Animation History 7 – Animation Goes Digital
In the biggest jump forward in technology since the invention of film, animation goes digital. Not all at once, and not overnight. These are the steps the animation industry took to get to the fully-actualized digital productions. Seeing how the use of digital animation techniques have slowly entered the production pipeline to the point that most animation is now completely digital.
Animation History 7
Rock and Rule
Rock & Rule from Nelvana was the first animated feature containing computer-generated imagery.
December 15, 1966
The Adventures of André and Wally B.
Pixar and Lucasfilm release The Adventures of André and Wally B., the first fully CGI-animated film.
The Rescuers Down Under
The Rescuers Down Under has two very important distinctions: it was both the first fully animated using Disney’s new CAPS coloring system and it was their first animated sequel. Beginning with this film, final color animation was accomplished using a digital method of importing the animators drawings called CAPS (Computer Animation Production System), which was developed for Disney by a northern California computer company called Pixar.
It is important to understand CAPS is not computer animation. Animation was still done by hand in the time-honored style. CAPS took those completed drawings and imported them into a computer environment. There, the drawings could be manipulated, resized, colored and copied as needed by the production on demand.
The CAPS system would save substantial amounts of time and money by eliminating the whole step of inking and painting cels; in fact, cels became a relic of the past. By working in the digital realm, the multi-plane camera and other optical effects used in the production of animated films could be previewed in real time rather than after days or weeks of animation and optical work.
November 16, 1990
Computer animation comes to full-length feature animation with Pixar’s Toy Story. The film also becomes the first animated film nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay. The film grossed $195 million in it’s initial release.
November 22, 1995
Warner Bros.’ ¡Mucha Lucha! is the first Flash-animated television series. This was a spinoff from the 2000 live-action TV series “Los Luchadores.” The series was also inspired by Lucha Libre, the popular theatrical style of Mexican wrestling.
August 17, 2002
Fly Me to the Moon
Fly Me to the Moon was produced and released exclusively in 3D, and became the first animated feature to be full pipeline 3D. The film opened in an estimated 700 specialized 3-D theaters.
August 15, 2008
Toy Story 3
Pixar’s Toy Story 3 became the first animated feature film to earn more than $1,000,000,000 in worldwide release. It was also the first feature film released theatrically in 7.1 surround sound.
June 18, 2010
The first 3D stop-motion animated film that is also has it’s characters computer generated using 3D printing technology. ParaNorman used twenty seven major characters had their faces “built” in a computer. Through computer modeling, it was easy to manipulate the characters faces for expressions and speaking. Once created, each pose was then outputed to a 3D printer. The 3D printers build up each character’s face by depositing hundreds of layers of fine white plaster-vinyl powder, which is then sprayed with ink. Over 31,000 parts were created this way… each thirty seconds would require almost 300 faces per character.
August 17, 2012