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[Cat78]  The Problems of Computer-Assisted Animation

Catmull:1978:PCA (Article)
Author(s)Catmull E.
Title« The Problems of Computer-Assisted Animation »
JournalACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics, Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH 78 (Atlanta, GA, August 23--25, 1978)
Volume12
Number3
Page(s)348--353
Year1978
AddressNew York

Abstract
In the last few years several systems have been written for aiding in the conventional two-dimensional animation process. The main purpose of these systems has been to let the computer produce missing drawings based on extreme drawings produced by animators. While there has been some success and a great deal of optimism, the promise of higher output and quality using a computer has not been realized. The transition from simple drawings optimized for use on the computer to the complicated and detailed drawings of quality conventional animation has been much harder than expected. The principle difficulty is that the animators drawings are really two dimensional projections of three dimensional characters as visualized in the animators head, hence information is lost, ie. one leg obscures another. The problem of making a program infer the original object from its projections is akin to extremely difficult artificial intelligence problems. Efforts to overcome this by drawing skeletons or increasing the number of overlays require more manual intervention thereby offsetting the gains of using the computer. One way to analyze an approach is to determine the average time required of an artist or operator at all stages of animation for every frame. A second problem not generally recognized is that a production animation system requires the management of hundreds of thousands of drawings, hence data base management techniques not normally found in experimental animation systems.

BibTeX code
@article{Catmull:1978:PCA,
  number = {3},
  month = aug,
  author = {Edwin Catmull},
  optkey = {},
  series = CGPACS,
  localfile = {papers/Catmull.1978.PCA.pdf},
  address = {New York},
  publisher = {ACM Press},
  doi = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/800248.807414},
  organization = {ACM SIGGRAPH},
  journal = SIGGRAPH78,
  volume = {12},
  optstatus = {URL},
  title = {{T}he {P}roblems of {C}omputer-{A}ssisted {A}nimation},
  abstract = {In the last few years several systems have been written for aiding
              in the conventional two-dimensional animation process. The main
              purpose of these systems has been to let the computer produce
              missing drawings based on extreme drawings produced by animators.
              While there has been some success and a great deal of optimism,
              the promise of higher output and quality using a computer has not
              been realized. The transition from simple drawings optimized for
              use on the computer to the complicated and detailed drawings of
              quality conventional animation has been much harder than expected.
              The principle difficulty is that the animators drawings are really
              two dimensional projections of three dimensional characters as
              visualized in the animators head, hence information is lost, ie.
              one leg obscures another. The problem of making a program infer
              the original object from its projections is akin to extremely
              difficult artificial intelligence problems. Efforts to overcome
              this by drawing skeletons or increasing the number of overlays
              require more manual intervention thereby offsetting the gains of
              using the computer. One way to analyze an approach is to determine
              the average time required of an artist or operator at all stages
              of animation for every frame. A second problem not generally
              recognized is that a production animation system requires the
              management of hundreds of thousands of drawings, hence data base
              management techniques not normally found in experimental animation
              systems.},
  year = {1978},
  pages = {348--353},
}

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