Creating Movement and Emotion: Exploring the Basics of Animation

What is Animation?

Animation is the process by which the illusion of motion and shape change can be created using the random display of various types of pictures that are made to create a single scene.


It can also be described as the art of bringing life to otherwise inanimate objects or illustrated / 3D-generated characters by projecting sequenced images quickly, one after another, to create the illusion of life.

Basics of animation


Types of Animation

Animation has an important role in the media and entertainment industry and is used for a multitude of purposes in many different fields, including film, TV, marketing, gaming, and education.

When thinking of delving into the field of animation professionally, one should be sure of the type of animation one wants to be a part of.


Animation is divided into the following five broad categories -


  1. Traditional animation: Traditional animation (cel animation) is the oldest form of animation. In this form of animation, an animator draws each frame on paper, which is then photocopied or retraced onto transparent acetate sheets called cels. It is then painted, and each cel is photographed one by one to produce an animated sequence.
    This type of animation was often used by Walt Disney Animation Studios for the production of many of its early films, which include- The Lion King (1994), Sleeping Beauty (1959), and Cinderella (1950). 
  2. 2D animation: 2D animation (vector-based animation) creates movement in a 2-dimensional space. With the progress in animation software, 2D animation has become an increasingly popular and feasible option for artists. They can reduce production time and costs by a great margin, using software like- Toon Boom HarmonyAdobe Animate, and Adobe After Effects to manipulate images and speed up the process.
    Some well-known 2D animations for TV include Looney Tunes, Snow White, Rick and Morty, and Peppa Pig.
  3. 3D animation: 3D (computer animation) refers to the process of creating 3-dimensional moving images in a digital environment. Thanks to specialized animation software, it is now possible to use motion to give life to characters, vehicles, and props through 3D animation. This enables animated objects to be rotated and moved in a way that closely resembles real objects, resulting in a stop-motion-like effect. Typically, this process involves three main stages: modeling, layout and animation, and rendering.
    Examples of 3D animation include movies like Frozen, Toy Story, dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park movies, and Robots in Transformers.
  4. Stop motion: Stop motion animation is a technique that can be achieved by capturing one frame at a time, using physical objects or props that can be moved while each frame is captured. When the sequence of images is then played at rapid speed, an illusion of movement is produced. Stop-motion animation frequently employs clay figures or puppets featuring movable joints. Stop motion was often used as a form of special effects in live-action films but is now less common, considering advancements in 3D animation technology. Aardman Animations is also known for its use of stop-motion animation in creating many celebrated characters such as Morph and Wallace, and Gromit.
  5.  Motion graphics: Motion graphics refers to a style of animation that utilizes text as a major component to communicate a message. The main focus is on introducing a motion to specific elements of graphic design that would otherwise be static, with the objective of generating a greater impact. Shapes, objects and text can be set in motion to create a powerful visual display. 
    This type of animation can be especially useful if there is a need to highlight specific content or express complex ideas in a visually accessible way to audiences. 
    The title sequence for Hitchcock's renowned movie, Psycho (1960), serves as an excellent demonstration of this style, showcasing how elements such as sound, motion, and graphic design can work in unison to produce a cohesive and captivating experience.


Principles of Animation

There are certain principles of animation that one should know before starting animation.

The principles of animation have evolved from past techniques and remain highly valuable and crucial for contemporary animation practices.

Johnston and Frank Thomas- two Disney animators in the year 1981- introduced twelve basic principles of animation to produce more realistic works. 


These principles are also applicable to present computer animations. 


There are 12 basic principles of animation

  1. Squash and Stretch – This is the most important principle of animation; it gives a sense of weight and volume to the object which is drawn by the animator.
  2. Straight Ahead - In this principle, next to nothing happens suddenly as the animator creates a starting scene that shows the likelihood of something happening in the future.
  3. Staging – The animator creates different types of scenes that attract the audience. This is done to keep the audience's attention directed to the scenes in front of them. 
  4. Straight Ahead – In this principle, all the frames are drawn from beginning to end, and then all the intervals or scenes are filled.
  5. Flow through and Overlapping action – This principle can be described in the following manner- Two objects' actions have different speeds in any scene and overlap each other.
  6. Slow in and Slow outThis principle works when an object has maximum acceleration in between and resistance at the beginning and end. 
  7. Arc – Arcs are present in almost all animation as all objects follow some arc in their action instead of following a straight line.
  8. Secondary action – As with one character's action, the second character's move shows the multiple dimensions of animation. 
  9. Timing – Perfect timing is very important for playing a given action.
  10. Exaggeration – This principle creates hyper-realistic scenes by developing a proper animation style. 
  11. Solid drawing – In this principle, any object will be created in 3D to get realistic visualization of the scene. 
  12. Appeal – Any character need not be the same as any real character, but it somewhat seems to be like that, which creates proper thinking in the audience's mind. 

One of the platforms to learn animation from scratch is 98thPercentile. On this platform, children can start their animation journey under the guidance of experienced teachers in a fun and interactive way!