The center of University Center of Technology and Digital Art (U-tad) has organized these past few weeks multiple free online workshops so that those students who finish the ESO or Bachillerato stage shortly and they are thinking about dedicating themselves to animation, digital design or videogames to get to know these fields a little to see if they are their vocation. One of these workshops will be about 3D animation with an explanation of the basic concepts in this art and a introduction to the management of the free software Blender. Like all the teachings that the center is giving since the state of alarm was declared by the Covid-19, the workshops are taught online usingthe Blackboard Collaborate platform.
Jos Molina, technical engineer with more than 12 years of experience in the world of animation in which he has participated in more than 40 films and currently Lead Rigging Artist at Skydance Animation Madrid (former Ilion, author of "Planet 51"), in addition to teaching in U-tad, imparted the 3D Animation workshop with Blender in which they participated about 30 students and it started by showing the differences between classic 2D animation and the one that moves characters in three dimensions with examples like remake from "The King Len" or the passage of the Disney princesses from 2D to 3D in "Rompe Ralph".
Molina showed through different examples what traditional animation was like, with animations at 24 frames per second
The entertainers, said Molina, they can be a generalist and know a little about everything, or a specialist either in a program or a specific type of animation, such as animals or crowds. Large companies look for entertainers as specialized as possible, while small companies have to do a little work on everything, said the professor.
One of the key concepts that the teacher defined is that of pipeline, the workflow that since the Art department designs a character until the final image is prepared to be seen in theaters. It all starts with the idea of what you want to tell, normally the director of the movie, who accompanied by scriptwriters and prepares the creation of the storyboard (the narration in quick drawings that describe everything that happens throughout the project) and the writers. Unlike a live action film, in which shots are recorded and then the director chooses, in the animation everything that is done is expensive, so the director first decides what he wants to see and then the team takes him to cape.
Molina said that the sequences are usually approved first and then the plans. When a sequence is approved, research and development is done, if necessary. Artists model the character in 3D "normally in a neutral pose, and having appeal"he said. The next step is textured, so that the character looks in the desired style, and the rigging, which consists of providing the model with "bones" and expressions so that it can move in the desired way. Is how to add strings to a puppet so that later the animator can move it on the camera. In the case of video games, the teacher specified, the riggs they must work in real time and at a higher frame rate per second than in movies and they have to work from all angles since in the cinema the camera does not move and in a video game the player can move it.
Animation and special effects are the ones in charge of shaping the movement and from there it goes on to lighting and rendering. The latter is in charge of the films of take a picture of everything that has to appear on the camera, advances a frame and take another to generate 24 images per second. The last steps are adjusting the times, cutting some sequence and including the credits.
Molina is answering questions from the more than 35 students who attend the workshop
After completing the explanation of the 3D animation process, the teacher is guiding the students Through Blender, the chosen animation program, a softtware free managed by the Blender Foundation. Molina shows a short made with Blender and encourages to see the open movies where you can see how they have been done. The program shows a three-dimensional world in which objects are located. U-tad Provide players with the items used for this workshop so that attendees became familiar with the program and its possibilities by carrying out different tests and movements with the downloaded pieces, first using a square to see basic parts and then establishing bones in some figures to articulate them. Molina even showed what a simple 2D animation looks like. but showy.
These workshops U-tad they are a good contact for future university students. In the case of the 3D animation workshop, the initial explanation showed little-known aspects of the process for the general public, everything narrated in a pleasant way, and the practical aspect, being accessible, probably a desire to delve deeper into one of the attendees in Blender and, perhaps, dedicate to being an animator of movies or video games in the future.