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Main content

1. Straight ahead animation

Straight ahead animation requires animators to draw each frame one after another in order. Then, they scan the pictures into a computer to play it back. You can try this technique in a demo by moving the ball a little bit in each frame.

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Video transcript

- So we're gonna delve deeper into the mathematics of splines in a minute, but first I want to show you around the animation department at Pixar. Even though we work on movies all day, in an animated movie, there's no real set, so our job is basically sitting in front of a computer. But that doesn't mean it has to be boring. Since our job demands a lot of creativity, we try to make Pixar feel like a place where creativity thrives. The animation department is divided into different pods, basically groups of offices. Each pod has evolved a different style. This one's the jungle pod, decorated with vines, plants, a castle, and even an office made to feel like the interior of a crash landed plane. This one here is kind of a central gathering place for animators, complete with a performance stage for live music. I spend some of my free time as a DJ, so I helped decorate my pod as the Vinyl Lounge, complete with turntables. Okay, I'm gonna start by showing you some techniques used in hand-drawn animation. And then we'll see how those translate into the computer. Let's first animate a ball using a technique called straight ahead animation. I'm gonna start with frame one. Now we'll put down another sheet of paper. These pegs help us keep it lined up. And I'll draw frame two here. Now frame three and frame four. As you can see, I'm drawing one frame after another in order. When I'm done, I'll scan all of these pictures into the computer so we can play it back. Straight ahead animation works the same way in the computer. You can give it a try in the next interactive demo. Start by dragging the ball where you want it to be at the beginning of your animation. Then step to the next frame and drag the ball where you want it. Just move it a little bit each frame. Keep going like this one frame at a time. When you're done, press play to see your animation. Now let's see what you can come up with.