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Chapter 11. Layout > What Is Layout?

What Is Layout?

Layout is a term used in traditional animation to describe the visual composition of elements on the screen. Both the cinematography and the staging of the characters and background elements fall under the heading of layout. In 3D filmmaking, the camera, characters, and props are infinitely moveable. This freedom to adjust everything in the shot at any time adds a dramatic new dimension to layout for animated films.

In a large digital studio, the layout department first translates the drawn storyboards into rough assemblages of 3D models. Determining the placement of the characters through the frame and, consequently, their composition onscreen is the role of the layout department. This department also is responsible for specifying all of the camera moves, which must receive directorial approval. The resulting spatial and temporal continuity from shot to shot is one of the most important aspects in imparting a clear story to the audience.


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