"PIXELS AND PEGBARS" - INTRODUCTION
I've called this collection of articles “Pixels and Pegbars”
because it is both about computer graphics and some of the traditional
animation skills and terms you need to know; more importantly, it
is about how the two are used together.
Much of the information I present is available elsewhere, but it is sometimes difficult to track down.
Once, animation was largely a tactile activity; that is, you could physically touch every part of the process from the pencil, paper, clay and so on to the camera itself. Now, anyone with access to a computer can animate without using “real” things like pencils or plasticine. But you still need to specify framing in your scenes, in other words use something that takes the role of a camera. It is just that you no longer need a real camera. So although in many ways the newer technology of computing may seem very different to traditional technology, many of the original concepts are there at heart but used in new ways. Computers are tools which make many aspects of film-making easier and more realisable. The beginning and end of the animation process remain as ever the concept and its realisation. “Pixels and Pegbars” is about the technical aspects of the hard graft that comes between the two.
“Pixels and Pegbars” is based on three simple propositions:
So bearing in mind point 3 above, be aware that I treat terms like pencil, film, pegbar, camera and so on with disregard to their actual physical nature. A film might be an Internet streamed file, or it may be a huge roll of photographic celluloid whirring through a traditional film projector. Likewise, when I talk about moving the camera in a scene, this may be achieved with a real camera comprising a lens and a metal body, or the camera may in fact be a few thousand lines of computer code. Only when the difference is important will a distinction be made.
Please be aware that these notes are written from a UK (European) perspective and this will mean that some of the numerical information given here will not apply to other parts of the world. In particular, frame rates, timecode and TV picture dimensions are different if you are in countries like the USA where mains supply is 60 cycles per second. In Europe, it is 50.
I hope you will find these notes and articles
useful. The Internet is a big place, so be sure to read what other
people have to say and don't just take my word for things !
Jeff Goldner Feb 2004