Computers for Animation
Getting used to computers, scanners, digital cameras and drawing tablets
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Digital cameras

All digital cameras can capture single-frames so these are suitable for animation, though video cameras are better as they can store more images.
Getting the image off the camera and into the computer requires two things:

1. A capture card, (sometimes called a frame-grabber) camera to pc

2. A video editing program

Once you have shot your images the capture card allows you to transfer them from the camera to your computer.

Video editing programs come in a wide range from the Microsoft Movie Maker program through to dedicated professional programs. There are many free video editing programs available on the Internet.

The editing stage falls into three broad stages:
1. The timing of each sequence which is basically lengthening and shortening a sequences of images, but may also involve adding backgrounds and superimposing other images over the original.

2. Transitions and effects to be used. Transistions include zooms, fades, mixes, wipes, etc. Effects include rain, snow, and many types of changing the images to create movement while retaining the original image. Video effects are often called video FX.

3. Addition of a soundtrack, which may in itself require separate editing into Voice, Music, and Sound effects (Sound FX).

There are two approaches to shooting images:

a) You can draw the sequence of images and shoot them when the sequence is complete. This is the way animators work with drawings.
b) You can draw under the camera. That is, you make part of the drawing then shoot it, then draw another part, and continue until you have finished the complete drawing. The drawing is created line by line. This is fine for simple drawings. It is also the technique used for cutout animation, painted pictures, and moving objects like matchsticks or string to make up shapes.

If you draw the complete sequence before shooting it then the camera can be away from the drawing area, and all the drawings from various children can be collected and shot in one go. But it means that the drawings have to be shot and edited before they can be seen.

If you draw under the camera then the drawings can be played back imediately, but it requires that the camera is part of the drawing table so can only be used by one person at a time. This may not be practical with a large group but is suitable for small groups.

The images may be shot on the camera and then transferred to the computer for editing, or you can use the camera as a computer peripheral and shoot directly into the computer, in which case you will see it on the screen as it is shot.

Video cameras have three common types of output to the computer:


Composite video





The Composite and Firewire outputs require a capture card in the computer. USB is normally a standard input port on modern computers, and Firewire is becoming so. There are also special adapters that allow Digital-Still cameras to plug into computers. As far as the user is concerned they are much the same for animation where a sequence of single-drawings are being shot.

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