3D Production Pipeline: Pirates Gold

I modeled the chest using 3DS Max. I UV mapped the chest base and the side of the lid and did not complete the texturing so I used the colour palette as my texture. I used keyframes to animate the various components. I added lights and cameras to make the animation functional. I rendered the animation to jpgs and used Adobe Premier and added text.

pirates guld0283

3D Production Pipeline, Continued 2


The rigged 3D model is now brought to life. The most common method of animation is key-framing. This involves an action starting at key-frame A and ending at key-frame B using a timeline; for example, if you wanted to have a cloud move across the sky, key-frame A would be the cloud at its starting position and key-frame B would be the cloud at the end position. The animation software fills in the middle section, which can be edited such as the time taken for the cloud to move. This technique can be used for many different actions from facial expressions to explosions. Many individual key-frames can be used simultaneously to produce a complete scene by layering them together.

rabbit walk via 3d-animated-gif.com.au.gif

Rabbit Walk gif obtained 6/3/16, via http://3d-animated-gif.blogspot.com.au/2011_01_01_archive.html


Boudon, Grant. “How Does A 3D Production Pipeline Work”. Digital-Tutors Blog. N.p., 2013. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

Wiesen, G. “What Is 3D Computer Animation?” wiseGEEK. N.p., 2016. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.



Lighting is crucial to create mood and realism within a digital 3D scene. It is implemented through various lights such as key light, point light, fill light, and rim light. Mood is created through the intensity, source and colours of the light, for example, a full moon dimly lights up a forest trail in a blue hue giving the scene an eerie feel. Lighting is also affected by the texture and material of the surfaces it interacts with.


Image accessed on 6/3/16 from: https://austinvisuals.com/how-2d-and-3d-animation-is-made-at-an-animation-studio-part-4/


Franklin, Curt. “How 3-D Graphics Work”. HowStuffWorks. N.p., 2000. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

“How 2D And 3D Animation Is Made At An Animation Studio – Part 4 | Austin Visuals”. Austinvisuals.com. N.p., 2013. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.




Rendering is the translation of a shot from a mathematical model of vertices and polygons in a 3D space to a finalized 2D picture by the render engine. The incorporation of layout, shapes, textures, and lighting information establish the colour of each pixel in the final picture. This process can take an immense amount of time.


Image found on 6/3/16 from: http://www.archello.com/en/project/stunning-architectural-3d-rendering-predsolutions

Video link: http://www.digitaltutors.com/tutorial/718-CG101-Rendering


Slick, Justin. “What Is Rendering?”. About.com Tech. N.p., 2014. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.



This is the final stage of the 3D production pipeline where all the pieces are put together. This stage is crucial for modern CG animation combined with live action filming where the layers of animated objects and characters, lighting and visual effects, and film footage are fused to create the final picture. Types of compositing include node-based, layer-based and deep compositing




Video Link: https://www.fxguide.com/featured/the-art-of-deep-compositing/


“The Foundry :: About Digital Compositing”. Thefoundry.co.uk. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

3D Production Pipeline, Continued

UV Mapping

UV canvas is a 2D representation of a 3D model that projects textures on top of meshes. It uses U and V axes, equal to X and Y to plot where the pieces go. A 3D mesh is unwrapped to form a 2D net, then placed onto the UV canvas. UV mapping is like skinning the model and cutting it into pieces so that they can all be laid out on a flat surface, ready for texturing.

UV Mapping.jpg

Image accessed on 3/3/16, found at: http://www.renderspirit.com/wireframe-render-tutorial/

Video link: The Basics of UV Mapping


YouTube,. “The Basics Of UV Mapping”. N.p., 2009. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.

Knowledge.autodesk.com,. “Introduction To UV Mapping | Maya | Autodesk Knowledge Network”. N.p., 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.


Texturing and Shaders

Textures and shaders are 2D digital maps that make up how a digital 3D model looks. Textures are image files that cover a model’s surface to create colour, texture and patterns, using the UV map of the model. Textures can be created using digital painting software like Photoshop or by using photographs to fill the UV map. Roughness, highlights and translucent effects can be created using multiple texturing maps such as diffuse, specular and bump maps.

