The production of an animated film happens in 3 main stages which are the pre-production stage, production stage, and post-production. Let us look at the pre-production stage
The pre-production stage is the most essential in the making of an animated film in a flash. The central concepts are formulated and first turned into a complete story and when the story is finalized then the script, sequence of shots, and camera angles are formulated out. The major components in this stage are story-board, layouts, models, and animatics.
This helps in the finalization of the storyline while it is also essential for the part of the process of animation. Drawings are made in the style of comic strips which helps in visualizing the animation and communicating the ideas. The details about the scene and animation changes are usually clarified with the help of text notes which describe things occurring in the scene, like the movements of the camera. If animation films are made with a combination of traditional and modern methods of animation, then it can take 20-25 drawings to create one second of an animated film.
This is done by the pre-visualization department which creates simplified mock-ups after the storyboarding process. This is done to provide the ideas of the timing and motion of complicated VFX heavy scenes and animated sequences. With the help of these, the director can decide how to go about the staging of the sequences and how the visual effects can be included into the final shot.
The next stage is production in which the real work starts. The major parts of this process are layout modeling, texturing, etc. Let us take a quick look at some of these.
Geometry blocks or lo-res models are used instead of the final characters and set. It is the artist preparing the layout who composes the shots and delivers rough animation as guidance for the animators. What the animators produce is the 3D version of drawings of the storyboarding artists on paper. It is at this stage that the director will approve the moves of the camera, field depth and model composition that make up a set and the dressing of the set. Then comes the modeling department which delivers these sets which are approved, prop character models in the final layout stage.
With the close association between visual effects supervisors, art directors and animation supervisors, modelers turn the concept art which in 2D format and sculpted maquettes into highly detailed and topologically good quality 3D models. The modelers are separated into two groups – one is the organic modelers who have a background in sculpture and specialize in the building of characters and the other is the hard surface modelers who have a background in industrial or architectural design. Once the modeling is done comes the texturing stage where different textures are provided to the characters and components of a shot.
Many other steps follow the modeling process during the production and post-production phase before an animation film is finally made. Creating an animated film requires a lot of hard work and creativity on the part of the different artists at work.