A Conversation for Computer Animation
Hobbyist 3D Animation
Steve K. Started conversation Jan 24, 2005
Good entry. As a hobbyist 3D animator, I've struggled with almost every item you mention, using Poser, Bryce, Lightwave, Adobe Premiere and After Effects, Particle Illusion, etc. It gets easier with practice, like anything, and also with time as the programs get more powerful. Particle Illusion in particular is an affordable and easy-to use program that creates very convincing effects (fire, snow, explosions, etc.) IMHO.
I am not a modeller, but fortunately there are many models of very high quality available (and many free), so an early step is going through my collection and the Web for the "pieces" of a project - not just models, but royalty free images, sounds, music, textures, etc. The real work is getting the story laid out so it makes some sense and hopefully has some interest. My heroes in this respect are the Pixar guys, who seem to put great weight on story telling, rather than just pushing cool animation out the door.
I've seen many of the movies you mention, and might add to the list "Star Wars" (the first one). I had to drag my wife to see it at the theater ("A dumb sci-fi flick?"), but at the beginning when the "mother ship" came down from the top of the screen, she decided it was gonna be good ... and it is. I also recommend "The Last Starfighter" to anyone who missed it:
Alien co-pilot: "We've got this one fighter against the entire enemy fleet of battleships."
Hero: "This is gonna be a slaughter!"
Alien co-pilot: "That's the spirit!"
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