3D Animation Developing on the African Continent

clock September 11, 2014 14:06 by author christpaul

Africa has been one continent that has not been particularly associated with animation. Yet this perception is steadily changing. There are already a raft of animation studios based in countries across Africa, with Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa already boasting studios capable of producing high-quality 2-D and 3-D animation.

While the teaching of complex animation techniques is still pretty limited on the African continent, some recent programs are seeking to change this. A recent project launched by a Senegalese media mogul has attracted European union funding in an attempt to bring high-quality animation to the African continent.

The program will offer ten young Africans with particular animation talent the opportunity to train in the most important concepts in 2-D and 3-D animation. The project will offer the ten lucky individuals selected a grant to support them while they train to become skilled animators.

The BBC’s Laeila Adjovi recently reported from Dakar, and posed the question of whether Africa could one day produce popular animated movies to compete with American cartoons or Japanese mangas? Perhaps it is a little too early to contemplate Africa producing the same quality of 3-D animation as the Western world, but there is certainly both enthusiasm and potential inherent within the continent.

Aside from the development in movie-based 3-D animation, the video game industry is also attracting 3-D animators in Africa. Particularly in South Africa, the game industry has taken off significantly, and is already worth R2.1 billion per year, with figures expected to exceed R2.5 billion during this calendar year. 

196 full-time and 284 part-time South Africans work in the video games industry according to a recent survey by Make Games South Africa, and given the prominence of 3-D animation within this genre, the technique is developing rapidly in the nation.

As the gaming and animation industries develop in South Africa, institutions are springing up all over the nation which are offering young people the opportunity to further enhance their skills in this area. College courses on 3D animation are offered in South Africa by Learn 3D, a local 3D animation and game development college.

This rapid rise of 3-D animation in both gaming and movies in Africa is indicative of the growing significance of this industry across the world. Given the massive economic success of 3-D animation, animators are cropping up in every note and cranny of the planet. Its points to an exciting future for 3-D animation in which there is a great deal more plurality in big 3-D animation productions.



Natural Front Intuitive Pro - The Perfect Solution for Small to Medium Animation Studios and Animators

clock September 7, 2014 22:30 by author christpaul

Here at Natural Front, we're all too aware how difficult it can be for small animation studios and independent animators to gain a footing in the industry. The animation industry is extremely competitive, and with numerous huge corporations at the head of it, and significant overheads associated with every aspect of the animation process, remaining competitive as a small business, or as the little guy in the street, can be a huge challenge.

That is why our Natural Front Intuitive Pro software is specifically aimed at small, independent animation studios and freelance animators. We have built our package up as a small business, and we want to help out people who have been in the same situation as us.

Central to this process has been ensuring that the Natural Front Intuitive Pro software is available at a price that particularly suits small to medium enterprises and freelance animators. Although we are extremely proud of the powerful nature of the Natural Front software, we want its facilities and functions to be available to as many animators as possible. We don't want anyone to be excluded from the Natural Front experience.

That's why we have recently announced a new monthly payment system for our two most sophisticated Natural Front Intuitive Pro packages. These deliver incredible functionality and intuitive 3-D facial animation in particular, but are now well within the price range of small studios and freelance animators.

The Natural Front Intuitive Pro software delivers incredibly user-friendly and easy photo-to-3-D modelling. It enables you to create 3-D animations intuitively and speedily, with lip syncing particularly efficiently supported. You can put in place your own distinctive blend of expressions and mouse shapes, and the Natural Front Intuitive Pro software supports complete export to the popular SBX platform. With the Natural Front Intuitive Pro complete version now available at the bargain price of $25 per month, you really can't go wrong in signing up for Natural Front.

Aside from the value for money element of the Natural Front software, we are also conscious of the fact that small-scale animators want to be able to save resources in every step of the animation process. Therefore Natural Front has been designed to make 3-D facial animation particularly easy, via its revolutionary curve-controlled modelling system. Natural Front makes the most time-consuming, expensive and complex processes associated with 3-D animation obsolete.

