新科技,新媒體 ──影音技術現新貌

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2002 / 11月

文‧李光真 圖‧林格立


看過電影《搖擺狗》嗎?那裡面硝煙遍布的戰爭場景其實只是一場數位遊戲,在各種鏡出、鏡入的參數設定中運算組成。隨著科技進步,平面與立體、真實與虛擬,慢慢都將融為一體,不僅挑戰觀眾的視覺,更考驗數位工作者的創意。


廣義來看,凡是可以在電腦等數位工具上呈現、流通的資訊內容,都可稱為「數位內容」,然而一些追求新炫流行的技術人可不同意。在他們眼中,只有運用最新的數位科技來構思、創作,這樣的作品,才稱得上是最「ㄅㄧㄤˋ」的數位內容。

人腦與電腦合流

以動畫來說,以前卡通代工是標準的勞力密集產業,銀幕上短短一秒鐘,代表著三十張連續畫面;一部七十五分鐘的動畫,需要十三萬五千張片子!從迪士尼等客戶那裡拿到故事內容和圖像底稿後,美術師就開始設計造型、描繪每個姿勢動作,最後上色、串連,反覆修改,在底部透光的描摩桌上伏案終日,才知道螢幕上的歡樂,是多少淚水換來的!

在全球最大的卡通代工廠宏廣公司工作十多年的藝術總監劉炳煌回憶,以前上色,水彩筆墨總是攤了一桌子,細細的噴槍又容易堵塞;如果老闆決定畫面某處要加強紅色調,好不容易噴了上去,萬一效果不好,整個畫面都得重新來過,等於前功盡棄,過程實在磨人。現在呢,輕按一下滑鼠,立刻undo回去,各種嘗試易如反掌,可以讓創意者盡情玩個夠。

再以風景來說,有了電腦及各式各樣的繪圖軟體後,山啊水啊,大部分畫面都可以在電腦上組合完成。但為了顯示功力,美術師們會抽出某些區塊,像是山坡上的一片花草、河流中的一塊巨石等,來做細部的手繪圖。幾張手繪圖掃進去,立刻有了畫龍點睛的效果,可以讓整個畫面「活」起來。

由於卡通角色動作誇張,口型還要配合台詞,光是「聽音辨型」,就夠讓美術師傷透腦筋。現在有了專門的運算軟體,不管中文、法文,改口型不再是苦差事。至於分格畫面完成後,在電腦上跑出連續動畫,縱有差錯,修正起來也輕鬆多了。

手工饅頭?機器饅頭?

有了數位科技,「一個人可以抵三個人用」,為動畫製作節省了大量的人力時間,也把美術師從工匠式的瑣碎苦工中解放出來,可以更專注於發揮創意。然而電腦繪圖是靠參數在運算,無法擺脫公式,所以容易重複。導演出身的宏廣監製王童指出,「就像手工饅頭和機器饅頭不同」,手繪的作品總是透著一股獨特的生命力,觸感和張力更強,這是電腦模擬不來的。

宏廣劉炳煌則認為,要善用數位的優點,而不要被科技綁死。在宏廣,每個人都是手繪和電腦繪圖的雙料高手,常常半天用水彩細描,半天在電腦前合成、修稿。「這裡沒有人學不會軟體,反倒是缺乏創意的人會待不下來,」他強調。

至於無法用手繪後掃瞄入電腦、必須完全在電腦上製作(即所謂「全電腦生成」,computer-generated,CG)的三D立體動畫,面臨的又是另一種難題。

國內三D動畫專業大廠西基電腦動畫公司技術總監方俊勳坦承,三D動畫,明眼人一看可知,因為電腦做出的畫面總是顏色純淨、線條工整;加上三D的解析度是電視的六倍,解析度高,人物的面部表情也特別清晰,甚至各種表情、嘴型都是以模型設定好的。相較之下,真實世界中,瞬息萬變的光影和微塵,交織出明滅不定的畫面,人物幽微的表情更是難以捉摸,這些都遠比電腦動畫令人著迷。

為三D而三D?

