If you’re thinking about a career in animation, you’ve probably done some animating. Maybe you’ve always doodled on a flipbook. Or you might have grown up with a computer animation program. In any case, you have a pretty good idea of what is animation, or you wouldn’t be thinking about making it your career!
But, no matter what animating you’ve done, you’ve probably only used one of the 5 basic types of animation. For example, your flipbook animations are an example of 2D animation, or traditional animation. The work you’ve done on a computer is probably and example of 3D or computer animation.
5 BASIC TYPES OF ANIMATION
Here’s a quick look at 5 types of animation to help you have a better idea of the possibilities for a career in animation.
Traditional 2D Animation – One of the older forms of animation, every frame of a traditional animation sequence is created by hand, similar to what you did with with flipbooks. Back in the day, animators used a process called onion skinning. Working on a light table, animators could see previous drawings through the paper so they could draw the next frame in the sequence. Today, even traditional animation is created using a computer. Disney’s classic animated films and the old Bugs Bunny cartoons are examples of traditional animation.
2D Vector-Based Animation – In addition to aiding in the process of traditional animation, computer technology makes it possible to create 2D vector-based animations. In addition to frame-by-frame animation, 2D vector-based animation technology gives animators the option to create ‘rigs’ for a character. This allows the animator to move individual body parts, instead of redrawing the entire character for each frame.
Computer Animation – While 2D vector-based animations are created with computer, computer animation refers to 3D animations. Today, 3D animation is the most common form of animation. Computer animation requires the same understanding of the principles of movement and composition as traditional animation. But 3D animation doesn’t necessarily require drawing skills. In a way, it is more like working with puppets. Once a character has been designed, 3D animation programs give animators the tools to animate every element of a character, step by step, in three dimensions.
Motion Graphics – Also computer-based, motion graphics are not as character-driven as the forms of animation we’ve mentioned so far. In a way, the ‘characters’ are graphic elements or text that are animated in creative ways, often for advertising, promotions and titling sequences in films and TV shows. While motion graphics may not require the same understanding of human body motion dynamics as other forms of animation, frame composition and perspective are key.
Stop Motion – For the last type of animation we’ll talk about today, we’ll go back to a traditional form, stop-motion animation. Using live-action video or film cameras, stop-motion animation is done by capturing a frame of a still object, then slightly moving it and/or changing its shape or other characteristic, then capturing another frame. The process is repeated so that when the captured frames are played in sequence, the object appears to be animated.