Login with Facebook

5 techniques to create an animation

The animation techniques used by the film and advertising industry are manifold, but the most important are these five techniques.

Here is the list of the 5 animation techniques that we propose in this article.

Traditional animation (Cel animation)

Historical notes

It has a very complex history, with indefinite nuances and linked to the tradition of magic lantern shows (17th century), positioning itself as the natural evolution of the same. Over the years, through the invention of the zootrope (1834), the praxinoscope (1876-1877) and the optical theater (1888), it gradually assumes its specific form until it is defined as a real genre in most international cinemas ( among which the American, Japanese and Russian ones stand out).

The first work done with this technique dates back to 1908; it is Fantasmagorie by Émile Cohl, considered by many to be the first cartoon in history. The technique has evolved over the years, reaching a key point in 1937 with the release of the first feature film in cel animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a romantic and lighter reinterpretation of the Grimm brothers’ novel of the same name, as well as the first film produced from Walt Disney Productions.

It is a very rudimentary technique, practically abandoned by most studios (among the few exceptions it is necessary to mention the Studio Ghibli of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata)

How does it work?

This technique consists of drawing on a transparent support every single frame of the sequence of images; the drawings reproduced in sequence, therefore, create the illusion of movement. The support on which the animator draws is the cel, a transparent cellulose acetate sheet that is placed on a table and illuminated from below. The sheets, stacked one on top of the other, are filtered by light, thus allowing the animator to see the previous drawings of the sequence and consequently to be able to draw the subsequent tables in a consistent manner with respect to the previous ones, leaving unchanged the parts that do not participate in the movement (such as backgrounds, foreground objects, or other static elements).

It is generally a type of animation in step 2 (a different design every two frames), characterized by the use of 12 designs per second, doubled to obtain the frequency of 24 frames per second. Some sequences are made in step 1, making 24 designs per second (one different for each frame) to create particular dynamism effects.

2D animation (Vector-based animation)

Brief history 

It began to take shape in the late 1990s, playing a fundamental role in the production of content distributed via the Internet. In 1997 The Goddamn George Liquor Program was the first animated series produced exclusively for the network and created with Adobe Flash.

How does it work?

This is the technological progression of traditional animation, as it consists in applying the same techniques of manual drawing - tweening or overlapping, morphing, onion skinning, rotoscope - to drawing done on the computer. The use of programs such as Adobe Flash Professional (now renamed in Adobe Animate ) or Adobe After Effects has introduced a considerable simplification of the work of the animator, introducing new techniques and functions, such as the puppet tool and the interpolation between the frames (or for better to say, the keyframes ).

3D animation (Computer animation, CGI)

<< To infinity and beyond! >>

[Buzz Lightyear, from Toy Story]


The year was 1995 and a young film production company, Pixar Animation Studios, taken over by Steve Jobs in 1986 by a division of Lucas Film and driven by the skilled animator John Lasseter - former author of Tin Toy (1988), the first short film in CGI to win the prestigious Oscar Award - in collaboration with Walt Disney Pictures. He made the first animated feature fully developed in computer graphics: Toy Story - The world of toys, directed by Lasseter himself. From that day on, the film industry and the world of animation would never be the same again.

How does it work?

Animation occurs through the movement of objects in a three-dimensional space. In detail, these are three-dimensional models composed of polygons (morph target animation) that the animator can freely animate by going to act on a scheme similar to a skeletal system; this system is called rigging and allows to segment objects or parts of the body in order to produce their articulation and movement. The skeleton is subsequently covered by a surface layer called texture, to which it is possible to associate one or more materials that allow giving a verisimilitude effect to the surface of the objects. This type of two-part representation - surface part (skin, mesh or texture) and deep part (rig or skeleton) - is known as skeletal animation.

Scheme of a three-dimensional element made in computer graphics

Unlike 2D animation, the protagonist subject of the movement is always present throughout the animation phase, as it is a modelable three-dimensional object and not a drawing created from scratch every 1-2 frames.

In the field of video production, it is possible to insert three-dimensional objects in real environments through the motion tracking technique. It is also possible to recreate real landscapes or create scenographies that are, in all respects, plausible with the matte painting technique.

