Last Wednesday we took the bus to a museum nearby which was showing an exhibition about 3D movie animation in detail about Blue Sky studios and their work. The animation studio is located nearby in the town of Katonah. They did a couple of famous Hollywood movies, for example, Robots, Ice Age, and Rio, which are mostly films for children and families. Before the artists can produce the actual movie with the computer they have to figure out how everything should look and they do it by just trying it out on paper. That's what they were presenting at the museum, sketches of movie parts covering everything from whole scenes to characters. Some of them were very detailed and colored while some were just quick drawings. I saw most of their movies myself and recognized a lot of actual parts in the drawings. Every character and detail has to be developed over a long period and changes a lot until the artists are completely satisfied, therefore there were also a lot of ideas on paper which never made it into the movies. After the artists are satisfied with their sketches of the movie, they have to make it real with the computer. The process is very complex, but basically you have to make a 3D model of everything in the computer so you can look at it from all sides and then make it move the way you want. At the end of our visit we could do our own little animation, but unfortunately not on the same level as the movies. To do that we just used an ipad with an animation app, which is free to download. We cut out little characters, painted them, and moved them over a background slowly step by step while the ipad was always taking pictures after we had moved the model another inch. Then the ipad put all the separate pictures into one video (see video below) which made it look like the models would move by their selves. Unfortunately they didn't let me take any photos of the exhibition so I can't show you guys anything, so you have to go yourself if you are interested.
by Finn Bauer, Fall 2012 ELI Student from Germany