有趣的是,設計三D,就等於操控一座攝影棚,美術師除了勾勒出點、線、面,一步步模擬出立體模型外,還要考慮鏡頭的角度、光影的變化,從無到有,在平面螢幕中幻化出一個立體場景。以一頭怪獸來說,如果客戶只傳來平面畫稿,那怪獸的背部該有長毛還是尖刺?這也要由美術師發揮想像力去補足。

碰上二D和三D合成時,兩者的協調尤其困難。負責宏廣三D特效的藝動網科技公司技術總監丁蕙芳指出,為了表現動畫誇張逗趣的視覺效果,二D美術師總喜歡做各種肢體扭曲的畫面,像是手一揮就彎到身後不見了之類的。然而和三D畫面合成時,那隻手不可能憑空消失,必須要再往後延伸擺盪才顯得自然,如此一來,揮出去的角度勢必加大,不符合原先預設的美學效果,最後兩個部門免不了討價還價,各退一步。

近年宏廣和西基合作了多部影片,其中耗時三年、為一家法國公司製作的二十六集電視動畫《神劍傳奇》,還曾贏得了加拿大等國的動畫大獎。方俊勳表示,《神劍傳奇》難在原創者要求「擬真」,一切動作都要有合理性,凡是真人做不出來的動作就不能出現,大大增加了設計的難度。

在方俊勳看來,動畫人物容易,反倒模擬真人是最難的。去年美日合作推出的《太空戰士》就被三D動畫界視為登峰造極之作:「光是這群三D戰士肌膚上的質感,就要有極精緻的模型運算,對人體解剖學也要有深入理解,目前國內還達不到這種水準,」方俊勳大表羨慕。

然而,同一部片子,看在二D動畫起家的宏廣劉炳煌眼中,卻覺得是「脫褲子放屁」:「用動畫去模擬真人,又沒有真人的靈活,又沒有動畫的趣味,豈不是頭殼壞去?」到底要不要「為了三D而三D」?在追求科技成就和回歸美學感受之間,恐怕還有一番爭辯。

藝術歸藝術,技術歸技術

製作三D影視長片,手續繁雜,需要良好的管理。為此,西基特別開發了一套製造管理系統,將每個場景的工作分門別類──造型師負責造型、動畫師負責加上動作,其他如上色、燈光及特效等,又有專人負責,同步進行,以縮短工作時程。

為了讓「藝術歸藝術,技術歸技術」,西基還開發了一套「工作農場」,美術師設計完成後只需下達指令,繁複的工作就交給由二百多台電腦組成的「工作農場」來負責。安靜的機房中,層層疊起的電腦日夜不停的運算、產製,指令若有問題,還可以偵錯、進行自動修改或是顯示警訊。西基把這套系統取名為「Spider」,希望它像蜘蛛網一樣,具有「任何一個角落有了動靜,中央立刻可以感知」的超靈敏度。

三D難,三D和真人的合成更難,光是充滿雜質的實拍畫面和純淨呆板的虛擬影像要如何「調」在一起,就是一門大學問。做過霹靂布袋戲《聖石傳說》及《想飛》等三D特效影片的太極影音科技公司董事長黃寶雲認為,這方面國內技術和國外是有一段落差。

黃寶雲以李安的《臥虎藏龍》為例,在影片中,楊紫瓊和章子怡初次交手,暗夜中飛簷走壁,在龐大的建築群中追上逐下,讓老外看得目瞪口呆。然而讓內行人驚嘆的,卻是整個過程「一路到底」的功力:「從地面到屋頂,垂直的一條線,不是用飛的,是用走的,中間沒有省略半個腳步;不像傳統武俠片中,主角剛一抬頭,第二個鏡頭就上了屋頂,這在處理難度上是有天壤之別的!」黃寶雲對此讚不絕口。

深入虛擬場景

在三D場景中,虛擬鏡頭固然可以調高、俯低、從各個角度觀察,但說到動作,卻只能站在圓心旋轉、從周圍環視,或是從中空處切過,像是在茂密叢林或曲折峽谷間以極速穿梭,後面緊跟著一團火球,就是最典型的三D影視特效。

對電腦玩家來說,光「看」三D場景還不過癮,最好能順著滑鼠的軌跡,深入虛擬場景內部一遊,逛逛數位金字塔,看看虛擬羅浮宮。要達到這種效果,「互動三D」的技術是少不了的。只是三D圖像是由點、線、面構成,面越多,電腦的負荷越重,創作者必須在硬體極限和畫面精緻度之間反覆斟酌,求取平衡。

從「互動三D」再往前推,如何讓讓一個真實的人出現在虛擬場景中?這時「虛擬攝影棚」就派上用場了。

「所謂『虛擬攝影棚』,又稱為藍棚或綠棚,」國內第一家「虛擬攝影棚」製作公司台灣夢工場科技公司動畫應用事業處副總經理王傳宏解釋,偌大的虛擬棚中只有簡單的道具,之後在電腦上將背景藍幕去掉,再和預先用MAYA或MAX軟體做好的場景作即時合成,就可以直播出去了。

