Types of Animation in Computer Graphics

Animation is a task that demands passion, skills and creativity. In fact, it’s the animators who bring unique ideas to life so people can enjoy the characters and stories that are pretty much unbelievable in real life. Animation techniques have been around the market for a couple of years now, with gaming companies and studios looking for talented and creative individuals with the capability to master them.

Computer Animation

Here are the main types of animation that will help you make digital characters for your TV shows, television promos, app commercial, company logo, movies, explainer videos or environment for gaming.

  • Traditional animation.
  • 2D vector-based animation.
  • 3D computer animation.
  • Motion graphics.
  • Stop motion.


Traditional animation

Ever seen images that appear as if sketched on a transparent piece of paper infused on a peg by use of colored markers, one frame at a time? This is called traditional animation. Animators use this types of animation with rough characters so as to know the number of characters that they need to draw for action and be appropriately perceived. Though the procedure can be costly and length, their production allow photographing of each frame, creating occasional faster actions animated at 24 frames/second speed. This technique is mainly used on personal computers, and tablets using special software programs with powerful drawing capabilities making it the best for frame Disney-style animation.

2D vector-based animation

Most frequently used animation style. It is a key-framed animation produced on a relatively flat surface. It is also a vector-based animation that adopts the traditional animations. In fact, it is the same as traditional Cel animation apart from the fact that when the animations and the in-betweens are complete, the frames are exposed to a process known as ink-and-paint. During this process, animators place thin sheets of celluloid on a transparent paper containing the animated characters, after which they copy the frames on the celluloid. Eventually, the frames will overlay each other due to the higher transparency of the celluloid, allowing multiple props and character on top of the background.

3D computer animations

3D animation is entirely different from traditional and 2D animation. Though they both use the understanding of similar principles of composition and movement, their technical skill set for each task is not the same. 3D animation does not demand draftsmen to be a creative animator. It is more like playing with puppets than drawing.

Also called computer generated images (CGI), they occur when computers graphics create a stream of images that merge to form an animation. It is a consolidation of dynamic and static images using computer graphics. Characters created in 3D are digitally displayed on a screen, then fused with a skeleton that enables animators to animate the models for their specific uses.

You will perform animation by posing the models in particular key frames after which their computer perform ‘tweening’ animations interpreting it in each frame between the key frames. You will also spend a lot of time viewing curves that are a representation of the different body parts of an object over time. Unlike the 2D animations, all the characters that should be considered are always present.

The greatest difference between this type of animation and other types is that while traditional animations work on 2’s to draw a drawing in every 2 frames, 3D animations are always smooth, with a character stop that resembles a mistake. Even when the character stands still, there is always a gentle movement or a sign of life to keep the illusion of life.

But animations are often not enough, because to make an animation really perfect you will need the right music. In order to create proper digital music you should check out some midi controller reviews and choose a proper midi keyboard or controller.

Motion graphics

Ever thought of how explainer videos, television promos, animated logos, film opening titles and app commercial are created? This is through the art of moving graphic texts or elements or what I like to call motion graphics.

It is a process where you animate video clips, images and texts by using ‘tweened’ framing to generate smooth motion between frames. These framing programs support scripts that automatically changes the animation to preferences of choice while they use particles systems to create numerous effects. These effects are released with emitters that produce surfaces, disassembling animation and lights. As such, flat-based 3D images are generated giving the illusion of movement, accompanied with exceptional sound effects or music. This explains their usage in multimedia projects.

Stop motion

Stop motion animation is more like the traditional animation. All you need to do is take a photo of an object, and as you move the object for a relatively small distance, you take another photo. The procedure is repeatedly done, and when these images are played back one after the other, they give the impression of motion. There is many forms of stop motion animation including Cut-Outs, Claymation and Puppets, but the bottom line is, they are all animations that feature objects photographed sequentially to generate animation characters or actions.