If you’re new to animation and curious to learn more about the different types of animation that seem oh-so-similar, here’s a quick guide to help you gain a better understanding. Stick around with me and by the time we’re done, you’ll be an expert in the subject. Now all the way from Buzzworks, here are the famous 6 types of animation!

Traditional Animation

Traditional animation, also referred to as cel animation, has been around for over a century. Until the right hardware and software came along, animators free-handedly drew scenes onto papers, frame by frame, drawing each one slightly different from the other to create the illusion of movement when pieced together. Animated movies such as Bambi, Winnie the Pooh, Pinocchio and Dumbo were all created using the traditional animation method.

This form of animation is similar to stop motion animation in the sense that both styles require individual frames edited together to create a fluid animation video. However, instead of drawings and illustrations, the latter incorporates the use of artistic objects, which I will talk about more in the section below.

 Stop Motion

Stop motion videos are shot frame by frame, while the objects are moved ever so slightly each time. The photographs are then pieced together to create the illusion of movement. Most stop motion videos incorporate the use of artistic objects such as paper, clay, toys, and other handicraft. There are a few different types of stop motion animation, namely:

  • Claymation: Where we use clay as the primary object in animation
  • Cut-out animation: Where we use creative paper cut-out drawings of characters or objects
  • Pixelated: Where the photographs are shot using real people in real environments

Stop motion videos require a great deal of patience and precision throughout the entire shoot to ensure a smooth flow between frames. Although it may be time consuming and sometimes exhausting, if done right, the end result can be pretty amazing.

2D Animation

2D animation, also known as vector-based animation, is one of the most popular styles of animation. Unlike traditional animation, movements in 2D animation are controlled using vectors and rigs. The animation is designed and adjusted using mathematical values, allowing you to achieve more fluidity and precision. The techniques used in a vector-based animation are similar to those used in traditional animation except for the fact that the former uses computer interpolation, which makes the entire process a lot faster.

3D Animation

3D animation involves the art of creating moving 3D computer graphics using softwares such as Blender, 3DS Max, Maya and Cinema 4D. Compared to traditional and 2D animation, the production process for 3D animation involves additional steps such as 3D modelling, texturing, lighting, and rigging.

One of the greatest advantages of 3D animation is its flexibility. You can really create just about anything with 3D animation. The only limit is your imagination. You can show the inner workings of a person’s heart. You can create a magical new world run by flying wizards who live in the clouds. 3D animation can be as realistic or inventive as you want it to be.

Some of the most popular 3D animation films of all time include Toy Story, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Up, and Frozen.

Motion Graphics

Many people use the term “motion graphics” and “animation” interchangeably. While the two are in fact very similar, the main difference is that the former does not involve character animation.

Motion graphics is the art of blending graphic design and animation. It is the skilful craft of adding movement to design. Motion graphics has become so popular that we now see it all over the internet, TV, Cinema… and even in mobile apps and video games.

Whiteboard Animation

Whiteboard animation depicts the process of a person drawing images and words onto a whiteboard, while telling the story of what is being drawn. Whiteboard animation videos are typically used for educational purposes. They can be used to explain concepts, ideas, products, services or processes.

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