Different Types of Animation? A Complete Guide

ADMEC Multimedia Institute > Animation > Different Types of Animation? A Complete Guide

So, there was a phase when there’s nothing more interesting and exciting than an animated movie. I’m talking about the era of 90s when cartoon characters took lot of attention from all of us. We still have fond memories of those lazy Sundays that were spent while watching animated cartoons shows and movies. Don’t you want to know how everything started in the field of animation? Let’s see what were and are still the different types of animation that evolved with the time.

When you dive deep into the history of animation, you’ll find that this technique is as old as storytelling. It took very little time for people to understand that illusion can also be created through still images.

Animation in this digital era has gone beyond just entertainment factor and what’s interesting part is animation is captivating both the world that is home and business. It has become a whole new career option for people. There is still a kid in us that got excited to see animated characters acting like a real person and this kid forces some of us to go and explore this field in detail.

Today, in this section we are going to discuss animation, its types and the career opportunities it has stored for us.

Meaning and its Types

Animation is the process of capturing still images of inanimate objects and then adding motion to them. Such simulation deals with the idea of infusing the motion into still images to create an illusion of movement.  It is like an umbrella term that covers a variety of techniques inside it.

Although there are different types of animation, here are the few that are an essential part of the industry.

Traditional Animation

In traditional animation each frame is created separately and animators used to draw characters on the transparent sheets that were consisted of camphor and cellulose nitrate. The sheet is called cel and that’s why graphic motions created through this process is also known as Cel Animation. After creating on cels, the characters are imposed on the common background to reduce the production time. Back in 1914, Liar by Colonel Heeza was the first animated series that was created using this technique.

However, this method demanded a lot of time from the animators and this becomes the major drawback of this animation.

2D Animation:

When scenes, objects, and characters are animated in two-dimensional space that graphic motion is known as 2D animation. Even today animation begins with the sketching process. The difference comes with the use of the software. Most of the designers use software like Sketchbook or Photoshop to create characters and environments.

The software comes with a predefined set of tools and options that allow the designers to create and manipulate according to their needs. It is also true that because of 2D animation, designers got to know about the various effects and libraries that can be applied to give a real moving feel to still pictures in more interactive way. The characters in 2d graphic motion can be measured only in terms of width and height.

Some of the famous 2D animation software are PhotoshopAutodesk Sketchbook Pro, Toon Boom StudioAnime Studio Debut and many more. 2D animation is a dominant art form used in various platforms like in Televisiongame industry. Games like Super Mario BrosMega Man are a few finest examples of games that use 2D motion.

3D Animation:

3D animation was the beginning of the golden era of computer-generated graphics. 3D characters that look real in nature and they were entirely designed using computer software. designer prepares a virtual skeleton of the character and then adds motion to it by using the rigging technique. Characters were provided with human-like attributes like limbs, clothes, expressions in detail.

The first 3d animated movie in history, the Adventures of Andre and Wally B was produced by Pixar animation and since then there was no looking back from that point. It was these 3d elements that made movies like The Avengers, Avatar and the Transformer this much interesting and impressive.

Stop Motion Animation:

Stop motion animation also known as stop frame simulation is of type where every frame of the photographic object is manipulated and the illusion of movement is created between the frames. In this process, the photograph of an object is taken while changing the position and when played, the images appear to move on their own.

Flipbook Animation

Even before computers were introduced in the animation field, it was still in practice. It is one of the oldest kinds of animation that still never leaves any chance to excite and fascinate us in the similar way as it used to do in earlier days.

Flip book or Flick book animation is a process in which a book is flicked rapidly and on each page of that book, a series of pictures is drawn with little variation. So when an artist rapidly flicks that book, it creates an illusion of motion in those still pictures.

The choice of animation

These were just a few types of animation that once ruled or currently ruling the current industry.

Companies have invested their marketing strategies in this form of the motion to sell their products and services.

The type of motions companies and media houses choose to work with entirely depends on their budget. When it comes to comparison then we found 2D much cheaper than stop motion & 3D animations; it is actually obvious because of the heavy rendering work that takes place.

Prominent animation software

In this modern era, animation has become one of the prominent & integral parts of the post production industry.

To become a professional animator, he or she must have a profound knowledge of the latest tools of the animation industry.  The software acts as a true weapons and support structures for animators as they allow them to turn their imagination into reality.

There are several 2D and 3D software available in the industry but there are some leading software which are used by professional artists across the globe.

2D Animation software

  • Toon Boom harmony

This one is no doubt one of the prominent software of the industry used by leading production houses like Disney pictures and Warner Bros. The tool seems to be perfect for beginner inspiring animators who want to do big in 2D animation this powerful tool comes with most advanced features and the user friendly interface makes the software Compatible for new developers.