虛實相間,真偽難辨

透過虛擬攝影棚技術,製作單位不必製作、拆搭實景,也不必另闢上千坪的廠房去存放道具,螢幕上所有的環境都是虛擬的:介紹羅浮宮時,主持人靠著「指位燈」遊走在四壁蕭條的藍棚中,隨手一指,呈現在觀眾眼前的,就是一幅名畫;走累了隨意往旁邊的藍箱一倚,觀眾看到的,卻是主持人倚在精緻的宮廷絲絨高椅上。不過這中間「關卡」不少,例如主持人的影子要如何投射到電腦中的虛擬絲絨椅上?單憑這點,就可以考驗各家的功力高下了。

最近非常熱門的「虛擬玩偶」,在藍棚製作中則要用到motion capture技術,只要有一位真人「替身」穿著做了特殊記號的衣服,在現場和主持人對話,電腦循著記號進行即時處理,結果真人「替身」隱形了,觀眾看到的是誇張可愛的虛擬玩偶。

虛擬攝影棚、互動式三D,讓真實視覺不可能見到的景象得以發生,這樣的視覺魔術不僅可以用在娛樂產業上,對新聞和教學效果也很有幫助。

王傳宏舉例,上次美國總統大選時,華視主播李四端來到虛擬攝影棚錄製節目,夢工場特別製作了一個立體的美國地圖,隨著李四端從美國東岸踱步到西岸,各地的得票率就即時跳出來,這種效果是傳統模式作不到的。未來個人電腦都配備有數位攝影機後,各地觀眾還可以透過網路即時叩應,讓自己成為螢幕中的人物。

創意決勝負

一座虛擬攝影棚,除了中央一片大螢幕外,四壁都暗藏連著大型主機的攝影機,造價高達五千萬台幣。在國外,因為製片需求熱絡,租一天棚的價碼是六萬美金,而台灣呢,「只要能租到三千美金(十萬台幣)就偷笑了,」王傳宏苦笑地表示。

好在夢工場大力推廣一年多後,今年年中開始,虛擬攝影棚的出租率已節節上升,比起同樣斥鉅資建棚、卻因為沒有人會使用,只能便宜出租的大陸北京和南京電視台,台灣的情況已經很先進了。

王傳宏不諱言,受限於經驗和經費,國內虛擬攝影棚在技術上落後國外一截,然而更缺乏的還是「創意」。

以夢工場的招牌節目《文茜小妹大》為例,去年九一一事件後,主持人立委陳文茜要求把背景換成阿富汗山區,背後女扮男妝、留著兩撇鬍子的「賓拉登茜」更是令人叫絕。然而像這樣又有含意又很「放」的點子要能源源不絕出爐,讓觀眾永遠有新的驚喜,卻不是一件容易的事。

數位科技,讓各種資訊穿上炫目的外衣,展現新的樣貌。觀眾何妨敞開心胸,發揮想像力,隨著電流起伏,去探索虛擬世界的新魔域!

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定點、連線、設計質感、作細部處理,三D立體造型就是這樣一步步完成的。(西基電腦動畫公司、法商Ellipsanime公司共同提供)

p.027

悄然無聲的工作室內,每個人都專心地注視螢幕,隨著點線的躍動而心情起伏。圖為西基電腦動畫公司一景。

p.027

繪製三D,猶如營造一座單人攝影棚,各個角度的細節及光影都需顧及,尤其圖中人物以真人比例呈現,難度更高。(西基電腦動畫公司、法商Ellipsanime公司共同提供)

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畫板、顏料、噴槍,一筆一劃用手細描,這種美感是獨一無二,無法複製的。圖為宏廣動畫公司一景。

p.028

乾淨俐落的線條、大塊顏色、隨意變化嘗試,還有纖塵不染的桌面,這就是電腦繪圖的好處。圖為宏廣動畫公司一景。

p.029

融合了魔法、武術,及各種高難度影像特效的《神劍傳奇》,在歐美等地得到不少影片獎項。(西基電腦動畫公司、法商Ellipsanime公司共同提供)

相關文章

近期文章

EN

New Technology, New Media

Laura Li /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Robert Taylor

Have you seen the film Wag the Dog? That smoke-filled battlefield scene is actually a digital game, calculated from all kinds of predefined parameters. As technology advances, the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional, the real and the virtual, will gradually blend into one, challenging not only the visual sense of audiences, but also the creativity of digital technology workers.


