Animation techniques

Creating an animated film requires time, patience and planning.

If you are approaching animation for the first time you will need to spend a lot of time learning and practising techniques.

There are five basic animation techniques.

Each of these has strengths and weaknesses, and all of them have a particular look.

Stop-motion

Illustration of stopmotion animationIn stop-motion animation the camera is pointed at a real-life object, usually a posable model or figure.

This is the simplest form of animation to grasp.

In order to create movement the posable model is moved bit by bit and with every movement of the model, or slight change in its position, another frame is taken by the camera.

When run together these frames create the illusion of continuous movement.

Advantages

Stop-motion animation is one of the easiest types to try if you are a beginner.

The process for creating and capturing movement is simple and the only equipment you need to begin with is a camera capable of taking still images and a posable figure.

Disdvantages

Like all forms of animation stop-motion can be very, very time-consuming.

In order to make a detailed stop motion animated film you may also need to make a large number of posable models, sets and props.

You also have to consider lighting and think about how your action will be lit.

Unlike live action film-making, you can't simply clear away your model and camera after filming ends for the day; they need to be carefully kept in the same position until filming resumes the following day.

Pixilation

Pixilation is a specialised type of stop-motion animation.

An illustration of a character in different poses.The animator, instead of using posable dolls, uses actual performers but adjusts their pose frame by frame as if they were models.

Advantages

This form removes the need to build or source complex posable models.

The effect of seeing humans move in such an unnatural way creates a surreal and often humourous effect.

Disadvantages

Just like live action film-making this style of animation needs willing human performers and their availability may make it harder to schedule and complete your work.

As with live action you will also have to consider issues such as lighting, costume and props.