2D Animation

L3-U37-A1

Application Software

In this section I will be
explaining the techniques and development of application software capable of
producing two-dimensional animations. I will be explaining the key features of
each application software and in what ways they can be used to produce an
animation, I will also be comparing each of the application software referring
to their limitations and benefits. Animation can become a very expensive hobby
due to the equipment required to make professional looking work. programs,
drawing tablets and computers are all requirements needed for an animator to create
an animation. Some two-dimensional Animation software are completely free to
use. As each animator will have some differences in the way they work whether
it be their graphical style or the complexity of their animation it is
beneficial that the animator finds the perfect animation software for them
which will not only suit their project, but appeal to them as an animator.

 

Adobe Flash Professional (now
known as Adobe Animate) is used as both an animation program and multimedia
authoring program. Animate can be used to create and edit vector graphics and animations.
Raster graphics, embedding (audio and video), ActionScript scripting and rich
text formats are all completely supported within the program. Animate also has
multiple format options, animations can be published as: WebGL, SVG (scalable
vector graphic), HTML5, SWF (Legacy Flash Player) and Adobe Air Formats. (Adobe
Animate, 2018)
Adobe Animate CC is at the forefront of animation and is a very professional
software that has many features to assist animators allow their ideas and
concepts come to life. Animate is advertised to help in bringing advertisements
and cartoons to life, add action to tutorials and publish animations quickly to
an array of platforms. Animate can be used to create diverse types of
animations such as advertisements, apps, videos, games, and even full-length
films. Asset designing and even coding can be done within the program. Projects
being created in Adobe Animate use the simple frame-by-frame method to create
animations. Animate is constantly getting new features added on a regular basis,
here are some of the new features added in the latest updates of the program:
Camera and layer depth, also referred to as the camera tool allows the user to
move the screen in multiple ways, this allows users to zoom, rotate and pan,
this allows the user to create an illusion of depth within the animation,
giving each animation extra immersion and life. Another feature of Animate is
the powerful options within timeline, this makes it much easier for the user to
reduce or extend the duration of individual frames, this makes it easy for the
user to make their animation faster or slower whenever they wish. (Adobe, 2018) Overall Adobe Flash
is a very professional and productive software that allows users to create
animations with ease.

 

Adobe After Effects, which is
also developed by Adobe, is a well-known visual effects, compositing and motion
graphics application. As its name implies after effects is used during the
post-production of an animation, production of film or television. After
effects can be used to composite or insert additional graphics into video
footage or an image. (Adobe After Effects, 2018) After Effects is
used by many professional designers and animators to produce both visual
effects and/or motion graphics which can be used for multiple purposes such as
videos, films, and television. With After Effects users can start from scratch
if they desire, or if they want a foundation they can use one of many pre-sets
within the program. After Effects can be used to turn several images into an
animation and even add audio. Much like Adobe Animate, After Effects is
constantly being updated and new features are always being added, here are some
features in After Effects: Immersive VR editing, After Effects allows users to
add effects to 360 virtual reality videos and has multiple tools integrated
within the program to help users do this with ease. After Effects allows users
to add keyboard shortcuts and associate features are tools with certain keys,
this makes it much easier for the user to navigate through the program. (Adobe, 2018) Overall After
effects is a great program for editing animations in post-production as it has
a large array of tools and has no limitations on what the user can do, After
effects would be extremely helpful when creating the film title, an intro or a
transition for your animation. Adobe After Effects is used for making tweaks
and refining an animation rather than making the animation itself such as Adobe
Animate; both of these programs work hand in hand and are a perfect combination
of programs to use when creating and finalising an animation.

 

Harmony is an animation
software used for film, television, games, etc. The software was created by
Toon Boom Animation, a Canadian company that specializes in storyboarding
software and the production of animation. Toon Boom software has won numerous
awards and is in use in over 130 countries worldwide. (Toon Boom
Animation, 2017)
Harmony is used by many top studios around the world such as Universal, Fox,
Ubisoft, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, and many more notable studios to produce
films, tv shows, games, advertisements and more. Harmony allows the user to
work quickly and efficiently and facilitates for many distinctive styles of
animation such as cut-out, paperless and many more. Harmony is advertised as
the most powerful software for the production of animation and it is easy to
see so due to the number of big names that use the software and the large list
of features the software possesses. Here are some of the most notable unique
features that are within Harmony: Harmony includes a toolset that is used for
scene layout and compositing, users are guided when drawing props to ensure the
props meet the perspective of the background this makes background layout much
easier and quicker for the user. Another feature of Harmony is recolouring;
this tool is useful when the user has possibly used the wrong colour: the user
can select the colour they want to change; select the new colour and Harmony
will completely replace the selected section of the character; prop or
background with a few clicks rather than having to manually recolour the
section they want to change. (What’s New in Harmony 15, n.d.) Overall I believe
Harmony is perfect for creating episodic television projects; producing films
with large artistic control and even creating two dimensional animations and
assets for games professionally. On the contrary, I believe if the user is not
working on a large project then they should use another software/program due to
the insane amount of features Harmony possesses and the large chunk of time it
would require to understand and learn how to use Harmony productively.

