Web Sites & Video Games

Web Sites
The primary uses of animation on web sites is to add interest and interactivity. It is more interesting to learn about system such as the automobile engine from an interactive animation that shows the parts in motion rather than an ordinary drawing.

Animation for web sites can be created using a number of techniques. One that you may already be familiar with is GIF animation. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. GIF files are still images that can be animated using software. A program used to create GIF animations is GIF Animator.  It is a popular way to store and distribute animations and can be learned in a few hours.
Another technique is Dynamic HTML in which one image is moved across the screen instead of individual frames. Other kinds of Web animations require plug-ins to be viewed. A Plug-in is a small program designed to play a certain media file. Windows Media Player and Quick-Time are video plug-ins used to play a sequence of still images to create a movie using a process called streaming. Streaming animation allows the movie to begin playing before the entire file has downloaded. The most popular web animation program is Flash. You will learn more about Flash in another unit.

Video Games
Video game development requires game designers to use a complex form of animation. Today, more than $9 billion is spent on video games yearly and this is expected to grow. This growth is attributed to games moving to real-time environments where hundreds of players participate on the Internet, mobile phones, or other portable devices. A key difference between video games and movie animation is that video games need to be interactive. The game needs to respond to commands given by players. Also, to produce a challenging game a programmer must have advanced skills.

The creation of a video game also begins with a storyboard. The designer gives the artist ideas about the characters needed for the game.  The artists works on how the character should look and behave.  Behavior includes factors such as speed, timing and strength. Characters and backgrounds are created as well as planning for levels of difficulty in the game.

When the first version of the game is completed, post-production begins. The game is tested extensively. Flaws in the game are corrected. Experienced players provide feedback to the programmers who then, make changes to the game.  When the final version is ready, it is marketed and sold. This process can take a year or more of hard work.