Frame-by-frame animation – Hurricane Valley Times


Frame-by-frame animation (also called classic) is a collection of images stored as separate images and replacing each other at high speed. It is the oldest and most reliable way to store a moving image on any medium (film, paper, magnetic tape, hard drive, CD, DVD).

Absolutely all movies created at this point by hard-working humanity are stop-motion animation. Indeed, the very principle of a cinema camera is based on fixing a plurality of still images on a photosensitive film, each after a certain lapse of time. Twenty-four (the standard frame rate of a “big” movie) times per second, the camera orders: “Stop, moment”. Any film is made up of several thousand of these “frozen moments”.

The camcorder operates in the same way. However, in this case, the process of creating an image sequence is not so obvious: the information is recorded in electronic form on a magnetic medium, and you cannot see it with the naked eye. But, believe me, everything here is exactly the same as in the case of a camera.

And if you’re taking cartoon and puppet animation movies, then stop-motion animation exists in its purest form. Each frame of the film is drawn or aligned on stage, after which a single frame is taken by the camera. Then the next shot is prepared – and so on, until the whole movie is ready. A hell of a job… Of course, there are now many technical innovations that make the work of the facilitator easier, especially in the computer world, but the principle remains the same.

How did mankind fall in love with frame-by-frame animation? Instead of answering, let’s consider all of its benefits.

  • Relative proof of creation. In fact, to make an animated film, all you have to do is draw all the frames it contains and transfer them to an information medium. Well, obviously, but by no means easy
  • Many possibilities for creativity. Well there is nothing to say

Unfortunately, this is where the benefits of time-lapse animation end. And the drawbacks begin.

  • Great work intensity for making films. If each frame is drawn by hand and no technical means are used to facilitate the work, the process of making a film can take several months or even years. (Conventional movies are created much faster, since they don’t need to draw frames – the operator just captures the actual scene.) And notorious technical means don’t speed up this process much.

Big problems with digital recording of time-lapse animation

Here, let’s stop and talk about the digitization (digitization) of films and their storage.

Each of the many frames that make up a movie occupies a certain amount of disk space when stored. Suppose this space is 100 kilobytes, which is not enough to store a high resolution color image in JPEG format. Now suppose the number of frames is 100,000 – such a long movie. Multiplying 100 by 100,000 gives you 10,000,000, or about 10 gigabytes (approximately, because a gigabyte is not 1,000,000,000, but 1,073,741,824 bytes). Turns out we need an entire hard drive or about 2.5 DVD discs to store a movie, and how many regular CDs are needed for that, it’s just scary to think of!

What to do? Of course, compress the film harder! And at the same time compress the soundtrack, if necessary.

Lossy compression is almost always used to compress movies. As we already know, in this case, some of the information that is not very necessary during playback is removed, which significantly reduces the size of the video file. Additionally, algorithms that implement movie compression specifically analyze each frame and only store data about the differences between adjacent frames in the resulting file. This further reduces the size of the compressed film. lists the most popular frame-by-frame animation compression algorithms currently in use.

  • Intel Indeo. Developed by Intel in the early 90s, at the dawn of the multimedia age. Provides fairly low compression, but works fine on older computers. Now, it is used to compress very short videos, in seconds, often used as interface elements of Windows programs.
  • MPEG I. The very first of this family of algorithms, also developed in the early 1990s by the Motion Picture Encoding Group (MPEG) for VideoCD recordings. Provides medium compression rate and fairly high image quality. There is also a version of this algorithm designed for audio compression – MPEG I level 3 (MP3).
  • MPEG II. It was developed in the second half of the 90s for recording DVD-Video discs. Provides higher image quality and compression rate than MPEG I.
  • MPEG IV. It was also developed in the second half of the 90s specifically for Internet movie distribution. Provides a higher compression rate than MPEG II and also supports various additional features, such as unauthorized copy protection and creation of interactive elements.
  • It was developed at the very end of the 90s by a group of independent programmers as a free alternative to the commercial MPEG IV. It was used to distribute pirated copies of movies, but then “got down to an honest path” and now goes to market quickly.
  • Modern compression algorithms, for example, MPEG IV and DivX, allow you to put a full-size, compressed movie of good quality on an ordinary CD, that is, the size of the compressed video file with their help is about 700 megabytes. In fact, it was these two algorithms that made the “computer cinema” revolution, creating high quality digital cinema “for the people”.

Compressing a movie is done using a special program called an encoder. Such an encoder implements any one of the above compression algorithms.

A program playing a compressed video must be able to decompress it. To decompress the movie, a decoder program is used, which also implements one of the compression algorithms. When you open a file with a movie, the video player program determines from the information saved in its header by which algorithm the movie is compressed and connects the appropriate decoder.

Very often the encoder and decoder are combined into one program called a codec (encoder-decoder). The codec is often referred to as the compression algorithm that it implements: for example, there are MPEG II and DivX codecs.

But here another problem arises. Movies compressed using the MPEG IV and DivX algorithms can only be “mastered” by sufficiently powerful computers. If you try to watch a DivX movie on a computer released five years ago, you won’t see a normal movie, but some kind of slideshow. This happens because a low-power processor, having no time to decompress the data and display it on the screen, is forced to skip entire frames. Fortunately, no one ever thought of running digital cinema on older computers.

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