Dreamworks Animation Studio production Pipeline – Stage 6: Rough Layout

Rough layout is where all the pieces start coming together it’s where the movie starts looking like a movie. They receive information in the form of storyboards from the story department.


And then recreate them in 3d space on the computer with a virtual camera where decision like the Semantography for the film and the initial staging and blocking for the characters are made.


Dreamworks Animation Studio production Pipeline – Stage 7: Animation

After rough layout finishes their shots, the first job is to prepare the shots for animation – that’s called an impress.

And next thing is to animate. The character animators start bringing the characters to life by posing out the character using the digital puppet. There’s sometimes 3,000 controls in one character. With the dragons on “How to Train Your Dragon”, there’s upto five to six thousand controls.


Animation is basically like acting. The character animators try to bring the personality in the performance to the characters. They have to figure out how the characters walk, how they talk, how they move.


The crowd’s Department is in charge of the extras of the film. There’s no way that one human can animate all the crowd in a scene. So the crowd department would do the animation for the crowd through an automated way like a robot brain. The brain decides what actions to use, when, and in the end the studio can get a performance that looks like at crowd doing a multitude of different actions.


Dreamworks Animation Studio production Pipeline – Stage 8: Effects and Lighting

In lighting department, they use computer animated lights.


Character effects are all the things on a character’s body that a movement is in style. The character effects department is responsible for everything that’s moving on a character, that is not the character animation itself.


They do clothing simulation, hair dynamics, fur interaction, prop animation… Anything that characters interacting with.

There’re other effects.



It’s not just explosions and demolitions. There’re a ton of different things, from little things like footprints to leaves rustling in the wind.


Dreamworks Animation Studio production Pipeline – Stage 9: Matte painting

Next up is the matte painting department. In animated movies, the characters act on a set that comes from modeling. Matte painting department would take care of everything that’s beyond that set.


For example, the art department does wonderful color keys that kind of inform what they want to see in the backgrounds. Then the matte painters take assets built for models and do paintings that use the arts color keys as like a touch base.

Dreamworks Animation Studio production Pipeline – Stage 10: Sound Design

Lastly, a composer comes in and write some music that heightens and enhances a story.


Then the final mix happens where audio levels, the equalization, the perspective, and special treatments on dialogue are all mixed into the final version of the film.


And viola, a perfectly formed animated feature film is born.


Read more >> 10 essential stages of animation production Pipeline – Dreamworks Animation Studio – Part 1 via this link

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Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network: https://www.awn.com/
  2. Cartoon Brew – Technology: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech
  3. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist: https://beforesandafters.com/