Disney movies like, ‘The Princess and the Frog’ was made using the software and it can be understood how it has become an integral part of the animation world.

The software comes with terms of powerful tools and features which makes it one of the best 2D animation software. It offers a range of brushes and pencils which makes it easier for animators and allows them to draw directly on their Wacom tablet.

  • Harmony uses traditional frame to frame method of animation.
  • It comes with stunning properties which help you to set different camera angles and also allows you to add special effects.
  • It has a stunning lip sync feature to match the animation voice which is also a plus point for animators.
  • CelAction2D

CelAction is also a prominent software used by various animation studios and professional artists to produce stunning animations. It is a robust and powerful software which is quite easy to learn.

Software comes with a user friendly interface and you can work effectively on both simple and complex projects. You can customize the work area according to your convenience. You are not limited to choose any particular operating system for this as the software works well on both the platforms- Mac and Windows.

However the program still lacks some drawing tools but its performance and ability to simplify projects cover the situation making it one of the best software of the industry.

  • Synfig

With the power of leading professional software of the industry, Synfig is open source and free 2D animation software available for all platforms – Linus, Mac and Windows.

The software allows you to create beautiful animation with complete ease and in a much faster way. The community behind this software is the brilliant mind in making this program as one of the best free 2d animation software. The community offers a ridiculous amount of tutorials and videos through which you can easily learn to work with this software.

The software was designed with a similar interface to flash and if you have learnt that software, it will be much easier for you to work with this program.

Whether you are beginner or professional employed in the industry from years, its powerful features will definitely attract you. Go and must try it out.

  • Opentoonz

Opentoonz is also a free tool to use and the best thing is that it is open source. The software was used to make famous Princes Mononoke, a Japanese animated fantasy written and directed by great animator, Hayao Miyazaki.

The program has a lot of features that can be easily found in any professional software of the industry.

Opentoon combines drawing and 2D animation which means you can scan your drawing and then create them into animation. Earlier, when it was introduced, the software seems to be a bit messy but with gradual improvements and changes, the software has gained stability.

3D animation software

  • Maya

We have Autodesk Maya at top of the list since it is a popular name in the industry and capable of transforming your imagination into reality. You can literally create 3D games, environment scenes, movies, characters and everything else you can think of!

This industry standard animation tool has dominated the industry since its inception. Although it is a paid software, the feature that it offers does complete justice to its price.

  • Cinema 4D

Comparatively faster than Maya, Cinema 4D is one of the most prominent tools in the 3D animation industry.  The high feature of the software makes it the desirable software. You can create various gaming environments using this software.

It has an extensive library of presets that comes with a huge range of assets giving the complete freedom to artists.

  • Mixamo

Mixamo comes with a user friendly interface and faster workflow. Mixamo is one of the powerful 3D animation software. With this tool, it is very simple to create new assets, organize them and also share them in one go.

The software offers several features like:

  1. Animation packs that are fully customizable
  2. Comes with faster, accurate and reliable search function
  3. It lets you download a series of different animations all together
  4. It got a very quick browsing feature for animation
  • Houdini

Created by the Toronto based Side Effects Software, Houdini has every feature that a 3D animation software should have. It got many features which make it different from other 3D animation software.

Career opportunities

Now comes the point that what are the career opportunities that it offers. Just like any professional field, a career in this industry also demands a professional training from reputed animation institute

The option of self-learning is also available to the individuals however; the option comes with the restriction.

The professional animation training

Every company wants to hire a person who has attained a professional degree from a reputed institute and secondly has worked under the guidance of industry experts.  At ADMEC, we fulfil both the criteria. 

ADMEC is an ISO certified and one of the best institutes in Delhi for animation and digital media training. With experienced faculty, we provide one of the finest courses to our students that not only prepare them for their real-time industry exposure but also teach them how to perform well under pressure.

Our courses like Animation Master and Animation Master Plus are specially designed for the students who have that zeal and enthusiasm to conquer such a large industry.

 After completing the course, you will be able to work as:

  • An Animator
  • Character Designer
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Freelancer
  • Rigging Artist
  • Texturing Artist
  • Lighting Artist
  • Visual Effects Professional

Author’s Note

It’s good to choose this field as a career! But to get a prosperous career, there is a need for hardcore training which you can attain by enrolling in any professional course from an ideal training platform like ADMEC Multimedia Institute.

So, that’s all for now folks! If you still have any query you can drop a comment below or can share your views too.

Till then, keep exploring!

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