Architectural Animation is a short architectural movie created on a
computer. A computer-generated building is created along with
landscaping and sometimes moving people and vehicles. Unlike an
architectural rendering, which is a single image from a single point
of view, an architectural animation is a series of hundreds or even
thousands of still images. When these images are assembled and
played back they produce a movie effect much like a real movie
camera except all images are artificially created by computer. It is
possible to add a computer-created environment around the building
to enhance reality and to better convey its relationship to the
surrounding area; this can all be done before the project is built
giving designers and stakeholders a realistic view of the completed
project. Architectural renderings are often used along with
Commercial demand for computer-generated rendering is on the rise,
but three-dimensional scale models are still popular. Typically
members of the AIA (American Institute of Architects) and NAHB
(National Association of Home Builders) prefer to use 3D animations
and single renderings for their customers before starting on a
construction project. These professionals often find their clients
are unable to grasp the complexity and spacial qualities of large
projects without the help of computer generated visual aids. The
animations and renderings are usually supplied by small animation
Architectural animation is not considered to be the ambition of most
small computer rendering firms because of the man hours and computer
rendering time that is required to create so many single still
images. Not all studios have the software to assemble and
incorporate them into a moving sequence. Some smaller companies
specialize in high quality single frame computer renderings.
Architectural animations require a larger team of artists and
animators than single renderings and a much longer time frame is
required to complete an animation project. However, many
architectural firms are now using architectural animation because it
attracts investors and customers who may not know much about
building designs. Architectural animation is considered to have a
bright future ahead of it as more and more architects and real
estate developers are including computer animations in their
3D demo of city planning
3D demo of landscape planning
Restoration of ancient architecture
Simulation of product and engineering design
Digital sand-table system for city/community planning
GIS (Geographic information system)
Multifunctional educational system
Simulation and restoration of cultural heritage and ancient
Virtual shopping mall
Computer animation encompasses a variety of
techniques, the unifying factor being that the animation is created
digitally on a computer.
2D animation figures are created and/or edited on the computer using
2D bitmap graphics or created and edited using 2D vector graphics.
This includes automated computerized versions of traditional
animation techniques such as of tweening, morphing, onion skinning
and interpolated rotoscoping.
3D animation is digitally modeled and manipulated by an animator. In
order to manipulate a mesh, it is given a digital skeletal structure
that can be used to control the mesh. This process is called
rigging. Various other techniques can be applied, such as
mathematical functions (ex. gravity, particle simulations),
simulated fur or hair, effects such as fire and water and the use of
motion capture to name but a few, these techniques fall under the
category of 3D dynamics. Well-made 3D animations can be difficult to
distinguish from live action and are commonly used as visual effects
for recent movies. Toy Story (1995, USA) is the first feature-length
film to be created and rendered entirely using 3D graphics.
Photo realistic animation, is used primarily for animation that
attempts to resemble real life. Using advanced rendering that makes
detailed skin, plants, water, fire, clouds, etc. to mimic real life.
Examples include Up (2009, USA), Kung-Fu Panda (2008, USA), Ice Age
Cel-shaded animation, is used to mimic traditional animation using
CG software. Shading looked stark and less blending colors. Examples
include, Skyland (2007, France), Appleseed (2007, Japan), The Legend
of Zelda: Wind Waker (2002, Japan)
Motion capture, is used when live action actors wear special suits
that allow computers to copy their movements into CG characters.
Examples include Polar Express (2004, USA), Beowulf (2007, USA),
Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009, USA), Avatar (2009, USA), and Mars
Needs Moms (2011, USA).
2D animation techniques tend to focus on image manipulation while 3D
techniques usually build virtual worlds in which characters and
objects move and interact. 3D animation can create images that seem
real to the viewer.
Other animation techniques
Drawn on film animation: a technique where footage is produced by
creating the images directly on film stock, for example by Norman
McLaren, Len Lye and Stan Brakhage.
Paint-on-glass animation: a technique for making animated films by
manipulating slow drying oil paints on sheets of glass, for example
by Aleksandr Petrov.
Erasure animation: a technique using tradition 2D medium,
photographed over time as the artist manipulates the image. For
example, William Kentridge is famous for his charcoal erasure films,
and Piotr Dumała for his auteur technique of animating scratches on
Pinscreen animation: makes use of a screen filled with movable pins,
which can be moved in or out by pressing an object onto the screen.
The screen is lit from the side so that the pins cast shadows. The
technique has been used to create animated films with a range of
textural effects difficult to achieve with traditional cel
Sand animation: sand is moved around on a back- or front-lighted
piece of glass to create each frame for an animated film. This
creates an interesting effect when animated because of the light
Flip book: A flip book (sometimes, especially in British English,
called a flick book) is a book with a series of pictures that vary
gradually from one page to the next, so that when the pages are
turned rapidly, the pictures appear to animate by simulating motion
or some other change. Flip books are often illustrated books for
children, but may also be geared towards adults and employ a series
of photographs rather than drawings. Flip books are not always
separate books, but may appear as an added feature in ordinary books
or magazines, often in the page corners. Software packages and
websites are also available that convert digital video files into
custom-made flip books.
For many years, I have lived
uncomfortably with the belief that most planning and architectural design
suffers for lack of real and basic purpose. The ultimate purpose, it seems
to me, must be the improvement of mankind.
I am but an architectural composer.
Alexander Jackson Davis
I hope that America as a whole, and especially its architects, will become
more seriously involved in producing a new architectural culture that would
bring the nation to the apex - where it has stood before - and lead the
I look upon myself as a musical bricklayer with architectural aspirations.
I'd say that my profession ends where architectural thinking ends -
architectural thinking in terms of thinking about programs and
organizational structure. These abstractions play a role in many other
disciplines, and those disciplines are now defining their 'architectures' as
I'm not an architectural composer.
It fills one with a sense of architectural possibility.
It was always my intention that The Frieze should be housed in a room which
would provide a suitable architectural frame for it.
Profit and bottom line, the contemporary mantra, eliminates the very source
of architectural expression.
Supply and demand regulate architectural form.
The center of Western culture is Greece, and we have never lost our ties
with the architectural concepts of that ancient civilization.