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Types of Animation: Techniques, Styles with Examples

As India’s animation and VFX industry is set to reach a CAGR of 20-25% by 2025, with an estimated market value of INR 190 billion, aspirants are thrilled to become a part of this booming industry. Besides containing innovation at its core, animation enables creatives to explore lucrative opportunities with flexibility, making it a highly sought-after career for many individuals. 

However, a solid foundation is necessary to build a strong career path. 

Let us take you through the basics of animation, including what exactly animation is, its history and the various types of animation that it comprises within. 

What is Animation?

Animation can be defined as a technique of creating moving images by displaying a sequence of static images in rapid succession. It creates the illusion of movement, allowing artists and creators to express their imagination and emotions visually appealingly. 

It has applications across a wide range of industries, such as film, television, video games, education and advertising, allowing users to entertain, inform and effectively communicate their ideas.

History Of Animation

The history of Animation can be traced back to the early 1900s when it was first used. Initially, it started out as hand drawings; however, with the rapid innovations in technology, everything went digital. 

‘Fantasmagorie’ was the first ever animation movie made under Emile Cohl’s guidance. It was released in the year 1908. The film features as many as 700 drawings, and an illuminated glass plate was used to trace each frame and create a consistent animation. The work continued for five long months, resulting in a 1 minute 20 seconds film. 

Today, Animation is a diverse and ever-evolving medium used widely in film, television, education and more. The history of Animation stands as a testament to the creativity and innovation of artists and animators that shaped the way we now perceive and experience moving images. 

Furthermore, the advent of online animated video makers has also completely revolutionised this field, enabling animators to make beautiful animations right from the comfort of their homes.

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Different Types of Animation 

Animation is a versatile art that involves various techniques to create the illusion of movement and bring characters and objects to life. On that note, mentioned below are the different types of Animation that are widely used across the globe to celebrate the art that is Animation. 

3D Animation

3D Animation, also known as 3-dimensional Animation, is a digital technique used to create moving images that stimulate three-dimensional objects. It is one of the most popular types of Animation in multimedia, used across various industries such as film, video games, product visualisation, and more. 

In 3D Animation, artists and animators use a specialised form of software to model, rig and animate virtual objects and characters. They define how these elements move, interact and behave in any given environment. 

2D Animation

The process of harnessing digital technologies to create animations in the 2-dimensional space is what we refer to as 2D Animation. Contrary to 3D Animation, which simulates depth and volume, 2D Animation is based on flat, computer-generated images.

There are several types of 2D animation techniques. Examples include digital Animation, cutout animation, and stop-motion animation, among others. Despite the advent of various other innovative animation techniques, 2D Animation still remains popular in various forms of media, such as cartoons, web animations, and advertisements.

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Whiteboard Animation

Specifically, whiteboard animation falls under 2D Animation and involves creating illustrations on a whiteboard or a similar surface while recording the process in a time-lapse or real-time manner. It is a unique video animation technique that can effectively capture the audience’s attention and help convey complex information in a simple and visually appealing manner. 

For this reason, whiteboard animation is widely used for educational videos, marketing campaigns, and corporate presentations. 

Typography Animation

Typography animation, also known as kinetic typography, is a form of motion graphic design that brings textual content to life through Animation. It involves the use of multiple effects, such as expanding or shrinking, among others. The idea is to animate individual letters, words or sentences to create visually engaging and dynamic text-based animations. 

Typography animation is commonly used in social media content, advertisements, and movie title sequences. One of the biggest advantages of using this type of Animation is that it helps to leave a long-lasting impression in the audience’s minds. 

Claymation

Claymation, as the word itself suggests, is a unique form of stop-motion animation that uses malleable characters or objects made of clay. It involves carefully sculpting and manipulating the clay figures frame-by-frame, capturing each minute change in position so as to create the illusion of motion. Claymation is widely used specifically in the entertainment industry, including TV shows, commercials and music videos, because it is visually appealing and unique. 

Stop Motion Animation

Stop motion animation involves manipulating objects slightly between each frame so that when played in rapid succession, it creates the illusion that they have moved on their own. This type of Animation usually requires meticulous attention to every detail and can be quite time-consuming at times.

Nonetheless, due to its tactile and handmade aesthetic, stop-motion animation is still used across various films, television shows and even short-form content for social media. 

Traditional Cel Animation

Among all the types of Animation discussed above, Cel animation remains one of the oldest and most classic forms of Animation. 

In this technique, each frame is drawn by hand on clear celluloid sheets, which we call Cel animation, hence the name Cel animation. Following this, the cels are layered on top of each other and then photographed in sequence. This results in the creation of the illusion of movement. Most of the classic animated films and cartoons of the early 20th century, including Walt Disney Studios, were created using this technique. 

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Rotoscope Animation

Rotoscope is a fascinating animation technique that involves tracing live-action footage to generate realistic and lifelike animations. This process of rotoscoping dates back to the early days of Animation and has gone through a lot of evolution with advancements in technology ever since then.

Rotoscope animation continues to be a valuable tool for artists who wish to achieve a level of realism or authenticity, which can sometimes be quite difficult to generate through traditional animation techniques. One of the classic examples of using the Rotoscope animation technique includes the Star Wars movie.

Flipbook Animation

Flipbook animation, also referred to as a flick book, involves creating a series of images or drawings on consecutive pages of a notepad or a book. When you flip the pages rapidly, it seems as if the images have come to life, thus creating the illusion of motion. This technique serves as a foundational exercise that has inspired many artists and animators over the years to pursue more complex animation techniques. 

Puppetry Animation

Last but not least, we have puppetry animation, which boasts a rich history and continues to captivate audiences of various age groups. This technique involves manipulating physical objects or puppets to create the illusion of movement. It combines the art of puppetry with techniques of Animation, thus resulting in captivating and expressive storytelling. 

Wrapping up

Hopefully, this article has given you an in-depth understanding of Animation, its history as well as the different types of computer animation and traditional Animation. To sum it all up, Animation is a versatile medium that fosters creativity, imagination and innovation. The different types of Animation in computer graphics highlight technological advancements over the years and open doors to new exciting opportunities for visual expression and will continue to do so for the generations to come. 

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FAQs

What are the main differences between 2D and 3D Animation?

Ans: One of the main differences between 2D and 3D Animation is that, while the former technique involves drawings, illustrations or images created on a flat surface with height and width, the latter represents objects in a virtual 3D space with height, width and depth. Furthermore, 2D Animation is traditionally hand-drawn and can be created using software such as Adobe Flash. 3D Animation, on the other hand, involves creating 3D models using computer software such as Cinema 4D.

Can you provide examples of popular 2D animation movies or TV shows?

Ans: Some of the most popular examples of entertaining 2D content that has captivated audiences of all ages over the years include, The Simpsons, Rick and Morty, Family Guy, Snow White, Bugs Bunny, and Daffy Ducky, among others.

What are the different types of Animation commonly used in multimedia projects?

Ans: Various types of Animation are used in multimedia projects to add visual appeal, engagement and storytelling. A few examples of such types of Animation in multimedia include 2D Animation, 3D Animation, traditional Animation, stop motion animation, and Rotoscope animation, among others.

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