The Difference Between CGI And Animation

Difference between CGI and animation

Hayescroft draft5 from Architecture in Motion on Vimeo.

Tom (Bussey) has recently been working on a new animation sequence for a new development in Manchester.

What is the difference between CGI and animation? Lets ask Tom.


“The biggest challenge when it comes to animation is ensuring that there is a pace that keeps the attention of the viewer. Whatever the final output, it has to mean something to the person who is viewing. In this case, a potential homebuyer.

Similar to working on still imagery, the houses and landscape has to be modelled accurately. For the Hayescroft project, it was a case of building an estate that can be explored. When it comes to animation, there requires more extensive modelling than a still image. For this project, there was the modelling of the backs and sides of the houses, which were shown during the sequence, even if it was for a split second.


Consistency Throughout

The lighting has to be balanced throughout. Whilst there is a major consideration for lighting when moving from the exterior space to the interior space, the film that you see here was completely exterior focused on 13 different plots.

Whenever an animation sequence involves a level of variation, it is always advisable to follow a storyboard, so both the customer and the member of the team who is working on the project, is 100% clear what the final product will look like. For this particular project, once a number of camera positions were set-up, visuals were sent to the customer for approval. This is so the customer can see how the film can progress and presents a fluid way of working.

As the project develops, low-resolution sequences are sent to the customer to see and acknowledge how the project is progressing and so all looks as originally intended. What this helps with is to provide an idea of movement and also pace for the final film.


Keeping Your Look

Similar to static CGI image projects, it is always our intention to keep the interest of the viewer. Have a read of Jon Senior’s article where he explains how we control how you look at an image.

Once you understand the subject matter, you can interpret clearly and begin to introduce elements such as fading and moments when the camera sweeps across a landscape.

One of the biggest differences between a static CGI and producing a full animation is the rendering time. As views and sequences become more complex (have a look at the Mary Rose project for example), the final rendering can become time intensive due to the intricacies of the subject matter.

Both still CGIs and film animation both involve the same amount of appreciation of the subject matter. The biggest reward for me on a personal level is that you can bring a landscape and an environment to life.”

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