What is animation, really?

Basically, animation is anything that moves. It is the visual art of creating motion through the rapid, successive display of still images with slight changes in the positioning of the image, in order to create movement. The word animation derives from the Latin words anima meaning life, and animare meaning to breathe life into. Numerous techniques have been used throughout history to give the impression of moving pictures. Cave drawings depicted animals with their legs overlapping so that they appeared to be running. The properties of animation can be seen in Asian puppet shows, Greek bas-relief, Egyptian funeral paintings, medieval stained glass, and modern comic strips. In this day and age, we have the technology of computers to aid us in creating breath-taking animations.

Being an animator requires a lot of patience, as it is a time-consuming, tedious process. The most important raw material in creating an animation is the animators’ imagination; a number of resources are required to bring that imagination to life. When animation is used for films or movies, each frame is produced individually. Frames can be created using computers or photographs of images that are either drawn or painted. Altering a model unit in small ways and using a special camera to take pictures of the results can also generate frames. No matter what method is used, the resulting film or movie fools the eye into seeing unbroken movement.

Computer animation (or CGI) makes life alot easier. It is a much faster process, and with the increasing improvement of computer technology, animators are able to create life-like characters using their computers and animation software. There are tons of software options for one to choose from, for example Toonboom Animate Family, Autodesk Maya, 3D studio max, Adobe Flash etc etc…

Although computers are useful, you still need to be a skilled animator and understand the processes in order to create quality animations. It is the animators’ creative choices that breathe life into simple images.

(just for fun)


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5 Responses to What is animation, really?

  1. Nicky Albertyn says:

    Very interesting!!

  2. Stu says:

    But really, regardless of technique, is animation not a story telling medium?

    The way i think about it, animation is absolutely NOT just motion of objects. Of course, you have to understand, observe. All the time. But when someone is watching your character, they’re not thinking about the counteraction of his hips to his shoulders, the feeling of weight over his knees, they’re thinking of WHO he is and what he is trying to achieve, and if you’ve missed that, noone will connect with it.

    Except, maybe, other animators.

    Animation isn’t snappy graphics or themes, it’s using your knowledge of life to move an audience.

    • i most certainly agree! If your character does nothing for the audience its a major fail! I think you have to have the perfect balance, its not more of one than the other. You can’t just be super good at animating and expect people will fall in love with your character just because you are good at the using the programme. Your character might have absolutely no personality whatsoever.

  3. Stu says:

    Or your horrible animation may distract from your perfect characterisations 🙂

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