Shaders control how the surface of the model interacts with light, without which, the model would be nothing more than invisible points in a 3D plane. Different shaders can be used to allow different types of surfaces to appear realistic.UV Mapping httpwww.unwrap3d.com-u3d-index.aspx.jpg

Image from : http://www.unwrap3d.com/u3d/index.aspx




Rigging converts the 3D model for a stagnant statue into a maneuverable figure. The model is rigged with mechanisms that can be controlled and programmed to allow the model to perform actions. Rigging methods allowing the application of these actions include: joint rigging, facial rigging, forward and inverse kinematics, blend shapes, deformers, control curves, skinning, and weight painting. Joint rigging enables riggers to create a “skeleton” for the model, transforming it into a puppet.

Masters, M. (2014). Key 3D Rigging Terminology to Get You Moving. Digital-Tutors Blog. Retrieved 3 March 2016, from http://blog.digitaltutors.com/key-rigging-terms-get-moving/
Slick, J. (2014). How Are 3D Models Prepared for Animation?. About.com Tech. Retrieved 3 March 2016, from http://3d.about.com/od/Creating-3D-The-CG-Pipeline/a/What-Is-Rigging.htm

3D Production Pipeline

The 3D production pipeline is a basic outline of the method used to produce a 3D animation.

It roughly consists of:

  • Pre-production
  • Modeling
  • UV Mapping
  • Texturing
  • Rigging
  • Animation
  • Scene Assembly
  • Lighting
  • Rendering
  • Compositioning
  • Editing

This is a basic outline can is not always set out exactly like this. Each of the elements will be explored in further detail in this blog.


During the pre-production stage, the direction of the plot is developed. All the major concepts and ideas for characters, storyboards, style, sets (backgrounds/environments), props, vehicles, scenes, scripts, etc. are all created and processed in the pre-production stage. These concepts are explored through sketching. When working in a team, discussion with partners is crucial in this stage.

Character design is an integral component of the pre-production stage, developing the appearance and features of the characters that will accurately convey the intentions of the animation. The characters then have to bee refined and simplified so that their purposes as characters are achieved while being easy to animate. Model Sheets and Expression Sheets of the characters are made to help the animators maintain  consistency and Character Line-up Sheets help compare the scale of the characters to each other. Expression Sheets help the animators convey emotions in characters.

character multi-views2
Character model sheet

Storyboards are the first opportunity for others to experience the overall impression of the progression of the animation before it enters the production stage. They help to visualize the animation and communicate ideas clearly to other members of the team. The panels of a storyboard are often accompanied by text notes describing the occurrences of the scene, i.e. mood and lighting and camera moves, etc. The storyboard is used as a blueprint to refer back to throughout the production stage.

Brave storyboard
Storyboard for the Disney PIXAR animation Brave

An animatic is like a storyboard slideshow, including the dialogue, sound effects and music. The duration matches that of the intended animation. Animatics demonstrate the intended timing, transitions and sound simultaneously.






3D Modeling

3D modeling is a method for creating digital figures and graphics that seem to have 3 dimensions. This stage takes all of the concepts from pre-production and gives them substance and mass. It is used for creating assets such as: characters, environments, vehicles and props.

3D modeling xbox remote
Video game controller 3D model

There are four main methods of 3D modeling. The first, Primitive Modeling, is the simplest form and uses geometric basics to construct figures. Another method is Polygonal Modeling, which is more advanced. It involves joining lines through positions or vertices within a 3D space to create a flexible polygonal object, but exact curves are not possible. Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline Modeling, allows the user to bend space to create true curves, unlike the Polygonal method. Splines & Patches Modeling is the most advanced and time consuming method using curved lines to recognize and portray the visible surface.

3D modeling remote-controlled car
Remote controlled race car 3D model

There is a multitude of digital software available to chose from, eg. 3DS Max, Maya, Blender and many others. 3D Modeling is the foundation step in the Production phase of the pipeline because it involves creating the assets that all of the other steps in the 3D pipeline rely upon. Once the model is complete, it can be animated directly, without creating further models, unlike traditional 2D methods.