CG Animation Through the Years

3D, Animation, Research, U8_U52, U_5

One of the earliest computer animated films was Hummingbird made in 1967 by Charles Csuri and James Shaffer. The movement of the hummingbird drawing was created by code and consisted of over 30,000 images, each comprising of some 25 motion sequences that were generated by the computer. It was a short ten minutes of a distorted black-and-white drawing in motion, but it was more than enough to demonstrate the state of the early CGI progression back then.

Another example of an early CGI animation similar to the Hummingbird sequence, was MetaData made by Peter Foldes in 1971. The animation was drawn onto a data tablet using the world’s first key frame animation software invented by Nestor Burtnyk and Marceli Wein. The animation sequence was also coded just like Hummingbird, albeit more complex and consisting of various colours.

In 1968, a program called BESM-4 was made for the computer. A group of Russian mathematicians and physicists lead by N. Konstantinov developed a mathematical model of a moving cat using this software, which the computer then printed hundreds of frames to convert into film.

Westworld was the first entertainment feature film to use 2D computer animated raster graphics. The first television series to use CGI in the intro was The Six Million Dollar Man in 1974. It included early use of wire-frame model rendering.

The first full-length 3D CG animated feature film ever made was Toy Story in 1995 by Disney Pixar.

In 2010 the film ‘Tangled’ was the most expensive 3D animated film ever made, and the second most expensive film ever made costing approximately $260 million. The film took six years to make – a large part of it being focused on developing the program to control and simulate perfect hair movement and dynamics.

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