Creation of 3-D Digital Content

Different animation projects have different requirements and there is no one solution that fits all, however there exist slight similarities in some processes during the production execution.  For 3-D video content production, identical workflow is used albeit with some variations. These workflows help in breaking down all tasks into manageable components which are the worked on individually from one to the other precisely. These are the 3-D animation workflow breakdown: –
  1. Project Brief: Requirement gathering, ideas drafting from conception to actualization with different elements that would convey the needed message – Brand and Product.
  1. Planning: After project brief session with the team and stakeholders, the next step is the planning phase which involves the implementation strategy of the project and research on the components to make the project complete to achieve the desired look. This phase sometimes involves the use of a storyboard which is a series of drawings that convey an idea that will be translated into visual form.
  1. 3-D Modelling: The planning phase now gives the artist a crystal-clear picture of what the modeling phase will produce. This phase employs the use of primitive shapes (Cubes, Spheres, Cylinders, etc) and modifies these shapes in whatever object the project requires.  The phase is time-consuming, intensive especially on complex items for the look and feel.
  1. Texturing: This is the process of applying materials to 3-D models. This is done by preparing image textures from photoshop then overlaying them onto the models or by using nodes or a combination of both. Nodes is a method whereby different properties housed in different nodes are combined to produce a desired result. Nodes are better because they are non-destructive especially when logos or app screen is required in the design.
  1. Rigging: This is the process of setting up a control system to drive the movement of objects. It is the most technical phase as it sometimes requires formulation of equations to affect the object in a very specific way, for example when control A is moved on the X-axis object B rotates to a certain degree.
  1. Animation: When the rig has been set up, the next step is animation. This involves moving the object using the control rig and setting keyframes which store information on transformations (i.e. Transform, Rotation and Scale). Each movement has to be keyframed, if not it will not be saved. This process is then repeated for all the objects in a scene that require animation.
  1. Lighting: This is the process of adding lights to a scene to bring out a mood and to enhance materials placed on an object. Also, the render engine uses these lights to come up with a rendered image or video.
  1. Compositing: This is the process of combining all rendered files. The complexity of this process depends on the render setup and the requirements of the project. The output is a render composite.
  1. Editing and Final Output: This is the final step. Music is added and combined with the rendered composite. This is then exported out as an MP4 video using Premiere Pro.
By Einstein Wafula  


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