Natural Front Intuitive Pro is the ideal package for any small to medium animation studio and freelance animator. Sign up for the free 30 day trial today, and start finding out what Natural Front Intuitive Pro can do for you.



New Natural Front Intuitive Pro 2.2 Version Released

clock September 1, 2014 20:40 by author christpaul

We're always happy at Natural Front when we have some good news for our customers. And as the saying goes that bad news comes in threes, we’re happy to announce that sometimes good news comes in threes as well! So we have three morsels of good news to announce to all of our customers, and we're sure that this will please animation studios and professional animators alike

Firstly, the new Natural Front website is now up and running. We have been working on our new site for quite some time, and we're extremely pleased with the new design of the website. It features a lot of useful information about the Natural Front Intuitive Pro package, so whether you're thinking about purchasing the Natural Front animation software for the first time, or would like to learn a little more about it as an existing customer, the website is a good place to start 

Secondly, as a companion to our new website we have also recently released a new beta version of the Natural Front Intuitive Pro software. This is effectively the 2.2 version of the Natural Front package. In this latest release, we have particularly focused on ensuring that the 3-D animation facility in the software is improved, and we're delighted with the level of smoothness that has been achieved. We're confident that our customers will really love this new Natural Front Intuitive Pro release. You can access the latest version of the software by clicking here.

Finally, in order to make our payment system more suitable to our customers needs, and having received a lot of feedback on the matter, we have recently changed the payment system for Natural Front from a one off payment to a monthly subscription model. Natural Front Intuitive Pro Complete 2.2 will cost $25 for a monthly subscription, while Natural Front Intuitive Pro Simplified 2.2 will cost $9 per month. We also have our Intuitive Pro Free version, and the two premium packages are also available on a free trial basis. 

Nothing else about Natural Front Intuitive Pro has changed. NaturalFront Intuitive Pro remains the ideal piece of animation software, designed for 3D professionals, businesses and developed on revolutionary 3D algorithms. It offers incredible animation power, while making the process of 3-D animation considerably easier, particularly with regard to facial animations. We're extremely proud of this fantastic piece of software, and recommend professional animators and animation studios to check it out today.



Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus Offer Exciting 3D Future

clock August 23, 2014 21:50 by author christpaul

All lovers of science fiction will be familiar with the concept of the alternative or virtual reality. 3-D worlds that run parallel, or are somehow separate to our own, has been a perennial theme of a science fiction writing for decades, and is particularly associated with the work of the highly acclaimed writer Philip K. Dick. For a long time, the most imaginative people on the planet have envisage the possibility of people disappearing into an alternate reality. Well, that time may not be far away.

Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus PR created a lot of headlines. The company is currently in the process of developing Oculus Rift; a virtual reality headset which has been initially proposed to be aimed at the video gaming community. With its ability to deliver truly immersive 3-D worlds via a virtual headset, the potential of Oculus Rift in the long -term is absolutely massive.

Oculus Rift is not the only virtual reality device currently being developed. A contender to the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift is Sony's Project Morpheus. This is another virtual reality headset which will eventually provide access to 3-D worlds for owners of the Sony PlayStation 4 console.

The ability to take people - even given the immersive world of modern videogames  - through the television, into an entirely new concept in which one is literally transported into a 3-D world, offers huge opportunities for movie makers. Because it has been predicted that 3-D movies will not really take off until such time as they become a more immersive experience.

 

Although 3-D animation has been vastly successful in the cinema, and has greatly outperformed 3-D movies, which by their very nature require glasses to be worn, technologies such as Oculus Rift promise a future in which incredibly absorbing 3-D animations can be viewed within one's own home. It would seem at this point in time that the technology is rather too expensive to be used on a cinematic basis, but certainly home movies could be viewed through the helmet in a way which adds something of great significance to the viewing experience.

Just days ago, the popular movie website Netflix announced its intention to be compatible with Oculus Rift eventually. This would mean hat you could both browse and then view movies in wraparound 3-D; an attractive proposition for many movie buffs and fans. It seems inevitable that such a form of technology could add a great deal of value to animation as well, given the potential for it to immerse viewers in an entirely new animated universe.

