Top 6 types of animation

Animation is defined as the transformation of images from static to dynamic, specifically using the principles of motion and change. It has a long and complex history since the beginning of the twentieth century, as progress in technology has generated new forms and ideas for this story. Starting from the simple drawings where characters were depicted manually to the complex 3D computer-created graphics, animation has been able to progress in terms of creativity in films, television shows, and other social networking sites.

Here, we will discuss six primary animation genres and discuss the specific work of each of them, as well as their distinctive style and approach to creating animated content. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the various techniques used in animation can assist in developing new ideas or can be enlightening to the viewer and fan of animation.

Top 6 Types of Animation

1. Traditional Hand-Drawn Animation

For a long time before computer-animated films started filling the theaters, cartoons and animated movies were drawn by artists who had to draw each frame individually. This traditional method was used to make the characters magical, people recognized them such as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and Snow White.

It includes sketching each frame on its own and then when the series of frames is played back quickly, this gives the appearance of motion. Backgrounds and the static object are redrawn only when necessary to avoid a lot of drawing per frame. The number of frames and drawings is determined by the appropriate smoothness of the motion and its complexity. Recycling backgrounds were used in some cases, however, even such productions of 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs called for drawing over 2 million.

Being very creative and labor-intensive, it laid the foundation for the iconic Disney imagery and its films’ characters and songs, as well as their powerful emotional appeal. Modern films like The Princess and the Frog (2009) and The SpongeBob Movie: One of the examples of animated TV shows that continue to stay consistent with hand-drawn animation techniques is Sponge on the Run (2020). Its style is warm and organic, which has become synonymous with this pioneer of animation.

2. Stop Motion Animation

Before CGI, which created images with a computer, stop motion animation used physical models and photography to build imagery in a deliberate frame-by-frame manner. This technique was first used in films such as The Lost World (1925) and involves placing an articulated model or a clay figure in an environment and taking a photograph of it. The model is then slightly shifted to pose for another frame as it takes the position for the new image.

Static pictures when played in succession are different and are taken as fluid animations by the brain. Some of the earliest examples of this technique can be seen in famous films such as the 1933 Kong King which employed stop-motion with intricate monster models to create effects. While frame rates do differ significantly on average, their requirements depend on a certain degree of motion. Intense drama and action may require 24 frames per second whereas simple gestures can use as low as 5 frames per second.

From Jason and Argonaut's Skeleton fight scene by Ray Harryhausen to the present-day Wallace and Gromit series by Aardman Studio, stop motion animation gives motion that is not only staggered and smooth but unique with all the flaws and kind of dreamlike quality. Contemporary adaptations use digital cameras and computer programs in various aspects but keep detailed model movements. It may seem that nowadays only Laika Studios continues the tradition of stop motion in films that are Coraline, ParaNorman, and Kubo and the Two Strings.

3. Rotoscoping Animation

Rotoscoping places animated graphic images on the actual film sequences to achieve smooth and smooth motion. It is used as a guide to filming and recording real-life events with artists manually drawing characters and effects within the motion picture. Leaning from the movies of the early twentieth century, this technique incorporates aspects of emotion and cinematography of a movie with the flexibility and control of an illustration.

When animating Snow White for singing and the Seven Dwarfs winking, Disney incorporated rotoscoping in the early works. Disney used a live-action reference of Marge Champion to animate Snow White, by tracing the outlines of the actress. With the technological progress of cameras and other post-production tools and effects, rotoscopes faded away from most of the major productions. However, artists have used this style recently on purpose to create a surrealist dream-like feel in artworks that are incorporated into other forms.

The 2018 Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Spiderverse is perhaps one of the most successful uses of rotoscoping in recent works where action painting techniques are overlaid over computer-generated animation. Those include game, anime, and indie film creators who also use the technique. If applied or employed either as an exposure or creatively then, rotoscoping the propaganda fluid animates with human energy.

4. 2D Computer Animation

When software was developed in the 1990s, animators as a whole migrated to illustrating and animating characters on computer workstations. Newer technologies of vector and raster graphics such as Adobe Flash, Toon Boom Harmony, and TVPaint Animation allowed for clean-looking digital cartoons with things like the ability to quickly change colors and sharpness not possible in cel animation.