 

Pivot, also reffered to as
Pivot Animator and formally known as Pivot Stickfigure Animator is a completely
free application which users can create animations using stick figures. Pivot
has a very simple user interface making it very easy for users to learn and
use. Pivot only has a few features, this will limit the possibilities of many
animations but allows inexperienced users to learn how to animate at a slow
pace. Pivot uses ‘sticks’ which are a fixed length in order to ensure that the
size of assets and characters remains consistent throughout the span of the
animation. Pivot is constantly getting new features added, these features are
very simple yet make the users work much easier. On the 2nd of
January 2013 Pivot 4.1 Beta was released which added multiple new features, figure
opacity options, keyboard shortcuts, the ability to copy and paste selected
frames, undo and redo and the ability to rotate and scale figures are all
examples of the recently added features. (Pivot Animator, 2018) Due to the
simplicity of the application it is very easy to create animations in pivot,
the process of creating an animation is quick and simple, the user must
position the red and orange handles associated with each of the stick figure’s
limbs, save that frame and then repeat this process. (PivotAnimator,
n.d.)
One of the most helpful features in Pivot is the onion skinning feature which
allows the user to see multiple past frames whilst creating each frame, this
can help the user to make decisions on how to edit or create each frame based
on the previous frame in the sequence. Overall, Pivot Animator is an extremely
simple application with limiting features, yet it can act as a stepping stone
when a user is learning how to animate and is aiming to use more complex
applications in the future. Pivot Animator is also completely free unlike the
applications previously mentioned.

 

Microsoft PowerPoint can also
surprisingly be used to produce animations and has a few features which allows
users to create animations within their PowerPoint file. The artwork of the
animations done it PowerPoint are usually created with the AutoShape feature,
these are then edited on each slide to give of the illusion of an animation or
the user can use the custom animation feature. These animations can be shared
by sending the PowerPoint file, no other format will have the ability to show
the animation. Custom Animation refers to a set of effects that can be applied
to shapes or text within PowerPoint, these effects will then animate within the
slide-show of the PowerPoint. PowerPoint also has transition effects available
for use, these are similar to the custom animation feature but only one
transition can be applied to each slide. Another feature of PowerPoint are
Entrance and Exit Effects, these effects can be assigned to objects within the
PowerPoint so that the objects enter or exit the slide show with animated
effects. (PowerPoint animation, n.d.) Animations can be
created easily within PowerPoint, yet it would be a tedious task to create a
full project in PowerPoint due to the simplicity of the program, the animation
effects within PowerPoint are a feature of the program in order to make user’s
slideshows more eye-catching and interesting when presenting an idea rather
than producing an animation project.

 

Techniques

 

In this section I will give a
clear explanation of the techniques used to produce both traditional and
digital animations, along with the impact they had on the world of animation
with examples of where they are used.

Traditional 2D Animation

 

The earliest device which was
known to create an illusion of moving images and animation was first known as Phenakistoscope, this was a small machine which was
shaped like a drum and cylinder, images were pasted on the inside of the drum
and when the drum was rotated and viewed at a certain angle the illusion of
motion could be perceived. This device was invented by Joseph Plateau in 1829.
Years later, a Zoetrope (first known as a Daedaleum) was invented by a man
named William Homer, this was essentially an improved version of the Phenakistoscope
as it could allow more than just one person to view the animation at once. The
word Zoetrope means “Wheel of Life” and you can understand their reasoning for
naming this device this. This was extremely revolutionary for the time and
inspired many more inventors to create similar devices. 

 

A flipbook uses an assortment
of images which are intended to be flicked through, this gives the illusion of
movement between the images and produce a physical animation with a small book
rather than a machine or program. (History, n.d.) The images of a
flipbook can be a drawing or a photograph, but the images must be completely motionless
in order for the flipbook to work correctly. When the pages of the flipbook are
being flicked through it will appear that the images are moving. Flipbooks use
the same principle as digital animations as they both use individual frames and
singular images to give of the illusion of movement, this takes place due to
the term persistence of vision. This term refers to the optical illusion of
multiple images blending together that is perceived by the human eye and mind
as motion. The first ever flipbook was patented in 1868 by John Barnes Linnett
and was referred to as a Kineograph (the Latin term for ‘moving picture’), this
was the first ever form of an animation which used an organised sequence of
image which was designed like a booklet rather than the spinning drum. This
technique of animation was experimented with largely from 1875 to 1900, and in
this time many pioneers invented technology incredible for the time.