5 Forms of Animation
- Traditional Animation
- 2D Animation
- 3D Animation
- Motion Graphics
- Stop Motion
There are many different types of animation but most of them fall into five major categories. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of them depending on how the artist prefers to create. Knowing the different kinds of animation can help artists to choose their careers in animation.
1. Traditional Animation
Traditional animation can also be referred to as cell animation. This type of animation requires the animator to draw every single frame by hand to create an animated scene. This is usually done on a light table that allows the artists to see the previous drawing through the top layer of paper. Well-known companies like Disney are known for using this type of animation. Traditional animation is still done today on computers with special tablets.
2. 2D Animation
2D animation refers to vector-based animations similar to the ones used in Flash. This style of animation has been growing in popularity because the technology is so accessible. Although artists have the option of editing frame by frame, vector-based animation gives the artist the option to create rigs for the characters and move single body parts at a time rather than constantly redrawing the characters. It gives more flexibility to beginners in animation because they don’t have to rely so heavily on drawing skills.
3. 3D Animation
3D animation is also known as computer animation and it is currently the most commonly used form of animation. The process of 3D animation is very different from the traditional style but they both require the artist to share the same principles of movement and composition in animation. 3D animation has less to do with drawing and more to do with moving a character in a program. The National Science Foundation emphasizes how heavily 3D animators must rely on physics to create realistic animations. The animator creates keyframes or specific movements and lets the computer fill in the rest.
4. Motion Graphics
Unlike the previously mentioned types of animation, motion graphics are not driven by characters or storylines. This art form focuses on the ability to move graphic elements, shapes, and text. This process is commonly used for things like television promotions, explainer videos, and animated logos. The skillset necessary for the other types of animation doesn’t apply to motion graphics because there’s no need to mimic body movement or facial expressions. Advertisements rely heavily on motion graphics and present plenty of career opportunities.
5. Stop Motion
Stop motion animation is very similar to traditional animation because it combines a series of still images that are slightly different to show movement. The largest difference is that stop motion uses photography and captures real objects. With stop motion, the artists take a photo of an object or scene and slightly moves the objects before taking another photo. The artist repeats this process until the scene is completed and uses each photo as a frame in the animation. It’s similar to a flipbook with photos.
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Stop motion animation is organic and naturally appealing but it’s labor-intensive and can take a very long time and skill to execute. Traditional animation can be a great option for artists that want to have complete creative freedom but it also requires a very high skill level and it’s quickly being replaced by 3D animation. No matter which type of animation, the artist must consider the advantages and disadvantages of each to choose the one that best suits them.