In the broad sense, the term "digital content" can be applied to any informational content distributed or displayed on digital tools such as computers. However, some technofreaks who pursue whatever is newest, coolest and most fashionable might not agree. In their view, only works conceived and created using the latest digital technology are worthy of the name.

The merging of mind and computer

In animation, for example, cartoon contract work was once a classic labor-intensive industry. Just a second of screen time requires a sequence of 30 separate images; a 75-minute cartoon film uses 135,000 images! After receiving the story and concept art from the client such as Disney, the artists would set to work designing the characters, drawing each posture and movement, and finally adding color, running the frames in sequence, and making repeated corrections to make the movements smooth-only those who have spent their days crouched over a drawing board know the price paid in tears for each moment of joy on the screen!

Vincent Liu has worked at Wang Film Productions, the world's largest cartoon contracting company, for over ten years, and is now its artistic director. He recalls how in the past, the water-based inks and pens they used for coloring filled half the desk, and the fine airbrushes were very prone to clogging up. If the boss decided that one part of the image needed a bit more red, the artist would painstakingly airbrush it on, but if the effect was no good the whole image would have to be done again from scratch, so that all the previous effort was wasted. This could be very dispiriting. But today, with a click of the mouse artists can undo any action, so that they can try out all kinds of changes with ease, and let their creative juices flow without restraint.

As for backgrounds, since the advent of various drawing software packages, most can now be composed entirely on the computer. But to show off their skill the artists will still pick out a few segments-such as a patch of flowers on a hillside, or a boulder in a river-to paint in more detail by hand. The addition of a few hand-painted sections sets off the whole scene and brings it "alive."

Cartoon characters' movements are exaggerated, and their mouth shapes have to be matched to the script. The task of listening to the soundtrack and painstakingly synchronizing the lip movements used to be a big headache for animation artists. But today with specialized software, whatever the language, lip-synching is no longer an onerous task. Once the art has been completed for the individual frames, they can also be run in sequence on the computer. There are always some mistakes, but correcting them is now much easier.

Handmade or machine-made bread?

With digital technology, "one person can do the work of three." This saves a great many man-hours in the production of animations, and releases artists from much laborious drudgery, allowing them to give greater rein to their creativity. However, computer-drawn art relies on calculations based on predefined parameters, and is therefore apt to be formulaic and repetitive. Wang Film executive producer Wang Tong, who was formerly a director, says, "It's like the difference between handmade bread and machine-made bread." Hand-drawn work always has a unique vitality, texture and tension that just cannot be simulated on the computer.

Vincent Liu of Wang Film believes that one should make the best use of the advantages of digital technology, but not be hamstrung by it. Everyone at Wang Film is highly skilled in both hand and computer art, and they often spend half the day painting minutely in watercolors and the other half in front of the computer integrating images and making adjustments. "There's no-one here who can't learn to use the software, but anyone who lacks creativity won't last long," he emphasizes.

However, three-dimensional animations cannot be first painted by hand and then scanned in, but must be produced entirely on the computer. They present a different challenge.

Tonny Fang, technical director at CGCG Inc., Taiwan's largest specialist 3D animation company, admits frankly that any observant viewer knows immediately when they are watching a computer-generated 3D animation. This is because they always have pure colors and clean lines, and the resolution is six times that of TV images, making the characters' faces especially clear. All their expressions and lip movements are produced by simulation, and the clarity of the image makes this more obvious. By contrast, in the real world, rapid changes of light, and dust in the air, produce more diffuse images in which the degree of clarity is always varying, and changes in characters' expressions are far more subtle. People find these images much more entrancing than computer animations.

3D for its own sake?

Designing 3D animations is like having control of a complete studio. As well as simulating three-dimensional shapes step by step by defining points, lines and surfaces, the artists also have to consider the "camera" angle and changes in lighting, to create a three-dimensional scene on the two-dimensional computer screen. For example, if a customer wants an animation of a monster, but only sends a two-dimensional front-view drawing, should the monster's back be covered in fur, or spines? This is left up to the imagination of the artist.

