A09- Animation Project Pipeline: Production- Rendering
Till now, we have seen different parts of Project execution pipeline. In the Pre-production phase, we talked about the story, script, storyboard etc. Later in the production phase, we discussed about 3D modeling, animation and rigging. Then comes this third part, which is of Recording or ‘Rendering’. This is the final part of the production phase. After this the post production phase starts. So lets talk about this ‘Rendering’ part now.
3. Rendering: Do you remember, we had talked about ‘Flipbook’ earlier? We learned about making animation by drawing on series of pages. Each of such page is called a ‘Frame’ in animation language. When we see these pages or frames one by one, continuously and fast, we see animation. It seems as if the picture in the drawing itself is moving.
Q: Yes, in the ball example, it was like, the ball was actually jumping. We could not notice that there were actually many different pictures of ball.
Now, in order to make a film, we need to have such a series of frames. By combining such continuous images, we get a video. The video can be played back and of course we can show it to our viewers. ‘Rendering’ is recording all such individual frames of the video film.
While doing the ‘rendering’, the 3D animation softwares, considers a few things. Out of them there are these 3 important things that we will talk about: Surfacing, lighting and camera.
Q: Here again we have 3 important things! This ‘3’ is very interesting.
Yes! It is like that. In order to have a photograph, what are the essential things, that we need?
First, of course the camera to take the shot. Then the object to be photographed. And finally the light, so that we can see the object. 3 essential things! Without any one of them the photograph will not be really a photograph. Here in Rendering we are talking about the same 3 things. Surfacing is the objects with all their colours and other properties. Lights are just necessary. And the camera to take the shot or to record the action in the frame.
Q: Yes, this seem perfect to me.
Let’s see them one by one.
Surfacing: In the modeling stage, the shape and form of the model is prepared. Now in this surfacing stage the ‘visual look’ of the models surface gets defined. In short, in surfacing, we define its colour, texture and all such visual properties. Whether the object is shiny or rough? Whether it is transparent like glass or reflective like mirror? Like lens, whether it is refractive or scattering light like wax? All such things which deal with the visual appearance are tackled in this surfacing stage. The substance or the material from which the object is made up of is defined here. Like glass, wood, metal, clay or fabric etc. Once the surfacing is done, the 3D model starts looking very appealing and alive.
Lighting: Without light we cannot see anything. So in rendering, having good lighting becomes very important. We need to consider, how we can place the lights. By using the tools in 3D softwares, we can achieve very natural looking lighting. So that the shot and the models look realistic and can also create mood in it.
Camera: Just like photography, here in rendering, its the magic of the camera. We can set from where we can take the shot, so that it will look good. The camera angle and framing plays very critical role here, to get a good and effective shot. In 3d softwares, we can set camera angles and many more things like lenses, just like real photography.
Now by working on these 3 things, the software renders the shot image. It renders each frame one by one. In 3D softwares, there is a special section which deals with all these complex calculations and gives us the output. Just like the engine gives us the output of motion by processing the fuel. In fact, this special section is called as ‘the render engine’. This render engine converts our 3D model into images like jpg or png. We can print them out or that can further be combined in a video form, to be seen on screen.
Well thats it for now. In the next post, we will see the post-production. And yes, very soon the 2nd volume will be started. So stay tuned…