Object Modeling in 3D Animation

  • Nadia Magnenat Thalmann
  • Daniel Thalmann
Part of the Computer Science Workbench book series (WORKBENCH)


While computer-assisted animation is a highly valuable and interesting process, computer-modeled animation is even more fascinating. Here the computer becomes more than a support, playing a basic role in the creation of a three-dimensional world. Man, in fact, has always found it difficult to represent three-dimensional space in drawings; few people can draw in true perspective. Furthermore, it is simply impossible to produce all the tens of thousands of drawings needed for an animated film by hand. In this sense, the computer is not replacing man, since it does jobs which simply cannot be performed manually. Modeled animation has been used in television advertisements [Crow 1978] and for special effects in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Return of the Jedi and especially TRON. Three-dimensional computer animation involves three main activities:
  1. 1.

    Object modeling: this consists of describing or constructing three-dimensional objects.

  2. 2.

    Motion specification and synchronization: to animate an object is to make it move, or to change its shape or position over a period of time. Not only must the movements be created for all the actors involved in each scene, but all these movements must be synchronized. When making an ordinary video film, movements can be filmed of course, but the camera itself can also be moved. The same principle applies to three-dimensional computer animation, although instead of wielding a real camera, a dummy, or “virtual,” camera is simulated. The location of the camera, its positioning, and even focus are programmed. Furthermore, all these parameters can be varied or combined so that any camera motion can be simulated (pan, tilt, zoom). [MagnenairThalmann and Thalmann 1986b].

  3. 3.

    Image rendering: this is the process of producing a realistic image by removing hidden surfaces and adding effects like shading, shadows, transparency, and texture. These techniques will be discussed in detail in Chaps. 8 and 9.



Control Point Procedural Model Object Modeling Internal Model Television Advertisement 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadia Magnenat Thalmann
    • 1
  • Daniel Thalmann
    • 2
  1. 1.MIRALab, CUIUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Computer Graphics LabSwiss Federal Institute of TechnologyLausanneSwitzerland

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