3D Production Pipeline

  • Concepts/ideas/Storyline                                          


  • Script

  • Storyboard ( artist makes script come to life by turning dialogue into actions and pictures)
  • Approval by producers/directors


  • Story reel ( storyboards digitilly photographed and strung together)
  • Add temporary music, sound effects and dialogue, and work with the movie in this form for about 18 months
  • Plan look of film ( colour, tone, style and overall artistic approach to every sequence from the main big characters to the smallest details)
  • Thousands of paintings, drawings, models and sculptures are produced ready for a story and characters to be made
  • Casting/Voice recording ( video record scenes to reference back to key expressions/reactions)
  • Modeling (used for planning/animation)/Rigging (armature broken down into geometry ready to ‘rig’ so that it can be moved in anyway you want) /Basic surfaces ( add basic surfaces to armiture)


  • Layout ( You use rough “stand-in” shapes to block out the movement of the character in the scene. This is called an animatic and is the blueprint that is used to determine camera movement, character placement, spacing, lighting, geography and scene timing. The animatic maps out the entire movie, giving a digital picture of each scene before actual character animation is begun)
  • Character animation ( use the controls created in the rigging phase to make the charatcers move/ add detail to characters)
  • Effects ( start to add effetcs and lighting)
  • Effects 2 ( visualise how the surroundings will reflect against things and add more detail into lighting and textures)


  • Add sound effects/Add the final score into the film/Mix soundtracks/Correct the color/Make film or digital prints

  All this takes around 4 years to complete. I found this information off dreamworks animation website and it gives you a step by step action of the procedures they take.


 3D Pipeline for Pixar Animation

In comparison pixar animation take more or less the same pipeline route than dreamworks but in a different order and add bits and bobs in.

One thing that pixar do is something called a treatment. A treatment is a short document that summarises the main idea of the story. They do a few of these so that they can decide which idea are going to be kept and which ones are just possibilities.

Pixar then do their storyborads, voice casting, story reel and then create the look of the film/feel. If you see dreamworks do this in a different order, so they take the same procedures but in different orders.


After these are done they then create sculptures/models, then dress the sets with propps and then they do the layout. This is the same order that dreamworks do theres but they do their casting for voices after the modelling stage.

Finally the animation stage is finished and they put the shading and lighting effects in. The animation is then rendered and finishing touches are added, this is the same take the dreamworks do in there animations.  




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