Remarkable productions like Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, Cow & Chicken, and Ed, Edd, and Eddy benefited from new digital technologies in terms of creative exploration and production management. Some of the benefits were also such features as keyframe editing, using templates for cameras, fills, and gradients, and working with global color transformations. The uses of digital drawing tablets to frame, sketch and ink are more natural and precise than traditional paper works.

Some people believe that today’s 2D digital animation lacks emotion, coarser appearance, and flaws that come with the process. But to be able to transform the limitations of digital art into wonderful works of art that include fluid motion, clear visuals, and stylized graphics which are not achievable in the physical world, competent artists can make this come true. Series like Primal on Adult Swim and Castlevania on Netflix faithfully blends vibrant and opulent backgrounds with heavy dramatics that were previously unfeasible in traditional 2D animated projects. Digital drawing is still improving and the process is close to having the tactile feel of the traditional media.

5. 3D Computer Animation

Whereas 2D vector tools simply made the job a bit more precise, 3D animation programs changed the entire workflow from the mid-1990s onwards. They design avatars that have an IC structure in the form of a skeleton that supports the character’s movement and the visualization of animation. It involves working on models using software such as Autodesk Maya, Cinema4D, and Blender to bend models, build scenes, tweak lights, and introduce physics to make the clip as realistic as possible.

The first Pixar feature film Toy Story, released in 1995, instantly drew the audience’s recognition as it offered CGI animation that resembled human characters. The touchup procedure carried out through the use of the computer further enhances the depth, texture, warmth, and individuality of the models. Besides, the contemporary techniques of work also include the motion capture of live actors and the use of deep learning for faster and more realistic production.

Through feature films that many people have grown to love, video games, and animated series, commercials, and much more in large render farms, 3D animation is the reigning monarch of today’s animation world. Examples such as Frozen, Zootopia, Moana, Encanto, etc., which are some of the best films of recent years, demonstrate how, with the help of CGI, it is possible to achieve stylistic variability and cinematic scope that cannot be achieved with more traditional methods. That said, it is reasonable to anticipate that hand-drawn 2D animation for digital production to reemerge due to its economical and aesthetic benefits.

6. Experimental Animation

Experimental animators never cease to go to the limits because breaking new grounds for artistic freedom is what the avant-garde is all about, they focus more on the mood, the concept of the images, and the artistry of the animation rather than the literal and physical storyline. Since there are no restrictive commercial concerns, avant-garde filmmakers employ paint on glass, dynamic modeling, optic tricks, live-action and animated segments combined with collages, cut-outs, and much more.

Precursory of many different methods, Oskar Fischinger made multiple exposure light paintings and synchronized graphic figures with musical notes in German abstract films of 1920-1930. Originally premiered in 1940, “Night on Bald Mountain” concludes Fantasia is considered one of the most significant experiments in film history The darkness of charcoal-drawn demons wraps the viewer’s impressions around Mussorgsky’s music.

Renowned animator John Canemaker once commented, “The very nature of animation puts one automatically into the realm of experimentalism and abstraction.” With the help of technology, one can introduce avant-garde experimental techniques in painting illustrated in the VR painting simulation and the constantly developing algorithmic software giving numerous opportunities for variations. Mainstream animated features are also known to include well-executed identity experimental sequences contributing towards the advancement of this animation genre.

Animation: An Ever-Evolving Artform

From mere drawings on paper to the arrays of vertices in 3D animation, this is an industry that is rapidly growing in terms of technology and art. What took hours of painstaking work with pencils and balsa wood, are now instantly created by new generative algorithms, real-time rendering, exponential content complexity, and quantity. However, none of them match the animation and flexibility achievable with a tight keyframe illustrator.

Yet, the live/live-action hand is, and will always be, the soul of animation. Let’s just compare, for instance, the looks of CGI Disney and CGI Pixar movies which should both belong to the same genre or category. At last, animation types function as tools that accommodate creativity in skilled hands, and are like building blocks to give life to fantastical worlds where the story is the cornerstone. It cannot be awaited to see further advancement in this field which has not been seen yet.