Also interesting is the integration of 3D models with motion capture, a technique that involves the use of sensors which, connected to a subject, allow the movement, as well as facial expressions, to be digitized, leading to more realistic results than those obtained with skeletal animation.

Motion Graphics

Motion graphics, unlike conventional animation, are characterized by the absence of characters or a story that acts as a common thread. Instead, it presents abstract objects, geometric shapes, logos, and textual elements that are animated to create acronyms, bumpers, gifs, presentations, and various audiovisual contents intended for the advertising industry. It is often made with flat design elements (especially as regards videos destined for the web and in particular for social networks), but it is also widely used in its 3D version for advertising spots. 

Stop Motion

Historical notes

Stop motion began to be experimented in the late 1800s by the film industry to insert objects that moved "as if by magic" into films; among the many experimenters, it is necessary to mention George Méliès, considered by many to be the father of special effects. But the primacy as the first short film in history made with this technique belongs to The Humpty Dumpty Circus (1898) by Albert Smith and James Stuart Blackton. In our opinion, it will be the film King Kong(1933) directed by Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack to definitively consecrate this technique, making possible the movement of the gigantic gorilla protagonist of the film. Speaking instead of animated feature films, emblematic cases date back to recent years, with masterpieces of the caliber of Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and La sposa cadavere(2005) produced by Tim Burton, Fantastic Mr. Fox(2009) by Wes Anderson, Anomalisa (2015) by Charlie Kaufman and The Little Prince (2015) by Mark Osborne.

How does it work?

It is a type of animation that involves the physical manipulation of an inanimate real object in order to simulate its movement over time. It is an animation in step 1, as a different photograph is taken for each frame. In this procedure, it is necessary to use miniature scenographies, modeling puppets, and particular cameras with macro lenses (with reduced focusing distance). The parts of the subjects 'bodies are articulated between one photograph and the other, and the models are moved to the three-dimensional space of the scenography, in such a way as to simulate both the movement of the subjects' bodies and their interaction in space.

<< You can imagine, create, and build the most wonderful place on Earth, but people will always need to make a dream come true. >>

[Walt Disney - 1901-1966]

We conclude the article with this wonderful quote from Walter Elias Disney, perfectly in line with the animation. Also here in Lotrèk, we agree that before creating fantastic - or digital worlds - the presence of real people, of humans, is necessaryanimation, human Before Digital.


Send Comment

Need a custom

We will write it for you.
Order now

Free Essay Examples

Free essays:

