Not for anyone in particular, just sick of people being all "Oh you're doing Animation, so you animate" / "You make cartoons" etc.
Some of this may come off as patronising to anyone who knows what I'm talking about, and I apologise for that. Hopefully though, it could be quite useful to those who have no idea.
Let me start out by saying that often, "Animation" is a general term used to cover any/all jobs within the animation production line. Of course, "animation" is also a stage inside this production line, which can make it pretty confusing.
THE (3D!) ANIMATION PRODUCTION LINE.
Okay, so here we have (in its simplest form)- pre-production, production and post-production.
Pre-production is the first stage, and basically covers any work that has to be done before the actual "production" takes place. This includes research and development of ideas (I'll go into this further in a moment).
Production is the actual making of the visuals- including the actual "animation".
Post-production is anything that is done after production- editing, effects, compositing etc.
"Development." The stage where the idea comes about, and is explored in as many ways as possible. During this stage, these (and often more) jobs are carried out.
Gathering of research, drafting of script, development/designing of characters and environments, concept art, storyboards.
When making a CG/3D animated film, "modelling" and "rigging" often fall into the "pre-production" category (although it can be argued that these are "production").
MODELLING is the creation of a 3D character (or environment) within computer software packages. Think sculpting, but digitally. In this stage, the character (as designed in pre-production) is "built" in a rigid pose, ready to be handed over to the texture artists, before ending up with the "riggers".
Models look something like this-
(I googled 3D model and found this- no credit to me!)
TEXTURING- this is the adding of skin/hair/colours/materials to the model, making it look complete.
Here's someone you might recognise, after being textured-
(same goes, no credit to me!)
RIGGING- This here is where I come in! (Yay, I'm a RIGGER). Now what we do, is we take the models that the modellers have created, and we essentially bring them to life. We do this by building them a virtual "skeleton" and a series of controls that enable the "animators" (next in line) to do their job.
Looks a bit like this-
(found on google- not mine)
ANIMATORS (me again, hiya guys!) then take these models, which having been rigged are now essentially digital puppets, and, well... animate them! This meaning, they move them (using the controls the riggers created) in accordance with the script/storyboards, acting out the story and essentially finalising the production process.
LIGHTING. People are required to light the 3D environments so that they look convincing as real worlds. This is probably one of the most important stages in getting your animation to look believable.
CAMERAS are also very important. Within the 3D software you must create "cameras", that essentially do the job that a real camera would, but from inside a virtual world, outputting visual "shots", that are then RENDERED, ready for editing.
RENDERING is the process of getting shots out of the 3D software, ready to be edited.
And then comes the gruelling job of editing everything together- animation, sound, effects, eventually getting everything together into the final piece.
WOO. So there you go. I consider myself a RIGGER and an ANIMATOR. That's my best effort (for now) at explaining what I do. I apologise that I haven't gone into much detail, especially about the areas I don't work in. Any questions though, I'll try my best to answer them, or I'll get someone who knows what they're talking about to answer.
Let me say here that I also like to be involved in the creative process- coming up with stories, script-writing etc. Ideally one day I'll be a director, but you have to pay your dues first!
Any way, I hope all that makes at least some sense.