles. also lists animation schools. see Pixel, in `Organisations', below, for ordering info. "The Roncarelli Report on the Computer Animation Industry", Pixel, 1993. market status and strategic analysis for the global computer animation industry. an annual. "3d Modeling Lab", Philip Shaddock, Waite Group, 1994. includes disk with v2.0 of Imagine (see `Impulse - Imagine'). Books (Computer Animation) -------------------------- Leister, W, M\"uller, H, and St\"o\3er, A "Fotorealistische Computeranimation", Springer-Verlag, 1991. ISBN 3-540-53234-X. text in German. introductory text for both artists and computer scientists. covers: animation , modelling, rendering, video, post-production. includes 60-page glossary. [thanks Wolfgang Leister] Vince, John, "3D Computer Animation", Addison-Wesley, 1992. introductory animation theory for programming. Watt, Alan and Watt, Mark "Advanced Animation and Rendering Techniques", Addison-Wesley, 1992. an excellent text, covering important implementation theory and details. Whitney, John, "Digital Harmony". ?. storyboarding. Books (Animation) ----------------- Arijon, Daniel, "The Grammar of the Film Language". ?. storyboarding. Culhane, Shamus, "Animation: from script to screen", St. Martin's Press, 1988. ex-disney animator describes the whole animation process. including production details, setting up a studio, storyboards, character animation, and more. culhane manages to fit a lot into relatively small book. Halas, John, "Visual Scripting". ?. storyboarding. Hoffer, Thomas, "Animation: a reference guide", Greenwood Press, 1993. ? Muybridge, Eadweard, "The Human Figure in Motion", Dover Press. ISBN 0-486-20204-6 Muybride, Eadweard, "Animals in Motion", Dover Press. ISBN 0-486-20203-8 muybridge spent years taking sequences of strobe photos of animal and human movement. the photos are a great help for anyone trying to make something move properly. some more good books for the coffee table Russet, Robert, and Starr, Cecile, "Experimental Animation". ?. storyboarding. Thomas, Frank and Johnston, Ollie "Disney Animation: the illusion of life", Abbeville Press, NY, 1981. a look at many of the techniques and approaches used by the disney studios. occasionally referred to as `The Animation Bible' (due to its size and the value of its contents). the disney `rules of animation' and many other useful rules-of-thumb are included. unfortunately out-of-print, so grab any copy you can. lots of pretty piccies make it good for your coffee table, too! ?, "The Cinema as a Graphic Art". ?. storyboarding. Journals -------- "Cinefex", Cinefex. the special-effects industry magazine, with reviews of how the SFX in major films were done. increasingly, this means computer animation. "Computer Artist". "Computer Graphics", ACM/SIGGRAPH. SIGGRAPH's journal. Proc. SIGGRAPH is published in one issue. some special issues are also of note. "Computer Graphics Forum", Eurographics (EG). Eurographics' journal. Proc. Eurographics is published in one issue. rarely contains anything of note for animation. "Computer Graphics World", CGW. a graphics industry magazine. product reviews, industry news. "The Journal of Visualization and Computer Animation", ?. "Pixel -- the computer animation newsletter", Pixel. `inside' news on the computer animation industry. Proc. "Computer Animation", Springer-Verlag / CGS. proceedings of CGS's computer animation conference Proc. "Computer Graphics International", Springer-Verlag / CGS. proceedings of the second-largest graphics conference Proc. "Eurographics", see "Computer Graphics Forum". Proc. "Eurographics Workshop on Animation and Simulation", Eurographics. Proc. "Graphics Interface". proceedings of an important graphics conference. Proc. "SIGGRAPH", Addison-Wesley / ACM Press / ACM/SIGGRAPH, see "Computer Graphics". proceedings of the largest graphics conference "3d Artist", Columbine, Inc. desktop 3d graphics for and by independent artists: tips and tricks, 3d news, reviews, classifieds. "The Visual Computer", Computer Graphics Society (CGS). a good graphics journal An extensive list of computer graphics journals, including ordering and other information is available from Juhana Kouhia `' Organisations ------------- ACM/SIGGRAPH -- The ACM Special Interest Group on Graphics. Computer Graphics Society. Eurographics. Pixel -- the computer animation news people, inc. 109 Vanderhoof Ave, Suite 2, Toronto, ON, Canada