Virtual reality has huge transformative potential for 3-D movies and 3-D animation, and it'll be fascinating to see how Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus develop in the coming years.



How to Select or Produce the Right Facial Photograph for Natural Front Intuitive Pro

clock August 17, 2014 21:25 by author christpaul

Natural Front Intuitive Pro makes producing world-class animations incredibly easy and intuitive. With its specialised package which particularly focuses on producing the highest quality of 3-D facial animations, Natural Front Intuitive Pro is a powerful tool in the hands of professional animators and animation studios.

Natural Front Intuitive Pro has been designed to make the animation process as easy as possible, and the feedback we have received has time and time again indicated to us that we have been successful in this goal. But we never cease in our attempts to make the 3-D animation process even easier and more pleasurable for our customers, and there are always little snippets of knowledge which can help with the animation process.

One thing we asked about a lot at Natural Front is the best way to select a photograph for 3-D modelling. This is a valid question, as selecting the correct sort of photograph is essential to making the process as straightforward as possible. So here is a short step-by-step guide to selecting the best possible photograph for 3-D facial modelling.

- Firstly, it is advisable to select the photograph or someone aged between 15 and 65 years of age. This should give you a pretty broad spectrum to select from.

- Secondly, the photograph in question must be a full frontal facial image, with mouth closed and the person’s face exhibiting a relaxed expression.

- Thirdly, flash lighting must be used. You should avoid using photographs which have been taken during the daytime.

- Fourthly, any form of facial hair is acceptable, as is make-up.

- Glasses should be removed.

- In terms of the distance between face and camera when taking the photograph, a distance of at least five feet is recommended.

- When taking the photograph, ensure that the camera and human face being photographed are kept at the same horizontal level.

- Images should be in full colour, black and white images will not suffice.

- Finally, once the image has been entered into the Natural Front Intuitive Pro software, the face should be clicked in eleven spots as follows: within both eyes, at both sides of the face adjacent to the ear lobes, at the side of the furthest extremities of both nostrils, at the corners of both sides of the mouth, at the furthest extremities of both sides of the person’s jaw, and the lowest point of their chin.

By following these simple steps, you will soon be able to animate your 3-D face in Natural Front Intuitive Pro.



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to be Sophisticated 3D Animation Extravaganza

clock August 13, 2014 11:41 by author christpaul

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - heroes in a halfshell! This will be a slogan familiar with all animation fans of the 1990s, as the superhero cartoon was one of the most successful animated products of the period. Well, the turtles are back, and this time they are reportedly taking advantage of some of the most state-of-the-art animation techniques available.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are the latest super heroes to hit the big screen this summer. This will be the first Turtles outing for nearly 20 years, and it represents the fourth movie in the turtles series.

The film has unfortunately already hit a bit of a marketing snag, when a poster related to the forthcoming movie was withdrawn due to its rather appalling resemblance to the September 11 terrorist attacks. But the plot of the film sees before heroic turtles saving the people of New York City from Shredder and his evil Foot Clan.

With such major stars and bankable action veterans as Megan Fox appearing in the movie, it is clear that this is a huge production and one likely to be hugely successful.

The movie grabs the attention of viewers as soon as the credits have finished rolling, very much resembling a giant comic book come to life on the big screen. Already the animation, special effects and 3-D animation related to the film have been proclaimed to be nothing short of spectacular. And the very latest techniques have been put into practice to ensure that this movie really stands out from the crowd in terms of visual effects.

Preparations for the 3D scenes in the movie got underway months before filming — as Alan Ritchson (Raphael), Pete Ploszek (Leonardo), Noel Fisher (Michelangelo), Jeremy Howard (Donatello) and Danny Woodburn (Master Splinter) each underwent complex facial and full-body scans that led to the tailoring of their custom made helmets and motion-capture suits. 

Later, on set, the four Turtle actors and Woodburn each went through a daily two-hour long session of applying white facial powder and VFX dots to help further track their expressions. This complex process enables the turtles to really be brought to life in I'm extremely sophisticated form of 3-D animation.

