Computer Animation is an art in which moving images are created with the help of computers. In the recent past Computer Animation history, 3D computer graphics are being used largely for creating computer animation, although 2D computer graphics is still used a lot to achieve real-time rendering at a faster rate.
Different types of computer animations are used in different mediums, for example films and in computer itself. The computer generated animation used in films or computer animation movies is known as CGI (Computer Generated Imagery).
The prime objective of computer animation is to create a false impression of movement. To achieve this, a single image is shown on the computer screen and then it is replaced by a different image transiently which is the same as the old image but shifted slightly a bit. This is exactly the same way the impression of movement is created with motion pictures and television.
In order to deceive the human eye and brain to think that what they are looking at is a smoothly moving image, the pictures need to be drawn at about 12 frames per second or even faster. With rates of more than 70 frames per second, no further improvements in realism can be traced by the eye and the brain due the time lapse during the image processing. However, at rates less than 12 frames per second, the jerkiness that results from the drawing of the newer images can be detected and this hampers the illusion of realistic movement.
A number of animation software is available for use with computers that can be used to create computer animation. Among them, some of the popular software is 3D Studio Max, Amorphium, Art of Illusion, Adobe Flash, Alice, XSI, Softimage and many more. All these Computer Animation software are available at various prices and it depends mainly on the target market. Some great animation can be produced with simple programs but if one is using an ordinary home PC, the rendering can become very time consuming. This is one of the reasons why video game animators use low polygon count renders and low resolution so that the animation can be properly rendered in real time on an ordinary home PC.
Professional animators however create high-detail photo-realistic animation for television, movies and the video sequences in many 3D games. This high-quality animation would perhaps take several years to create using a home PC. A number of high-end workstations are therefore used for this purpose. These graphics workstations make use of about two to four processors and therefore generate a lot more power than an ordinary household PC. A series of workstations collectively known as a render farm are linked together to function collectively as a giant computer. This can help develop an animated movies that can take around one to five years.
Computer animation is a very distinct and fruitful field which needs proficiency in creativity as well as technical expertise. A student who wants to pursue a career in computer animation needs a have a very solid foundation in the basics of drawing and arts. This is the platform from where one's creativity starts to build. Once a student has this pre-requisite, he can move forward with two and three dimensional illustrations as well as the technical stuffs associated with it. All these Computer Animation skills are important before stepping into the world of digital media.
An array of user-friendly software packages is available which is abolishing the need of the specific knowledge for the students to gaining employment. It is rather more helpful for them to get a grip of the core skills that transpose from one program to another, for example, texture mapping and motion capture. If a student concentrates one the digital medium generally, it increases his computer animation career by not restricting himself to a particular computer animation program that may become obsolete in a year. When it comes to choosing computer animation schools or Computer Animation colleges or computer animation training tutorials, an appropriate Computer Animation school should be chosen that can provide all-rounded education and computer animation degree. A student should make sure that the Computer Animation school has experienced instructors, a diverse coursework and a state-of-the-art computer lab.