3D Animation Studios in South Africa to Help You Create a Visual Story

Astral Studios is one of the leading 3D animation studios in South Africa. Based in Johannesburg, we first opened our doors in 1991 and have since then taken on 3D animation, documentaries, corporate video production, and television commercial projects of all sizes.

Our 3D animation studio focuses on the creation and manipulation of digital models through the use of special 3D software. By utilising advanced 3D animation techniques, we can tell a visual story and make even the most abstract concept come alive.

Our animation studio team has an impressive portfolio of completed work and thus has the experience to handle just about any type of project. The Astral Studios 3D animation portfolio of completed projects includes for example:

  • Mouse in the House – Max, the mouse character, engages the imaginations of young kids with fun science experiments.
  • Cadbury Chomp – 3D animated television commercial about a hippo and her antics.
  • PASA – 3D animation of a seventies underground parking lot where the scene transforms into a modern space with numerous advertising opportunities.
  • Ladbrokers Soccer Fans – animated video about two guys kicking a ball unto a graffiti wall which comes to life.
  • ATNS Thuli’s First Flight – takes the viewer through the story of an air traffic controller’s first flight.
  • Jojo – animated adventure series where the main character uncovers various environments and endangered species.

The 3D Animation Process

We create computer-generated scenes and 3D figures through the use of polygons. Our animation experts bring the 3D characters to life through a process of rigging. The techniques we use often involve a lot of simulation. We, for instance, add water, fire and light effects to create a realistic 3D world. Through the use of special software we can rotate the 3D objects and let them move as if they’re in the real world.

Each project goes through three phases in our animation studio to form the object, create the lay-out, animation and movement, as well as placement of objects in the three-dimensional scene. The phases are briefly explained below to give you an overview of how we get to the final product.

Phase 1

The first phase involves modelling, texturing and scene creation. We shape the object during the modelling phase through the use of 3D models. Our artists and designers use a special 3D tool to create the models after having scanned real life objects.

Next follows the texturing process whereby the polygons that make up the object are coloured. Glossiness, texture maps, and reflection are manipulated to create stylised, realistic or cartoon type end-products.

Once we’ve completed the modelling and texturing in our animation studio, the objects are placed. During this phase of animated video production, we manipulate height, width and depth of the objects.

Phase 2

The second phase entails lay-out and animation, model animation and picture addition, followed by the creation of the model paths and adding of the picture in graphs. Actions and cameras are setup and then lighting setup follows.

We place the objects within a scene and determine the correct spatial relationships during the layout phase. This is followed by a process where we use key frame interpolation and parameter curves to animate the models. We then create the motion path where we manipulate the position property layers.

The object path is created through various techniques to ensure that the object stays on the desired path. We often also make changes to the path curve and timing of the object movement.  The motion paths can be used to animate actions, light sources, camera points of interest, and particles.

The final step in the second phase involves the lighting of the scene. Without proper lighting the scene will not be visible, but we also have to prevent overexposure. During this phase we add or turn shadows off, change the colour of lights, and add or remove light sources.

Phase 3

The third phase consists of rendering, compositing, and final touches. Through the process of rendering, we’re able to convert the models into images. This is made possible through the use of transport and scatter techniques. We use 3D graphics software for rendering. Once done, the compositing stage begins whereby we manipulate transparency, shadows and more. Final touches are added and the sequences constructed.

Although the process is complex, 3D animation makes it possible to create exciting videos. With such we can take people to places on video that don’t exist yet or have long been forgotten.  Abstract ideas can be brought to life and interactivity gained on a scale not possible with normal video production.

Call on the experts of Astral Studios to help you create a visual story through 3D animation.

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