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Architectural Animation   |  3D Animation

 

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 architectural animation.

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 studios.

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 marketing programs.

Architectural visualization:

3D rendering
3D walk-through
3D demo of city planning
3D demo of landscape planning
Restoration of ancient architecture

Animation:

Rendering
Simulation of product and engineering design

Virtual Reality:

Digital sand-table system for city/community planning
GIS (Geographic information system)
Multifunctional educational system
Simulation and restoration of cultural heritage and ancient architecture
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.

Terms

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 (2002, USA).
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 plaster.
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 animation.
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 contrast.
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.
James Rouse

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 world.
Tadao Ando

I look upon myself as a musical bricklayer with architectural aspirations.
Robert Mayer

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 well.
Rem Koolhaas

I'm not an architectural composer.
Harrison Birtwistle

It fills one with a sense of architectural possibility.
Paul Goldberger

It was always my intention that The Frieze should be housed in a room which would provide a suitable architectural frame for it.
Edvard Munch

Profit and bottom line, the contemporary mantra, eliminates the very source of architectural expression.
Arthur Erickson

Supply and demand regulate architectural form.
Adolf Loos

The center of Western culture is Greece, and we have never lost our ties with the architectural concepts of that ancient civilization.
Stephen Gardiner
 

 
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