I found this interesting link in CGtalk, about the animation progression in a Pixar film, in this case ‘Ratatouille’. I think it is very very didactic, not only because the progression, but because there are many hints about how Pixar get things done in its films.
(it is “Animation Progression Reel”)
There are seven stages:
I have counted about 40 animatics for a sequence of 18 seconds (many of them are reused) which gives a good idea of the detaill needed at this stage of the production. Average is 2 per second, therefore for a 90 min. movie you’d need about 10.000 animatics!
As per the wikipedia ‘a rough dialogue and/or rough sound track is added to the sequence of still images (usually taken from a storyboard) to test whether the sound and images are working effectively together.’ Scene composition is defined.
<b> 2. Layout</b>
Layout of characters and elements. Basic movements, which probably just reproduce animatics sequence, but with a bit of transitions too. Basic modelling of objects. However, the main characters are already quite defined. Basic shading. The frame has side marks to help the scene composition.
<b> 3. Blocking animation.</b>
“Blocking is like a first pass of animation. You (or at least I) block in the major acting beats of the shot to quickly show the director my acting choices. This way, if there’s something he doesn’t like I can easily change it because my curves are stepped and each control is keyed on the same frame. Once blocking is approved then I go ahead and start offsetting things, adding overlap etc.” Capel
The objects are more detailed and the scene desing is almost completed. Body acting is defined, also eye blinking, but lipsync and facial animation are not done yet. Differentiated colors start to show up in shaders.
<b> 4. Animation.</b>
Animation is completed, even the facial animation and the lipsync. More side marks in frames. Basic speculars in shaders. Particles.
<b> 5. Cloth and Hair. </b>
At this stage, modelling and scene layout seems to be already completed. Object maps and shaders are completed too, although the scene is still a plain opengl pass.
<b> 6. Effects.</b> Steam and fire. Basic lighting can be seen in the last scene, it is probably a rough key light. <b> 7. Lighting.</b>.