When it is necessary to combine 2D and 3D images, reaching a compromise between them is especially difficult. Ting Hui-fang, technical director at Wang Films' subsidiary AniTime, says that in 2D animation, in order to create exaggerated and amusing visual effects artists love to distort the characters' bodies in all sorts of ways, such as an arm disappearing behind the body when it is waved. But when the animation has to be integrated with 3D images, the arm cannot simply disappear, but has to be extended further backward to appear natural. Thus the angle at which the arm is waved has to be increased, but this is at odds with the original aesthetic effect. In the end the two departments inevitably have to negotiate and each make concessions.

In recent years Wang Film and CGCG have collaborated on a number of films. One of them, the 26-episode TV series Xcalibur, which took three years to make for a French company, has won major animation awards in Canada and other countries. Tonny Fang says that the challenge with Xcalibur was that the original creator demanded "realism," so all the movements had to be plausible. The characters were not allowed to make movements that a real person could not make, and this greatly increased the difficulty of design.

In Fang's view, animating cartoon characters is not so difficult-it is much harder to simulate the movements of real people. The US-Japan joint production Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, released last year, is seen in 3D animation circles as scaling new heights: "Even just the skin texture on all those 3D warriors takes tremendously complex rendering calculations, and designing them also requires a thorough understanding of human anatomy. No-one in Taiwan can match that at present," says Fang enviously.

However, Wang Film's Vincent Liu, whose background is in 2D animation, regards the same film as a case of "pulling down your trousers just to fart": "If you use animation to simulate real people, they're not as fluid in their movements as real people, nor are they as amusing as cartoons. Isn't that daft?" Should one indulge in "3D for its own sake"? Between technical aspirations and aesthetic considerations, there is plenty of room for debate.

Art is art, technology is technology

To produce a long 3D animated film is a complex process requiring expert management. To achieve this, CGCG has specially developed a production management system that breaks down the tasks involved in producing each scene into different categories. Designers are responsible for designing the characters, animators are responsible for adding movements, and other processes such as adding color, lighting and special effects are also handled by specialists. All these tasks are conducted simultaneously to reduce the amount of time needed to complete the project.

In order to "separate the art from the technology," CGCG has also developed a computerized "processing farm." After completing a design an artist need only enter a command to hand over all the repetitive work of various tasks to a farm of over 200 servers. In the quiet computer room, the stacks of computers carry on working day and night. If there are problems with the commands, the software can detect errors and make automatic corrections or display warning messages. CGCG calls this system the "spider," and hopes that like a spider's web it can be sensitive enough to "detect movement wherever it happens."

3D animation is difficult, but combining 3D and real people is an even greater challenge. Just the task of matching together a conventionally filmed image, which is full of "noise," and the clean but rather wooden virtual image, takes a great deal of skill. Helen Huang, chairman of Digimax Corporation, which has made 3D special effects sequences for the Pili glove puppet film Legend of the Sacred Stone and Sylvia Chang's Princess-D, says that in this regard the skills available in Taiwan fall some way short of those overseas.

Quoting the example of Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Huang says that the first fight scene between Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi, where they run up walls and over roofs, and chase each other across a large group of buildings, caused overseas audiences to gape in amazement. But what most astonished people in the business was the fact that every movement was shown: "They didn't fly up from the ground onto the roof-they ran straight up a vertical wall, and the film didn't skip a single step of it. That's not like a traditional kung fu film, where as soon as the character lifts his head the second shot has him already up on the roof. In terms of difficulty, they're just not in the same league!" says Helen Huang with undisguised admiration.

Inside a virtual scene

In a 3D scene, the virtual lens can be moved up or down and can observe the animation subject from any angle. But the subject itself can only rotate about its own axis or be observed by the camera revolving around it, or pass through the scene in midair. For instance, a twisting and turning high-speed flight through a dense jungle or along a narrow valley, with a ball of fire following close behind, is a typical 3D special effect.

But for 3D animators, just letting users "watch" a 3D scene is not enough. They want them to be able to use their mouse to travel at will inside the virtual scene, exploring a digital pyramid or wandering through a virtual Louvre. To achieve this effect, you need "interactive 3D" technology. But a 3D image is made up of points, lines and surfaces, and the more surfaces are involved the greater the demands on the computer. Hence creators always have to strike a balance between the limits of the hardware and the refinement of the image.

Taking interactive 3D a step further, how do you put a real person into a virtual scene? This is where the "virtual studio" comes into its own.

