First off, what is animation? Animation is a technique or a process that makes the illusion of motion by a rapid display of a sequence of static images that minimally differ from each other. Animation is made with a flip book, analogue media, a videotape, motion picture film, digital media and etc. There are different animation types that make the process of creating more exciting, starting from the traditional animation to the newest types of computer animation like 3D.
So, let’s break it down: There are 8 most common types of animations. There is traditional animation, 2D and 3D animation, clay animation, sand animation, typography animation, flipbook animation and stop-motion animation. Each animation is different from the previous one and the process of making varies from type to type.
Movies like The Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Little Mermaid are all examples of traditional animation. This type of animation is drawn by hand with a pencil on paper. And this is the very beginning of animation as we know it. The 2D animation involves creating the drawings, frame by frame, on plastic cells that already have a painted background on them. One of the very first 2D animations is Fantasmagorie, a 75 second cartoon about a stickman. It took over 700 drawings to get to that length of movie. Other movies famous for using 2D animation are Mickey Mouse, the Flintstones and The Jetsons.
When it comes to 2D animation, there are four types of 2D animation. The first type is the traditional animation, where the animation is drawn frame by frame. There are a lot of pros about this type of 2D animation. For example, you are completely in charge of the characters, their characteristics, facial expressions, what they do and etc. But, the cons are simple – it takes a lot of time. Sometimes to get even 2 seconds of proper animation you will need a whole day.
The second type of 2D animation is “Rotoscoping”. All you do here is draw over a video to get your animation. Import your video into an animation software and trace away. It’s easier than traditional animation because you can follow the footage frame by frame and get realistic movement.
What you need to do here is to cut out the parts of your character. For example, if you have a front facing man you cut out his whole head, then his torso, limbs and etc. So, that later you can move them around. This type of animation takes a lot of preparation beforehand.
For those of you who were wondering, IK stands for Inverse Kinematics. This animation is the fastest because it involves computers. However, it is quite complicated. By using the right software, you can move the limbs of the characters with just a click.
Up next on our list of types of animation techniques is the digital 3D animation. The purpose of 3D animation is making the unreal characters look more realistic. Also, 3D characters are much easier to make and are the favorite type of characters to make today. This type of animation can be achieved with a 3D animation software.
Ending our list with everyone’s favorite – stop motion animation! Stop motion basically means a frame by frame animation. Use the right software to create this animation type.
The most popular type of stop motion animation is the Claymation. Many popular cartoons were made with this technique, for example Wallace and Gromit. Also, Claymation pieces of clay are made into characters that are moved around frame by frame. There is usually a piece of wire inside the clay to make the moving more easily.
The next type is Toymation. Just like the clay characters, these can move around, but not to extremes. In 2D clay animation, the clay character is made on a flat surface. The goal is to make the character look like it is standing up. Paper animation is similar to 2D clay animation. But, instead of using clay, the animator uses paper characters.
If you want to start a career in animation, here are the types of jobs in animation. Besides having the title of Animator, you can get more specific jobs like 3D Modeler, Film and Video Editor, Stop Motion Animator, Background Painter, Cartoonist, Storyboard Artist, Digital Painter, a Texture Artists etc. There are many jobs available in animation, it’s just about working hard and finding the right profession for you.