Analysis of Business Cycles
Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policies
An Overview Of Economic Studies
A Guide to Pricing Strategies
Biosensors for cancer diagnosis
Business Analysis: Pricing strategies and Demand Curve
Broadcasting: How to Be Good In Front of the Camera
Bioconjugates for the Drugs Delivery
Cells of Immune system
Challenges that IT Managers are facing
Cochlear implant: what it is and how it works
Current challenges to the health of women
Doppler ultrasound or simply eco Doppler
DNA extraction
Dynamic Systems Modeling with Machine Learning
Digital Imaging: What Is It?
Economy analysis: Business Cycle and Economic Trends
Exchange rate and foreign currency risk
Economic Factors Affecting Decision Making In A Business
Economy Analysis: Inflation, Unemployment And Policies
Factors Influencing Interest and Exchange Rates
Fiscal and Monetary Policies in Response to 2008/2009
Fermentation: how it works and what it is used for
Financial Markets and Functions
Genetic regulation networks: modeling in biology
How can immigrants blend in the American society?
How to make your business survive at economic crisis
How to choose the topic of the senior capstone project
Importance of corporate sustainability
Interaction of Consumer and Firm Choices in Markets
Introduction to Microeconomics
Introduction of Microfabrication techniques
Journalism: What is News?
Journalism: Broadcast media and Television Presenters
Journalism: Sources of News
Journalism and Law
Key Determinants of National Income
Key Factors That Affect Pricing Decisions
Kinetic models in biology and Related fields
Know about the different forms of traditional African dances
Latest technology trends
Latest dance trends
Methods of labeling of nucleic acid that enable their detection
Macroeconomics: International Economic Issues
Neuromuscular disorders
National Economies, Fluctuation, and Responses to Fluctuations
Neurotransmitters: what they are and different types
Nanomedicines to target tumors
Overcoming Hiring Challenges for Nonprofit Organization
Principles of Microeconomics - Producer Theory
Principles of Microeconomics - Consumer Theory
Principles of Economics
Role of technology in the modern business environment
Role of Homeostasis in Human Physiology
Role of a digital artist
Role of gender studies
Skills in Journalism: Effective Interview
Systems biology - An understanding the functioning of biological systems
Self-assembly for biological systems
School of American Ballet
Types of corporate responsibility
The Role of Government Policy in Improving Economic Outcomes
Types of bioreactors and their applications
Technological perspectives and reflections of neural engineering
Understanding Perfect and Imperfect Competition
Ultrasound: physical principles and image formation
Understanding social entrepreneurship
Understand the importance of investigative journalism
Various theoretical perspectives of sociology
Virtual reality, what it is and how it works
What are the Causes of financial instability?
What is business ethics and code of ethics
4 Facts about Origin of Mathematics!
5 techniques to create an animation
10 strategies to maximize corporate profits
13 Best colleges for political science in the world
6 Medical Technologies that revolutionized the healthcare in 2020
All you need to know about the ACA Code of ethics
Architecture and Democracy: An Introduction
Architecture and Democracy: Democratic Values
Architecture and Democracy: Democratic Procedures
All You Need to Know About a Synthesis Essay
An essential guide to understanding Film Theory
Application of Artificial Intelligence in Cyber Security
Applications of electrical engineering
Augmented reality: what it is, how it works, examples
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Social Networking
All you need to know about Cryptography
Applications of astrophysical science
All you need to know about architecture engineering
Applications of geological engineering
Artificial intelligence and medicine: an increasingly close relationship
An insight into Computational Biology
ACA code of conduct
A Rose for Emily
Applications of Mathematics in daily life
Architecture mistakes to avoid
All you need to know about Toxicology
All you need to know about Holistic Medicine
All you need to know about linguistics
An introduction to Linguistics and its subfields
All you need to know about Anxiety disorder
All you need to know about Drones
A Brief Insight into Political Science
Assumptions related to feminism
All you need to know about Byzantine emperors
All you need to know about labour economics
An insight into xenobots -the first-ever robots
An ultimate guide about Biomaterials
A Comprehensive Introduction to the Mona Lisa
Analysis methods of Transport through biological membranes
An ultimate guide about biochemical reactions
Analysis of brain signals
Artificial Gene Synthesis
Application to synthetic biology of CAD methods
All you need to know about metabolic pathways
Applications of BIOMEMS
All you need to know about the epidemiology
Asian vs. western leadership styles
All you need to know about Smart prosthesis
Analysis of Economy: Output of Goods and Services (GNP), and GDP on Economic success
A Guide to Pricing Strategies
An Overview Of Economic Studies
Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policies
Analysis of Business Cycles
How to Write a Personal Essay
Housing Needs in America
How to Write a Description Essay
How to Create an Excellent Scholarship Essay?
How to write a cause and effect essay
How to Hire the Best Essay Writing Service Provider?
How to Write a College Application Essay?
How to get the most out of your English lectures
How to write Expository Essay
How to succeed in your psychology class?
How to Write an Academic Essay in the Shortest Time?
History of Journalism
