[ILUG-BOM] FLOSS 3D animation...

Frederick Noronha (FN) fred@[EMAIL-PROTECTED]
Thu Dec 15 11:10:56 IST 2005

This is something interesting I read in the linux-magazine.com:

          Not so long ago, professional quality 3D
          animation required expensive workstations. The software
          they ran, for example, Maya (Unlimited Vision), cost
          more than $15,000 early in 2002, and the software
          technology was hidden behind restictive licenses.

What's the 3D animation process?

          The process starts with modeling the shape of the 3D
          object. The next stage is texturing, that is, adding
          a kind of skin. This step gives the model a natural
          looking surface with light reflexes and a surface
          structure. UV mapping projects 2D bitmaps (such as wood
          grains) onto the 3D surface; in its simplest form,
          this is like posting a bill on an advertising column.

          The 3D model can then be animated. In the rigging process,
          joints are added to the figure. The joints allow the
          the artist to move a complex object like a puppetter
          moves a puppet. After completing the basic animation
          scene, the animator adds special effects, such as water,
          fire, or smoke. The scene is then lit by positioning
          light sources, just like in conventional movie making.
          The post production is concerned with optimizing the
          nearly-finished product, coming it with the movie or video
          scenes, and adding a soundtrack.

Also: Normally, many different programs are used to create a 3D
animation. First of all, you need a program to create the 3D models. In
most cases, animation and rendering (conversion of finished models to
photo-realistic images) are handled by separate programs. Rendering is
so vastly complext that it typically requires a specialized tool.

Some useful software:

Wings3D, simplifying complex shapes

Blender, the only FLOSS program that covers all steps in 3D production

[Blender's strengths is its speed, which is superior to commercial
products. But Blender mainly uses subwindows that are full of buttons
and slide controls. The itnerface design lacks logical consistency. Even
such simple functions as cut and paste take some getting used to in
Blender, as they use [Alt] + [C] or [Alt] + [V], rather than the more
typical [Ctrl] keys. This is due to the fact that Blender was designed
as an in-house solution for the NeoGeo animation studio.

K3D, one more recent developments in the 3D fields.
K3D's major strength is it's a targeted new development based on current

Yafray, currently the most powerful free rendering tool

Toxic, a rendering tool based on physically exact computing

Aqsis, provider most complete support for RenderMan standard syntax for
3D model definition

Povray (documentation, community)

Jahshaka, might close the gaps in the near future

Cinelerra, another possible candidate to allow studios to handle whole
prodocution cycle for computer-generated movie making with FLOSS
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