M4G 2H7. (416) 424-4657. (Fax) 424-1812. PO Box 1674 5325 Sheridan Drive, Williamsville, NY, USA 14231-1674. Papers ------ Lasseter, John, "Principles of Traditional Animation Applied to 3D Computer Animation" Computer Graphics, July 1987, Proc. SIGGRAPH '87. Lasseter relates the disney principles of animation (see Thomas and Johnston, above) to computer animation, and introduces `hierarchical' animation while he's at it. Shoemake, Ken, "Animating Rotation with Quaternion Curves" Computer Graphics, July 1985, Proc. SIGGRAPH '85. an early quaternion paper. there are probably better ones, anyone? Animation Software ****************** GWEB and 3DWEB both have information on animation software. SGI's WWW site has pointers to applications that run on their machines. The following fields in the product listings have been excised in the posted version for the sake of brevity: Platform, Company, Cost, Notes. A separate post follows with the full software listings. 3-d Package Reviews =================== Reviews of the following six high-end UNIX animation packages are now available by ftp from avalon . Originally published in Computer Graphics World Oct-Nov 1993, internet distribution thanks to Chris Williams Jan '94. * Alias Animator (see `Alias - Animator') * ElectroGIG 3DGO (see `ElectroGIG - 3DGO') * Softimage Creative Environment (see `Softimage - Creative Environment') * TDI Explore (see `TDI - Explore') * Vertigo Revolution (see `Vertigo - Revolution') * Wavefront Advanced Visualiser (see `Wavefront - Advanced Visualiser') 3-d Packages ============ AERO ---- Resources AERO web page. Available by FTP `ftp://ftp.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pub/AERO/'. Alias *Animator* ---------------- aka *PowerAnimator* Resources The Alias Web site: `Alian Nation'. An independent Alias WWW site , and associated ftp site `ftp://ftp.uni-wuppertal.de/pub/graphics/Alias/'. The `comp.graphics.packages.alias' newsgroup. For a review, see `3-d Package Reviews'. To subscribe to the mailing list: `mail://listserv@uga.cc.uga.edu//"subscribe alias-l Your_Name"'. Autodesk *3D Studio* -------------------- Resources To subscribe to the mailing list: `mail://3dstudio-request@bobsbox.rent.com//"subscribe 3dstudio-L (Your Real Name)"'. There's an occasional FAQ: `post://comp.graphics.animation/"3DS FAQ"'. You can find objects here: `ftp://avalon.vislab.navy.mil/pub/objects/3ds/'. Caligari *TrueSpace* -------------------- ex Octree *Caligari* on the Amiga Resources There's a Compuserve forum. Caligari is `'. Mike Morrison's `Becoming a Computer Animator' (see `Books (Industry)') includes a CD-ROM with the v2.0 demo version on it. There's a demo version and some other stuff available by FTP here: `ftp://ftp.netnet.net/pub/truespace/utils/'. ComputerEasy *3-D Design Plus* ------------------------------ Resources - Digital Creations *DCTV* ------------------------ Resources To subscribe to the mailing list: `mail://DCTV-request@nova.cc.purdue.edu//'. Dragon ------ Resources Get the modeller (SGI binary only) and some models from `ftp://ftp.cs.ubc.ca/pub/pickup/forsey/' Some animations using the modeller are here EAI *Vislab* ------------ Resources - ElectricImage ------------- Resources - ElectroGIG *3DGO* ----------------- Resources For a review, see `3-d Package Reviews'. ElectroGIG's WWW page . Hash *Animation Master* ----------------------- ex Playmation, ex Animation Journeyman (Playmation still sells) Resources For direct help/information email `animmaster@aol.com'. To subscribe to the mailing list: `mail://listserv@netcom.com//"subscribe animaster-l"'. A WWW site . FTP some information . Or simply FTP around here: `ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/gavingav/'. There's also stuff here . Impulse *Imagine* ----------------- Resources To subscribe to the mailing list: `mail://imagine-request@email.eag.unisysgsg.com//'. Philip Shaddock's `3D Modeling Lab' (see `Books (Computer Animation)') includes a copy of v2.0 on disk. NatPix *Blizzard* ----------------- Resources A WWW site . Get the demo version by FTP . NewTeK *Lightwave 3D* --------------------- Resources An FTP site: `ftp://tomahawk.welch.jhu.edu/pub/LW' To subscribe to the mailing list: `mail://lightwave-request@bobsbox.rent.com//"subscribe lightwave-l ()"'. ObjViewer --------- Resources Get a Macintosh binary over the WWW . Radiance *Movieola* ------------------- Resources - RealSoft *Real 3D* ------------------ Resources There is a demo here: `ftp://uunorth.north.net'. Renderize *Live / Visual Reality* --------------------------------- Resources - Side Effects *PRISMS* --------------------- Resources - Softimage *Creative Environment* -------------------------------- Resources For a review, see `3-d Package Reviews'. There are a number of softimage-related mailing lists at `softimage.co.uk'. These are the lists: `2d, 3d, discussion, eddie, mental, particles, pfx'. To subscribe, mail to the listname with `-request' added to it, with the subject `subscribe'. For example, to subscribe to the `3d' list, use: `mail://3d-request@softimage.co.uk/subscribe/'. There's also a Web site . Specular *Infini-D* ------------------- Resources - Strata *StudioPro* ------------------ Resources - Symbolics *S-Products* ---------------------- S-Dynamics, S-Geometry, S-Render, S-Paint, S-Record, S-Colorize, ... Resources - TDI *Explore* ------------- now Wavefront (see `Wavefront - Explore') Resources For a review, see `3-d Package Reviews'. TripleI *ARKAttack* ------------------- Resources - TurboSilver ----------- Resources - Vertigo *Revolution* -------------------- Resources For a review, see `3-d Package Reviews'. Vision Images *Revelation 3d* ----------------------------- Resources - Wavefront *Advanced Visualiser* ------------------------------- Resources For a review, see `3-d Package Reviews'. The `comp.soft-sys.wavefront' newsgroup. To subscribe to the mailing list: `mail://listserv@psuvm.cac.psu.edu//"subscribe wavefr-l "'. There is a 2-way gateway between the mailing list and the newsgroup. A WWW site . Wavefront *Explore* ------------------- ex TDI *Explore* (see `TDI - Explore') Resources For a review of TDI Explore see `3-d Package Reviews'. The `comp.soft-sys.wavefront' newsgroup, which is predominantly concerned with the Advanced Visualiser. 2-d Packages ============ 2-d packages included here are for 2-d animation, and multimedia and video presentation and editing. Autodesk *Animator Pro* ----------------------- aka Animator Studio (?) Resources - AXA --- Resources - CAS *Animo* ----------- Resources Contact CAS as `admin@cam-ani-co.uk'. Deluxe Paint ------------ Resources - Disney *Animation Studio* ------------------------- Resources - Gold Disk *Animation Works* --------------------------- Resources - Hanna-Barbera *Animation Workshop* ---------------------------------- Resources - Linker ------ Resources - Macromedia *Action!* -------------------- Resources - MetroLight *Annie* ------------------ Resources - MotionWorks *ProMotion* ----------------------- Resources - Vision Images *Animator Broadcast* ---------------------------------- Resources - Softimage *Toons* ----------------- Resources - Morph Packages ============== DMorph ------ Resources Find it by FTP as this . Elastic Reality *Morph Plus* ---------------------------- Resources - SPMorph ------- Resources Order full version from Scott Pultz `'. Available by FTP as the following. From oakland.edu From eskimo.com From wuarchive RMorph ------ Resources Available by FTP . WinMorph -------- Resources Available by FTP in `ftp://phoenix.oulu.fi/...', and also on `garbo.uwasa.fi' and `ftp.funic.fi'. Renderer Front & Back Ends ========================== [For POV] Use this or on `ftp.pov.org' somewhere. It allows you to write script files that handles spline paths, along with many other features. `3DPATH.ZIP'. Define several control points and the number of frames between the points, and it would generate an animation based on that info by changing the camera position. SIPP rendering library -> PPM frames. [`ppm' toolkit] -> `GIF or something'. [`fbmtofli'] -> FLI animation. Find them all with `archie'. link GIF, TGA, PCX images together to make a FLI or FLC anim: Dave's Targa Animator (DTA), available in `ftp://ftp.povray.org/pub/povray/utilities', and on other sites (find one near you with `archie'). Miscellaneous ************* This chapter isn't about anything in particular. Creating this FAQ ================= This section excised for the sake of brevity in the posted version. Acknowledgements ================ This section excised for the sake of brevity in the posted version (but thanks anyway, everyone). -- angus@godzilla.cgl.rmit.edu.au graphics/animation postgrad melbourne australia

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