"A virtual studio is also called a blue-screen studio or green-screen studio," says Andy Wang, vice president for 3D graphics and virtual reality at Imagetech, the first production company in Taiwan to introduce virtual studio technology. He explains that the spacious virtual studio only has simple props, but the blue background is removed from the image by computer and replaced in real time with scenes prepared in advance using Maya or Max software, so that the combined image can be directly broadcast.

Real and virtual intermingle

With virtual studio technology, production firms no longer need to manufacture, install and dismantle physical sets, nor do they need huge warehouses to store them in, for the environments that appear on the screen are all virtual. When filming an introduction to the Louvre museum, for example, the real-life presenter has to be guided around the bare-walled blue-screen studio by a light shining on the floor to show him where to position himself. But in the finished version, when he points his finger, what appears in front of the audience is a famous painting. When he is tired, he leans against a simple blue box in the studio, but what the audience sees him leaning on is an elegant tall-backed palace chair upholstered in velvet. But there are many challenges in this process. For instance, how should the presenter's shadow fall onto the virtual chair? This alone is enough to sort the experts from the wannabes.

The "avatars" that have been all the rage recently are also produced in the blue-screen studio, using "motion capture" technology. A real person wearing specially marked clothes acts as a stand-in and converses with the presenter in the studio. The computer tracks the stand-in's movements, and in real-time hides the human figure and substitutes an exaggerated, appealing avatar, which is what the audience sees.

Virtual studios and interactive 3D technology make possible scenes that would be impossible in the real world. But this visual magic is not only good for the entertainment business-it can also be very useful for news reporting and education.

For instance, says Andy Wang, at the time of the last US presidential elections, CTS news anchor Li Ssu-tuan went to a virtual studio to record reports for which Imagetech created a 3D map of the US. As Li walked across the map from the east coast to the west coast, the votes garnered by each candidate in each state popped up in real time. This kind of effect cannot be achieved with traditional ways of working. In the future, when personal computers are all equipped with digital cameras, viewers everywhere will be able to call in over the Internet in real time, and themselves become characters on the screen.

It's creativity that counts

In a virtual studio there is not only a big central screen, but the four walls also hide cameras, all connected to a computer. The system costs as much as NT$50 million. In the United States, because of the strong demand for film production, the going rate to hire a studio for a day is US$60,000. But in Taiwan, "You count yourself lucky if you can get US$3000," says Andy Wang with a wry smile.

Fortunately, after more than a year of intensive promotion by Imagetech, since the middle of this year the rate of use of its virtual studio has been rising continuously. Thus Taiwan is now far better off in this regard than the mainland Chinese TV stations in Beijing and Nanjing that have also invested vast sums in setting up virtual studios, but have to hire them out at rock-bottom prices for lack of demand.

Andy Wang freely admits that due to limitations of experience and funding, the virtual studios in Taiwan fall somewhat short of those overseas in technical terms. But where the real gap lies is in "creativity."

To take Imagetech's flagship program Sisy's News as an example, after the 9-11 attacks last year, the program's presenter, legislator Sisy Chen, had the backdrop changed to the mountains of Afghanistan, in which she appeared dressed up as a bearded "Sisy bin Laden." This had audiences in stitches. But to produce a constant stream of such ideas that have serious content as well as being fun, so that viewers are always presented with new surprises, is no mean feat.

Digital technology can dress all kinds of information in bright clothing and give it a new appearance. Why not open your mind, give rein to your imagination and let yourself go with the electronic flow, to explore the new magical realm of the virtual world!

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Defining points and lines, designing textures, performing detailed rendering-3D design is carried out step by step in this way. (courtesy of CGCG Inc. and Ellipsanime)

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In the quiet animation office at CGCG Inc., everyone concentrates intently on their computer screens, their moods rising and falling with the movements of the points and lines.

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Designing 3D animations is like running a one-man studio. Every angle and every detail of light and shadow has to be considered. When the characters depicted have the proportions of real humans, the degree of difficulty is even greater. (courtesy of CGCG Inc. and Ellipsanime)

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Drawing board, colors, airbrush-images hand-painted stroke by stroke and line by line have a unique beauty. Our picture shows a scene at animation company Wang Film Productions.

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Clean lines, bold swathes of color, the ability to change and experiment at will, and a desktop that never gets dirty-these are some of the advantages of computer art. Pictured here is a workstation at Wang Film Productions.

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The TV series Xcalibur, which combines magic, martial arts and many difficult visual special effects, has won many film awards in Europe and North America. (courtesy of CGCG Inc. and Ellipsanime)

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