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How is Optical 3D different to other CGI / animation studios?

What sets us apart is our technical understanding, and how much we learn about our clients’ products, technology and processes in order to produce the most effective animation, still image or interactive presentation. There are other CGI / animation studios in the market, but very few have Optical 3D’s grasp of technical subjects. This enables us to deliver the edge that our clients need.

What is CGI?

CGI stands for Computer-generated imagery

What is the difference between 2D and 3D and why produce a 3D model?

A 2D image is a flat image and once created, can only be seen from the angle it is produced in. A 3D image can be rotated to show the image from any angle, and is therefore very versatile. While it is quicker and therefore cheaper to produce a 2D image, we often recommend that a 3D model is produced so that the maximum range of images can be achieved. A clear benefit of creating a 3D model for a still image is that this model can be used later in an animation with significant savings in time and cost.

What is a storyboard and how is one developed?

A storyboard is a scene-by-scene breakdown of your animation (or presentation). It usually consists of a series of simple sketches and directions. We produce this from the client’s brief and from our initial discussions with them. The purpose of the storyboard is to ensure that we are all in agreement with how the animation will proceed and what it will contain.

What reference materials do I need to supply?

We can work from many types of reference material including sketches, photographs, engineering drawings, CAD data or the physical product. If you have CAD data available this is always the most cost effective and accurate method, as we will be utilising the information that the actual product is made from. Please contact us to discuss.

Can you create still images from animations and vice versa?

Yes, once an animation is complete it is possible to identify the required frame and for us create a still image by producing a high-resolution render of the scenes required to produce this frame. Having a still image can be especially useful for publicising your animation and to accompany reports and the whole range of marketing materials.

Alternatively, for a still image, if the initial model has been created in 3D then it is possible to develop an animation using this existing model.

What formats can you output my animation to?

We can output in High Definition (HD) format as either Quicktime (QT) or Windows Media Player (WMV) files. HD1080p is the highest resolution, HD720p is high resolution and HD480p is medium resolution. We recommend HD720p for high-quality viewing. You may also want to provide the HD480p format for viewing / downloading over the internet; either using a QuickTime or WMV media player or via YouTube or Vimeo. We can also supply files for use with a DVD player. Although the quality wont be as sharp as a HD file, this has the advantage that it can be used in any DVD player and doesn’t need a specific media player to run.

How long will a project typically take?

This depends on the kind of project and its complexity. Where we are provided with the most detailed reference files, to produce a still image may take between one to two weeks, and a 3D animation around six to eight weeks.

What is rendering and how long does it take?

Rendering is the act of physically processing the animation files. This requires significant computer power. Depending on the size of the animation, this can take from several days to several weeks. If you consider that a typical 5 minute animation consists of 7200 frames, each frame often having highly technical content, taking between 5 to 7 minutes to render on one machine, you’ll see why! We have invested in our in house render machines which enables us to produce initial renders as each stage is signed off, in order to keep the project on track.

What is post-production?

It describes the process of producing supplementary work to the rendered image, adding to the lighting effects for example to enhance the final image.

What is rigging?

This is where we add the intelligent skeleton to a 3D model. This allows the model – whether organic or mechanical – to move in a realistic way, either to pose a model in a specific way for a still image, or for a series of movements following an animation story board.

What is compositing?

This is where all of the elements of an animation are put together. It consists of taking the fully rendered files, adding the voiceover, soundtrack, additional still images and text.

How do I arrange a voiceover for my animation?

There are several ways to do this. We can produce voiceovers in-house and also have established links with a professional studio who are able to provide a suitable voice artist and recording facilities. The studio will record the voiceover from your script and supply this to us as an audio (WAV or MP3) file. Alternatively, you could find a suitable voice from within your company. However unless you have the appropriate recording technology in-house you will still need to use the services of a voiceover studio with recording facilities to produce this.

Can you help to provide translations for my project?

Yes, we can provide a translation service through one of our suppliers and we can manage this process for you. Translations must be proof-read and approved by the client; we cannot be held responsible for any errors found in translations.

How do you manage long-distance projects?

We work with all our clients using a mix of face-to-face meetings, phone calls, telephone/web conferencing and email. At the outset of any project, where practical, we suggest one or two face-to-face meetings to ensure the project aims, brief and the processes involved are understood and agreed. We send proofs of the project throughout the stages of production by email and can discuss modifications by phone and email in order to manage the process as efficiently as possible.

What are your terms of payment?

For most projects undertaken with a new client, we ask for a third of the total project cost upon commission, a third at the preview image/animation stage and the final third on completion of the project. Payments are due at the time of invoicing unless otherwise stated.

Who has ownership of the copyright?

Ownership of copyright passes to the client upon final payment of the project. Until this time, Optical 3D retains copyright.

On completion of the project, we reserve the right to use a selection of images or the animation produced and credited to you in the promotion of the services available from Optical 3D.

How do you safeguard your clients’ confidentiality?

We appreciate that this is an important consideration for clients, particularly when coming to us in order to demonstrate a product or technology that has not yet been launched. We are happy to sign and commit to the terms of a confidentiality agreement.

What other services do you provide?

Aside from 3D animations and still images, we provide a wide variety of other services including technical illustration and authorship, production of interactive training courses and training literature, marketing materials and Apps suitable for iPhone, iPad and Android.

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