Research Topic 5 What does a typical animation production pipeline look like, and how does it function?

A 3D Production Pipeline in animation refers to the differing stages and tasks that need to be completed over the length of the production of an animation. The pipeline can vary in characteristics depending upon many factors including, the medium of the animation, the size of the team working on it and the budget and scope of the animation itself. The pipeline is also not as linear as the name would suggest, often elements within the production may be passed up and down the pipeline for further work before it can properly progress. Almost every production pipeline consists of three main stages Pre-production, Production and Post-Production. These stages are then further broken down into tasks that must be completed throughout the production, the typical stages in a rather large sized 3D production pipeline are as follows.

PipelineThe Pre-Production stage is where the idea is first brought to life and the creative process begins. The typical Pre-Production stage consists of tasks such as concepting, model sheet creation, script writing, storyboarding and animatic creation. The concepting and model sheet creation is where the characters and world are first visualized. Concepting allows the artists to explore the ideas and designs surround the project and gain an understanding of how they want everything to be designed. Model sheets are orthogonal views of characters and set elements that are required to be modeled. The orthogonal views of these elements allows the modelers to gain an understand of how it should all come together. The script writing stage is where the story first gains a solid form. The storyboarding and animatic stages are when this story can first be seen and visualized by the whole team through the images and rough animation that are created.

The Production stage includes many stages throughout which the bulk of the animation itself is created. Beginning with the laying out of the 3D scenes, the creation of 3D assets, including their modeling, texturing and rigging. Once all the scenes and characters are created the animation itself is able to begin. Particular scenes are handed off to animators and they are able to work on only the animation within a scene that has been fully constructed. Once the animation is complete the VFX, lighting and rendering teams can begin working on making the animation ready for compositing.

After all the elements of the production stage have been completed the Post-Production is then able to bring them all together. The post production stage includes tasks such as Compositing, Motion Graphics, and Colour Correction. All these tasks work towards creating a polished final result of the animated production.


Nick. (25 Oct 2010) The Importance of Compositing: A Layer by Layer Breakdown in After Effects. [Video File] Retrieved from

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F, D.F. (5/10/2013) Light for 3D Animation, Globaly Illuminating the Job of the Artists. Retrieved from

Sanders, A.L.S (n.d) In computer Animation, What is Rendering? Retrieved from

Slick, J.S. (n.d.) What is Rigging Retrieved from

Slick, J.S. (n.d.) Anatomy of a 3D Model. Retrieved from

Digital Tutors (2014, 18 Feb) CG101: What does a 3D Production Pipeline look like for studios. Retrieved from

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Gulati, P.G. (9 Jun, 2010). Step-by-Step: How to Make an Animated Movie. Retrieved from–cg-3257

3d_production-timelines [Image] (26 Mar, 2014). Retrieved from

Research Topic 5 What does a typical animation production pipeline look like, and how does it function?

Project 3 Update 2

These past few days i have been working on the concepting and model sheets for the alien design. Some images of my concepting stages are below.

Capture9 Capture10 Capture11 Capture12 Capture13 Capture14

The Model Sheet for the design and final Concepts are below



Because I was able to finish the concepting and model sheet stage with some time to spare i was able to get a decent start on my modelling. Below is some images of my model as it currently stands.

Capture Capture2 Capture3 Capture4 Capture5Capture18
Capture20 Capture6



Project 3 Update 2

Project 3 Update 1

During the past few days Rick and I have began doing some research into the different alien designs to decide on what our approach to the design would be, below are a collection of images that inspired each of our decisions.

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After deciding on the kind of approach we would be taking I began doing some research into anatomy of animals I thought would be similar. A large part of the direction I wanted to take was brought to light from the skeleton of Gorilla pictured below. I also wanted the hind legs of the Alien to be like that of a dogs.

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From studying the anatomy of a dogs leg I began to do some concept work sketching it out and getting an understanding of how its all put together.

