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3D Animation Production – Studio Mitchell
We often find that new clients haven’t commissioned 3D CGI animation before. So as an introduction to our animation services we have prepared an overview of what our studio production involves and how the animation can be used.
Studio Mitchell work with a variety of professional video production software packages which includes the full Adobe Suite. Our primary 3D software package is Maxon Cinema 4D. We have over 25 years experience in 3D and VFX producing animation and visualisation for household names such as Tannoy, Carlsberg and Bayer among others. But this does not mean our 3d animation origination prices are out of reach of start-up companies or smaller manufacturing businesses.
Read on to understand a little more about 3D animated film . . .
The term 3D animation refers to three-dimensional moving objects. These object/product representations are created solely using computer graphics (CGI). This differs from other animation techniques such as stop motion where actual puppets or clay models that are painstakingly committed to film, frame by frame. In contrast 3D objects are created and manipulated with 3D modeling software (Maxon C4D) which is much more cost effective and time efficient.
Here at Studio Mitchell the 3D animation production process starts with a storyboard, which is your concept for the animation. This is followed by the object / product 3D modelling, rigging and animation stages. Lets look at these processes in a little more detail.
1. Script and Storyboard
A script helps guide the overall direction your video will take. It is the foundation of your story and the start of the 3D animation production process. We break your script into scenes and then break those scenes into shots. Depending on the length of your video, you could end up with a lot of scenes and shots but we discuss this with you throughout the process. You are key to the success of the video because after all it is your story.
The storyboard is a very important part of the pre-production process because it clearly conveys how the story will flow, as you can see in the storyboard how your shots will work together. It also allows you to see potential problems that would not go unnoticed, ultimately saving you time and money.
2. 3D product modeling
3D modeling is the process of creating a 3D depiction of a product by manipulating polygons, edges, and vertices in computer generated 3D space. This process can be time consuming and depending on the subject matter and your budget we can often purchase complexed models 0ff-the-shelf from 3D model suppliers.
3. 3D Product Rigging
Rigging refers to creating the objects controls. This might be a cartoon style character with moving limbs or facial features or even a vehicle, these controls (the rig) allow the animator to control the correct movement of an object in a scene.
4. Texturing a 3D model
When a 3D model is created it doesn’t have any colour or texture. There are various methods of creating realistic coloring and textures of an object. One is to use flat, 2D images which can be wrapped onto the model to add colour, design or graphics and textures. This process is called mapping, and often the whole of a model’s colour and texture comes from this process. These maps can be created in programs like Photoshop, and the illusions of textures can be layered onto the models easily; real photographs can also be used of the textures we are creating, photographed and adjusted to make seamless repeatable patterns such as tarmac, wood or tiles. The second method involves creating individual textures for each model element. This is time consuming but does create a much more realistic finished image. See the interactive visual below demonstrating the original cell model image and the rendered textures.
5. Voice over & Music
The voice over is a film technique that is utilised in almost every film genre. Filmmakers use voice overs to provide quick interpretation of action, tell stories or narrate. We work with professional voice over artists Sophie Hein Schrier and Oli Hein who have a wealth of experience in this field.
Sophie Voice Over Sample
Oli Voice Over Sample
Music touches us, makes the moving images seem more interesting or more engaging and brings dynamism and mood to the video. We have access to a royalty free range of music which can be refined by genres, mood and the type of instrument. If you require a bespoke piece of music we can also help commission this.
6. 3D Product Animation and Rendering
This is the final stage in the production process, generating three-dimensional moving images in a digital environment. Careful manipulation of 3D models or objects is carried out within 3D software and exported via picture sequences giving an illusion of animation or movement. Depending on the desired result 3D animated film can reflect real life photo-realism or even a cartoon hand-drawn cell effect. 3D animated media is extremely versatile.
3D Engineering and Manufacturing animation
Studio Mitchell have a long history of working with manufacturing clients. An industry which has adopted 3D modeling already, the cross compatibility is very significant. In some cases, engineers already have working models from which we can create broadcast quality animation and photo-realistic visuals. This can also reduce the production budget removing the modeling cost.
Take for example our animation of an offshore wind turbine farm. There was no requirement for costly live film footage or photography and their teams of people. No worries over the weather and the right season to shoot. Not forgetting this animation was made before the wind farm even existed!
Instead when utilising 3D media our clients have much more freedom to comfortably customise and modify their product design. What’s more, because the whole process is digital this provides the client with a rapid road to market.
3D Character animation for film, TV and gaming
We are all very familiar now with 3D cartoons such as Disneys Pixar. Although this medium is already strongly established in entertainment, we’re seeing 3D animated content in more places in the industry such as Television and Gaming. 3D character animation is very successful and now has a significantly larger market share compared with other animated media. Studio Mitchell, whilst not a core part of our skill set have created several characters for business clients such as the UNIPER health and safety cone character and the Reckitt Benckiser Durex Christmas reindeer.
Uniper Engineering character animation. A 3D explainer video demonstrating personnels PPE to staff on site by Studio Mitchell
3D Educational Animation
3D animated content is a great way to engage students, in what can be sometimes a very dry subject matter. These animations can be fun and memorable for students learning a new process or idea. Students are far more familiar with 3D content because they already use it in games and watch it on the television. The transition for them to use this media in education is for a more easily digested learning. Sciences, Maths and other subjects are already using animation successfully.
3D Medical Animation
With the accuracy and photo-realistic ability of 3D content, medical animation is able to create what could only be imagined so far. Detailed 3D films of the human body which walk viewers through complex processes never seen before. Both still visuals and animated content for medical applications are becoming more common place in the media. Studio Mitchell have medical visualisation experience working for ZeClinics to produce visuals for their pioneering gene splicing scientific work. We have also animated 3D simulations of neuron brain activity which can be seen here.
Corporate 3D animation
The business application for 3D animated content doesn’t stop at animated bar charts. In business presentations, the client might use 3D animations to display their products more clearly especially where we mentioned above there is no prototype such as can be seen here in the OASIS charger. Marketeers use 3D animated content to present their products in the best possible way. They can also take full advantage of the 3D media when their product requires detailed explanation which can be seen in our Brotherwood film. 3D content can deliver any product to its maximum potential on screen.
Architectural animation in 3D
Architects adopted 3D in it’s early stages. Studio Mitchell have worked closely with builders and architects to produce effective photorealistic still and animated 3D interior and exterior media. We often assist in taking location photography and composting 3D models into them to provide clients with a clearer picture of how the finished structure willl look, an artistic impression but photo-realistic. This can have walk throughs or 360 orbital animated views. Now, the building can truly come to life before the builder has laid the first brick.
Advertising with 3D animation
When you consider the benefits of animation in advertising, they are quite amazing. Advertising has a strong element of creative visualisation and so, 3D can play a significant role in making effective commercials that can capture the imagination of the audience. Encouraging them to buy the product. Apart from using this for creating commercials on TV, the internet is a powerful platform where animated commercials can be used in search and display adverts on social media and more. Advertising without animation out performs other media which is will be rendered uninspiring and boring.
Utilising 3D in Retail
The retail industry benefits from animated videos. It’s marketing execs use animations to showcase product attributes to their customers. 3D modeling and animation can interpret the functions of a product, along with its features with complete clarity. Understandably, the importance of animated videos in the retail industry is increasing. Often, particular products are difficult to photograph. These may have particularly intricate features, or you may have to display the object from angles which are unachievable in photography. In these cases, 3D animations are the solution and demonstrate the product features with ease.