As the expectations of moviegoers grows and grows, so film studios are finding evermore innovative ways to deliver even more immersive special effects and 3-D animations. Mere CGI doesn't necessarily cut it now; and this is going to lead to even more exciting developments in 3-D animation as years go by.



Authoritative Report Predicts Huge Future for 3D Animation Industry

clock August 8, 2014 09:10 by author christpaul

An important research paper on the future of 3-D animation has seen the light of day in the last 24 hours. Research and Markets has announced the release of its “Research and Markets: Global 3D Animation (Hardware, Software & Service) Market Forecasts and Opportunities Report 2014-2019”. This detailed and authoritative report offers the opinions of the organisation regarding the direction that the 3-D animation market will take in the next few years.

This is an extremely detailed report on the direction of the 3-D animation industry that encompasses all of the key areas of interest to all professional animators. The report segments the 3-D animation market based on a series of key components such as hardware, software and services. Within each of these areas, Research and Markets have looked into and prognosticated the direction that the animation industry will take between now and the end of the decade.

The hardware section looks at how elements of animation technology such as dedicated workstations, video card/GPU, motion capturing systems, and other hardware elements will evolve, develop and influence the industry in the coming years.

People involved in the animation industry professionally may be particularly interested in the services aspect of this report. The services market, according to research and markets, comprises consulting, development and integration, support and maintenance and product training and certification. 

The report assesses all of the most important areas of 3-D animation which have arisen from the flexibility of this exciting technology. 3-D animation is now associated primarily with video games and movies, but it is also a powerful way for companies to engage in absorbing marketing. Thus, 3-D animation has become extensively and effectively used in a variety of marketing advertising techniques, which incorporate modelling, simulation and analysis, along with training and education.

The key topics covered in this report include a detailed overview of the 3-D animation market for the remainder of the decade. The introductory sections incorporate an executive summary of the 3-D animation industry, and then the latter sections go into a detailed breakdown of the economic potential of the 3-D animation marketplace.

Numerous larger companies associated with the industry are also profiled in the report with the likes of Adobe Systems, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Autodesk, Corel Corporation, Intel Corporation, Lenovo Goup Ltd., Maxon, Nvidia Corporation, Newtek, Inc. and Side Effects Software all assessed by Research and Markets.

Report paints a picture of an extremely healthy industry, and it can be downloaded by following this link.



India's First 3D Animated Trailer Captures Attention

clock August 4, 2014 20:43 by author christpaul

In the immediate future, and even the present, the so-called developing economies will become increasingly important for global commerce. The two obvious powerhouses in this area are China and India. The two countries combined house 37% of the world’s population, the top 25% of the Indian population with the highest IQs are greater in number than the total population of the United States, and China is expected imminently to become the country in the world with the greatest number of people that can speak the English language.

India has also been particularly associated with information technology, employing more than 2.5 million people in this sector, and a similar number of people graduate each year from university. A graduation of 2.5 million people per annum is roughly equal to the entire combined population of Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh. India’s IT outsourcing industry already stands at over $50 billion per annum, and is expected to increase to $225 billion by 2020. India also produces over 500,000 engineers each year, and as 12% of its population speaks fluent English, it is expected that in the next decade India and China will be the two countries with the most English language speaking people in the world.

It is perhaps not surprising then that India is already making waves in animation. The association that the country already has with high-tech industries and related university subjects makes it perfect to produce talented young animators. And News this week broke of another first within Chennai in India which indicates the extent to which the country is moving forward in the field of animation.

Randheeran is India’s first 3D animated trailer, coming out of Coimbatore-based Realworks Studios. The film has been born out of 756 manhours of work, with the animation rendered by a 20-member crew. What’s more the animation has been made purely in India by local talent, and reportedly on a relatively shoestring budget.

Made as a tribute to Superstar’s Kochadaiiyaan, the four minute video trailer of Ranadheeran has captured the attention of animation enthusiasts and movie buffs all over the world. With the teaser already uploading to YouTube, it has gone viral since, with the Indian public apparently extremely enthusiastic about this animation breakthrough for the nation.

While India has a long way to go to challenge the established giants of 3-D animation such as Pixar, this is certainly a step in the right direction. Realworks Studios is already making big connections in the movie industry, and the recent culture of India is so steeped in technology that it seems inevitable that 3-D animation will take off there in a big way.