Screenshot (130) Screenshot (131) Screenshot (132)

Gantt Chart for the project

Project 3 Alien Hoax Gantt Chart

Screenshot (133)


34c78a682ace591a2b486e1860ddbf78-d48zqdp [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

180px-00018 [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

2900848-2862764-15265_aliens_xenomorph [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

alien_ball_white_06 [Image] (14th Apr, 2008.) Retrieved from

Alien_Head_Design_01 [Image] (3rd Apr, 2012.) Retrieved from

aliens_head_concept_iii_by_zarnala-d6e3z2q [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

article-2604010-1D117B7900000578-981_634x420 [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

boner_08_by_waychyuan [Image] (3rd Oct, 2007.) Retrieved from

bPCa0yE [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

ghoul [Image] (8/7/2013.) Retrieved from

gorillaskeleton [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

images (2) [Image] (24th Feb, 2011.) Retrieved from

images (3) [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

images (4) [Image} (n.d.) Retrieved from

jorduschell7 [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

ken_b_04 [Image] (2011.) Retrieved from

native_son_alien_concept_art_by_maxcady31216-d41usnd [Image] (27 Jul, 2011.) Retrieved from

tumblr_nuzx8ahuer1tfvz4eo1_400 [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

c3d029392899d14b8634b206f9793835 [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from\

images (5) [Image] (25th May, 2015.) Retrieved from

Project 3 Update 1

Research Topic 4 When thinking about the 12 principles of animation, what is the significance of Pose to Pose and Straight Ahead animation within contemporary computer animation practices?

There are 12 principles in the production of an animation that are taken into account to ensure that the best possible product can be created. One of the principles used in animation is “Pose to pose and Straight ahead” this relates to the way in which an animator constructs their animation. For example in the 2D medium and animator will create keyposes or storytelling poses which are the most important or significant extremes and positions of the motion. The animator then draws the frames inbetween keyposes to complete the animation and give it a clean motion, this is the pose to pose method of animating.

Screenshot (126) Screenshot (127)

Opposing this method is straight ahead, this method instead involves an animating as you go kind of approach to creating an animation. This means that instead of creating keyframes and connecting the dots with inbetweens all the frames are created as they appear in the animation. This often proves to be a more difficult approach to animating but is capable of creating some appealing results.

When this Principle is applied to the 3D medium it can be used in a similar way to create a similar result. Like in the 2D medium keyposes can be created in the 3D medium, the computer then creates the inbetweens and we adjust them to suit. This is effectively the pose to pose method applied to the 3D medium. The straight ahead method would involve creating each keyframe as you go in the same way as the 2D medium. However as the computer interpolates the data in order to get a true straight ahead you would need to adjust the curves in the graph editor as you work. This method would be fairly complicated to achieve but would likely produce a similar result to straight ahead animation in the 2D medium.

Research Topic 4 When thinking about the 12 principles of animation, what is the significance of Pose to Pose and Straight Ahead animation within contemporary computer animation practices?

Research Topic 3 – What are some approaches to planning animation? Do you need to be good at drawing? Find some examples of thumbnail sketches.

Like in many things research is the first step when it comes to creating an animation. Many things need to be understood when attempting to animate a scene. This research can include many elements such as the anatomy of the creatures involved, the motions themselves as well as many other features. Once the animator believes they have done a sufficient amount of research and understand everything they need to, they can then move onto the planning stages.

When planning animation for any medium a lot of thought needs to be invested into the poses the characters will take and the progression of their motions. Its common practice for animators to perform the role themselves from many different angles to gain an understanding of the how the poses throughout the performances are constructed. From this reference footage the animator can then study the performance the do thumbnail drawings. Drawing out particular poses is a much faster and effective way to pose a character rather then posing them entirely within a 3D software like Maya. To do these drawings a certain amount of drawing ability is required to effectively communicate the poses and change across the movements.

Its quite common practice for animators to do thumbnail drawings while planning their animations. These thumbnail drawings are small and simple only displaying the necessary details to communicate the poses the animator wishes to create. However just because they are simple does not mean they do not require a certain amount of knowledge and practice to perform. For the drawings to do their job of helping the animator understand the details of the pose in its simplest form possible the drawings must be accurate. This requires knowledge of proportions and human anatomy as well as the ability to draw it.

Mensir Hospital Reference Drawing

From this point the animator translates the drawings onto a character in a 3D program, these then serve as the poses for the animation. They are adjusted in the 3D software to better suit what the animators require and then serve as the beginning as the blocking stage of animation.


The CGBros. (April 14, 2014). CGI Animation Breakdowns HD: Walt Disney’s “Frozen” Shot progression – by Bobby Pontillas [Video File]. Retrieved from

Research Topic 3 – What are some approaches to planning animation? Do you need to be good at drawing? Find some examples of thumbnail sketches.