What is Animation?
Animation is the process by which we see still pictures move.
Each picture is shot on film one at a time and is shown at a rate of 24 pictures per second making the pictures appear to move.
Why do we see these images as moving?
The reason our eyes are tricked into seeing movement can be explained by the ‘persistence of vision’ theory.
Our brain holds onto an image for a fraction of a second after the image has passed. If the eye sees a series of still images very quickly one picture after another, then the images will appear to move because our eyes cannot cope with fast-moving images. Our eyes have been tricked into thinking they have seen movement.
There are four basic techniques used in animation.
Drawn / Cell animation
This covers any form where one drawing is replaced by another in a
sequence. Each drawing is slightly different from the one before. It works
the way a flip book does. These animated films are made up of thousands
of drawings which are shown on screen very quickly one after the other.
This covers any form of animation where cut out shapes are moved
around or replaced by other cut-outs. Flat objects like buttons,
matchsticks and string can also be used in this form of animation. Cut-
outs can also be laid on top of drawings.
Model animation or stop motion animation
This involves the filming of puppets or any form of three-dimensional
models. The materials used could include plasticine, clay or wire. The
puppets are positioned and filmed before being moved ever so slightly and
filmed again. These shots are put together as a piece of film and will give
the impression of the models moving.
Computer animation or Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)
This refers to the drawing of three-dimensional models and sets on the
computer. Images can be scanned into the computer using digital
photography or made within the computer itself. The images begin as wire-
frame models and are gradually built up into a coloured and textured form
which will be recorded onto film.
Popular animation styles and techniques used today include:
• Traditional animation
• Stop-motion animation
• Computer generated 3D animation
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