• Ruchi Hendre

Introduction to Types of Animations.

Updated: May 28, 2020

Today, we learnt about the history of animations and the types of animation.

Animation is a very old art with its roots found even among early human depictions of movement in objects. Then there was shadow play and puppetry which was used to tell stories. Flip book is an example of animation before films.

Follow this link to look at a shadowgraph example :

Traditional animation is basically each frame drawn and painted by hand. But in today's scenario computer animation is mostly animation with a three dimensional appearance.


1. Keyframing

Keyframing is a drawing that defined the starting and ending points of any smooth transition. The frames are the positions in time on a strip of a film/video.

Software’s such as Maya, After Effects (2D), and Blender provide an interface to keyframe a model/character. This animation is then baked and exported.

When we think of animation, we think of movement in a body, but the attached assets say hair, cloth, fur are also rigged( process of adding a skeleton to a 3d model) and animated so that the movement looks more natural.

2. Stop Motion Animation

Stop Motion Animation is a form of animation where each key frame is photographed and the movement is captured through physically moving the elements in the frame.

Shaun the Sheep is an example of stop motion animation.

3. Procedural Animation

In procedural animation movements with less number of actors is filmed in a green screen room, these are then applied to large assets. For example while filming a war scene or crowds.

4. Physics Based Simulation

This type of animation aims for a very realistic simulation of a 3D asset. This deals with deformable objects, coupling. It involves writing a simulation algorithm and applying it to the objects.

5. Data Driven Animation

In this type of animation the performance of an actor is captured using motion capture technology. There are ways of capturing facial expressions of an actor as well. The Avatar movie made a strong case for motion capture and data driven Animation.

My next blog will focus solely on motion capture, as we have a visit planned to the Carnegie Mellon Motion Capture Lab next week. Thank you for reading my first blog!

​-Ruchi Hendre

Graduate Student at Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Mellon University

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