How Natural Front Intuitive Pro Makes Facial Animation Easy For Professionals

clock August 2, 2014 17:27 by author christpaul

Natural Front Intuitive Pro is the ultimate solution for 3-D facial animation. With Natural Front Intuitive Pro, you can create a photorealistic 3-D face starting from photographic references within but a few seconds. Animators from all over the world have already proclaimed Natural Front to be a massive quantum leap forward in 3-D animation techniques. The whole animation process is astonishingly simple and mostly automatic with Natural Front Intuitive Pro.

Natural Front Ontuitive Pro makes it extremely easy to import audio tracks. This enables you to imbue your characters with emotions, make them talk, and take on a whole character of their own. Furthermore, the software enables you to blend expressions and create talking mouth shapes. This is all handled in an incredibly user-friendly and intuitive manner.

Once you're happy with the character that you have created, you can easily import your 3-D created face into any 3-D software package of your choice. To achieve the same results using other software would require you to first model the face manually. Any animator will tell you that this is an incredibly time-consuming process, not to mention a difficult and highly skilled one.

And that's not the end of it. Once this has been done, it would then be necessary to rig the facial model, at least if you were using other 3D rendering packages. The whole process would take days or weeks, and is well known to be one of the most challenging in the entire field of animation.

By contrast, with Natural Front Intuitive Pro the facial modelling process is extremely intuitive, straightforward, and it requires merely a few clicks from animators. Professional animators who've used Natural Front Intuitive Pro have remarked that getting to grips with the software involves almost no learning curve.

Once animations have been created in Natural Front Intuitive Pro, they can be added very easily to any 3-D software program of choice, making the process of creating animations considerably easier. If you are a games creator, Natural Front Intuitive Pro enables you to import animated expressions and talking characters in literally a matter of minutes.

It is this ease of use and quality of animation that has established Natural Front Intuitive Pro as a major leader in the 3-D facial animation field. Saving professional animators and professional animation studios both time and money, Natural Front Intuitive Pro is the ideal solution for anyone hoping to achieve world-class animation on a budget.



Unique Spider Animation Created by Natural History Museum Scientists

clock July 22, 2014 16:20 by author christpaul

What it may not appeal to the arachnophobic among us, but a new 3-D animated video has created quite a stir among the historical community. We are used to seeing all manner of anthropomorphic animals featuring in 3-D animated movies, but on this particular occasion the centrepiece of the film is an unusual animal to say the least.

It is equally rare to hear of an animated film which has involved researchers from the Natural History Museum in London. But that is precisely the basis for the filming question. Researchers used exceptionally well preserved fossils gleaned from the infamous museum to help create the film, and they’ve certainly produced something of historical notoriety.

The centrepiece of the film is a 410-million-year-old arachnid. It seemed unlikely that such a creature, from an entirely extinct family of spiders, would ever gain a digital outing. But this is nearly half a billion-year-old creature was  considered by animators to be a particularly intriguing subject matter.

The striking animation was created in order to display the gait of this prehistoric creature. It is sort by researchers at the spider in question was one of the first ever predators to Rome the land of the Earth. Animators were able to create what is considered to be a highly accurate visualisation of the creature by conferring with researchers before beginning their 3-D animation. 

The researchers had used fossils of the arachnid to figure out the range of possible motion in the animal's limbs. These fossils emanated from a rock called the Rhynie chert, and were unusually well preserved according to curators at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin. German scientists collaborated with workers from the Natural History Museum in order to help create this particularly striking animation.

Country to the impression that we human beings they sometimes have, Malawian life has not always been the dominant force on the planet. Long before the ancestors of human beings roamed the earth, the only residents were in fact at the very top of the food chain, according to researchers.

What became clear from this process is that the quality of animation software is now search that complex 3-D animations can now be produced by, Not professional animators, but scientists. No longer is immense technical skill and huge Financial expenditure required.

Of course, they could have improved the animation and costs still further by plumping for the latest Natural Front Intuitive Pro package…



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