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Basic Types of Animation

Basic Types of Animation

Animation originates from the creativity of intelligent people that is displayed through different forms of media. This Techspirited article highlights main three types of animation, i.e. Cel, Stop, and Computer animation.
Techspirited Staff
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2018
Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and The Simpsons are all time favorite cartoon characters that influence kids as well as adults! All these cartoon characters are the creation of the wonderful art of animation that captivates our eyes and makes our childhood days full of fun. How are these cartoons displayed on television or Internet? Let's find out...

Basic animation is an easy and single keyframe animation. It is a presentation of various displays and movements, which adds liveliness to your site or film. The Internet users are usually fond of browsing a website that is well-animated with good graphics. A web designer cannot ideate his website without the application of basic animation, due to its virtual advantages in the Internet market. In simple words, basic animation is the illusion of different movements, linked together in a proper way, so that visitors/audiences get the effect of seeing a well-coordinated set of actions.

Generally, this beautiful animation art is created using the Java language. For example, if you want to show a bouncing ball, you need to draw various positions of the ball in different drawings or 'frames' as they are called. In the first drawing, you can show the ball resting on the ground; in the second frame, the ball slightly above the ground; the third one will show the ball 2 to 3 feet above the ground, and in the fourth one the ball will come down a bit and so on till finally the ball is on the ground. These drawings are composed together with the help of computer scanning, use of software, matching sound effects, time management, and shooting with a camera. In the final result, you will find an animation similar to the live action of a boy bouncing the ball up and down on the ground.
3 Basic Types of Animation
The types of animation are cel, stop, and computer animation. These three types are the primary keynote for animation effect.
Cel Animation
Also known as traditional animation or hand-drawn animation, Cel animation refers to the classical way of animation done with the help of hand drawings. In this process, various pictures are created which are slightly different, but progressive in nature to depict certain actions. Trace these drawings on a transparent sheet. This transparent sheet is known as cel and is a medium for drawing frames. Now draw outlines for the images and color them on the back of the cel. The cel is an effective technique that helps to save time by combining characters and backgrounds. You can also put the previous drawings over other backgrounds or cels whenever required. Here, you need not draw the same picture again as it has the facility of saving previous animations that can be used when required. Coloring a background may be a more difficult task than a single drawing, as it covers the whole picture. Background requires shading and lighting and will be viewed for a longer duration. Then comes the use of camera to photograph these drawings.

E.g. Three little girls Dancing on stage
We need 3 cels to create animation. First cel is of curtain, second cel is of (character) three girls standing in the center, and third cel is of background. Most of the time background is same, while the characters are changed. Fourth is a photo of how these three cels are merged to get a single cel. And fifth is the result, three girls on stage performing dance! Let's see how cel animation is done in the below images:
Cel Layer 1 - Curtain
Three Girls
Cel Layer 2 - Character, Three Girls
Cel Layer 3 - Background
Three Cels Side Angle
Three Cels Side Angle - Camera
Cel animation
Composite Image
Today, cel animations are made more attractive by using the drawings together with music, matching sound effects and association of timing for every single effect with the help of 2D effects. To display a cartoon show, 10-12 frames are played in rapid succession per second to give a representation of movement in a cel animation. The technique used in cel animations are full animation (elaborated drawings for smooth effect), limited animation (used for stylized artistic expression), rotoscoping (used frame-to-frame animation taking live-action movements), and live-action animation (mixing hand-drawn and live actions).

Examples of Cel animated movies are Pinocchio (1940), Animal Farm (1954), Yellow Submarine (1968), Fire and Ice (1983), The Black Cauldron (1985), The Little Mermaid (1989), etc.
Stop Animation
Stop animation or stop motion animation is a technique to make objects move on their own. Here, a few images are drawn with some different positions and photographed separately.
Clay Animations of Toon Alien
Clay Animations of Toon Alien
In the above image, we have bought a toon alien or we can create your own toy or character out of clay. Now take photos or videos of different expressions like saying wow, pointing to someone, waving hand to say 'hi', and holding a gold brick.

Some famous movies that are animated via stop motion effects are King Kong (1933), The Dinosaur (1914), the Missing Link (1915), The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), and The Lost World (1925), etc.
Types of Stop Animation
Cutout Animation
In this animation, background or character are created with paper craft, photograph, card or even of a fabric. You must have watched some silhouette animation in movies like Pinocchio. Other examples of cut-out animated movies are Fantastic Planet (1973), Tale of Tales (Russia, 1979), Twice Upon a Time (1983), etc.
Clay Animation
One of the easiest and popular types of animations, clay animation also known as claymation is done with the help of an animated piece. You can either buy or create your own animated character or object. e.g. To create an animated character of a boy at home, you need polymer clay, wire, clay colors, etc. Mold the clay into different shapes, supporting it with the wire to give the shape of boy's hands, feet, and head. Now color the boy in different colors to create his shirt, trousers, and face. Now it's time to take a photo of the boy you want in your animation. Then again keep changing the boy's postures to complete your desired set of actions and take photos or videos. Save them on your computer and edit for your desired movie. Though Clay animation is cheaper, it takes lots of time and efforts to get the desired results.
Here real life humans are used as characters, these characters pose for each frame to create the animation. E.g. The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (1993), Gisele Kerozene (1990), Michael Langan's Doxology (2007), Tetsuo, The Iron Man (1989), etc.
Puppet animation
Puppetry is one of the most used frame-to-frame animation types. In this animation, display puppets interacting with each other in a real life environment. e.g. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Coraline (2009), Robot Chicken (2005-present), etc.
Object Animation
Here you can use any object like toys, dolls, etc. for animation. A movie, 'Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World' is a brickfilm is an example of object animation.
Computer Animation
Computer Animation is the latest technique that includes 2D and 3D animation. These animations not only enhance the hand-drawn characters, but also make them appear real as compared to the above mentioned animations.
Flying Butterfly GIF
Flying Butterfly GIF
2D Animation
It is used through Powerpoint and Flash animations. Though its features are similar to cel animation, 2D animation has become popular due to simple application of scanned drawings into the computer like in a cartoon film. e.g. Paperman (2012) and Feast (2014), etc.
3D Animation
It is used in film-making where we require unusual objects or characters that are not easy to display. Use of 3D animation can create a crowd of people in a disaster like earthquake, flood, or war. There are different shapes, support of mathematical codes, display of actions and colors which are mind-blowing as if copied from an actual picture. You can also use stop animation, clay animation, CGI (computer generated imagery) for a 3D movie. e.g. How to Train Your Dragon (2010), Frozen (2013), The Lego Movie (2014), etc.
Apart from these 3 basic types of animations, there are lot of styles and techniques used in animations. Paint-on-glass, drawn-on-film, experimental, hydrotechnics, sand, flip book, multi-sketch animations, etc. Animation has brought a new era of amazing technology in the field of Internet (website design and graphics), film industry, and media. Many of us can try out making their own animation! In addition, animation is one of the popular Internet marketing strategies that make visitors stay on your site for a longer time.