How Different Sectors are Using Artificial intelligence (AI)
How to write an informative essay
How to deliver persuasive essays?
How to Give a Convincing Presentation
How to write an essay on leadership?
Historical Art Still Around Today
Humanoid robot: what it is, how it works and price
History of Chemistry
Healthcare Advanced Computer Power: Robotics, Medical Imaging, and More
Healthcare AI: Game Changers for Medical Decision-Making and Remote Patient Monitoring
How to understand different types of English
How to Cope with Chronic Pain
How African American choreographers and dancers have influenced American dance
How mobile robot can do in logistics or in production
How To Become a Successful Entrepreneur
History of the Philosophy of Feminism
How is the climate changing?
How to Track Your Content Marketing ROI
How to Gun control In the USA?
Historical and contemporary role of labour in the modern world
How breast cancers are classified?
How the cells of our body communicate?
How the Lymphatic System Works?
How Digestive System Works
How to complete your capstone projects effectively?
How to write a research project
Healthcare technologies that help patients with better self-management
How to choose the topic of the senior capstone project
How to make your business survive at economic crisis
How can immigrants blend in the American society?
The Looming Energy Crisis in America
Top benefits of performance-based engineering
The More Languages You Know, The More Times You Are a Man
Things to consider while writing an Argumentative Essay
Top Ways to Improve Your Academic Writing Skills
Tips to Excel in Creative Writing
The origins of films in the early 19th century
Top career options in Architecture
The Elevator Pitch
Top finance trends 2020
The basic Structure and functionality of robots
The Way to Success
The election system of the President in the United States of America
Two-party System in United States of America
Top trends in urban design
The history and theory of African American filmmaking
Top benefits of creative writing
Tinnitus Guide: Common Symptoms and Treatment Options
The language of dance
The digital image processing management
Top famous politicians of the World
Top methods of political science!
The history of the feminist movement
The blood flow in cardiovascular system - Biofluid Mechanics
The best of Leonardo Da Vinci
The Structure and Function of Macromolecules
The structure of cell: a research on the bricks of the human body!
Tissue and organ construction: Adhesion and recognition between cells
The kinetics of the transformation processes
The Modeling of Biological Systems
Tips for writing a great thesis statement
The Defense mechanisms against infections
The impact of the technological innovations in medicine
Top journalism trends to know about
The relation between mass media & politics
Theranostics: Diagnosis and Care through Nanoparticles
The practical Applications of X-rays
The applications of Ultrasound in medicine
Transfer mechanisms of genetic information in Bacteria
The regulation of cellular metabolism in the diagnosis
The Principles of MRI Contrast agents
The technical basis of optical coherence imaging
The New Media: Emerging Trends
The Structure of Interest Rates and the Yield Curve
Technological perspectives and reflections of neural engineering
Types of bioreactors and their applications
The Role of Government Policy in Improving Economic Outcomes
Types of corporate responsibility
What is a Definition Essay?
What are diagnostic essays?
What is the relation between art structural engineering?
What is a Narrative Essay
What are robotics and intelligence systems?
What are the benefits of studying health sciences?
What is artificial intelligence and why it matters?
What is comparative Literature?
Why study neuroscience
What is Wi-Fi and how does it works
What is French history famous for?
What are Humanistic Studies?
What is covered in Biophysics?
What is modern journalism?
What is Virtualization? Benefits & Applications
What are modern public relations?
What is plasma physics?
What is teacher preparation?
What is rapid prototyping for 3D printing?
What is contemporary European Politics?
Why should you learn American Ballet?
What is engineering physics?
What is the purpose of African American Literature?
Ways to learn the Rhythm
What is digital art used for?
What are Enzymes and how do they work
Who is the father of political science?
Why Study Political Science - Job?
What is the Philosophy of Feminism?
What is a quantum computer?
Ways B2B Startups Streamline Their Conversion Strategies
Why do biomedical signals need processing?
What are the long term effects of climate change?
Why study labour relations
What is Holoprosencephaly?
What is antisocial disorder?
What are the important principles of evolution?
What is the cytoplasm and its function?
What is biopolymers?
What Makes a Good Leader
Women empowerment in modern generation
What is the history of political thought?
What is Gene recombination
What is synthetic biology
What is business cost analysis?
What is Inflation
What are the consequences of unemployment?
What is lithotripsy and its types?
What is transition elastography?
What is the purpose of deep brain stimulation?
What is a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)
What is neuroethics?
What is Market and Supply and Demand
What is optogenetics?
What are the techniques to record brain activity?
What happens if the interest rate increases?
What is immunotherapy?
What is the economic role of the financial market?
What are the factors behind illegal immigration?
What is the lymphocyte activation?
What is financial market and its types?
What is the structure of financial markets?
What are the methods of measuring business performance?
What is the Credit market?
What is business ethics and code of ethics
What are the Causes of financial instability?