What Is Animation?

Animation | 30th August 2021 | Virtual Wire


Source- apple.com

Who doesn’t love a good animated movie? But, have you ever wondered what animation actually is, and how it is different from normal films? If you have, then this article is for you.

The word “Animate” comes from the word animate (Latin), which literally means “to make an object alive”. With the help of an animation, we can make our wildest dreams come true. Animation gives us the ability to completely reimagine the world with our creativity.

We can take drawings, puppets, clay models, and other forms, and make them look so realistic, that it seems like they are actually alive. With the help of an animation, possibilities are limitless, if your work is true to itself, people will believe in your wildest, wackiest fantasies.

Animation is very visual, more visual than most films. What you need to keep in mind is that, while writing, one should always keep unfolding the movie in your head. Visualize your story to the best, and make sure that all the characters are lively and interesting. Your imagination should be so visual that you blur the line between reality and fantasy; this way audiences will be more invested in the story.


The more visual your work is, the more believable and interesting it becomes. Use visual comedy to make your story more interesting. One of the best examples of visual comedy is Classic Charlie Chaplin. The majority of all cartoon writers are also artists, and they begin thinking about the characters by drawing them, not by writing about them.

For any animation to be good, it has to be visual. Even though Hanna- Barbera Productions was remembered for its limited animation, Joe Barbera often told his artists that if he saw six frames of the audience storyboard and the characters were still talking, they were in big trouble.

In animation, Time and Space are very important. There is no obligation to play by the rules of physics. Your characters can walk in the air, jump off a building without getting hurt, get squished flat and still be perfectly fine in a second. Defying the laws of physics and making your character do crazy things never fails to get the audience rolling in their seats.

Picture- researchgate

In animation, it only takes a few frames for the audience to register information. We all know that timing is a very important aspect of comedy. The same goes for animation. In animation, everything moves really fast. This is why there are generally more pages in an animation script than compared to a live-action movie script for the same amount of time.

Animation is known for using extremes. Exaggeration is a huge part of what makes animation unique and far more visual than a typical film. Creators can test their comedy limits with animation. Jokes that look seemingly impossible for a live-action film can be executed easily in animation. Although with the help of modern-day special effects, live-action films are catching- up fast.


Now let’s talk about the animation process. This process begins with the appointed animator receiving the dialogue track of his section of the story, a storyboard or workbook that has been timed out, the model sheets, copies of the layouts, and X-sheets of the story.

The X- sheets come with boxes for animators to fill with details about the planning of the animation, layer by layer. Animation papers and the papers used by background artists to create the background are made with holes and pegs so that they can be easily lined up in the appropriate position for the camera shots. When we talk about animated feature films, before the actual animation procedure begins, there might be prior pencil tests to check the gags and the animation.

On the other hand, in Television and direct to video projects, the chief animators usually animate the major action scenes, before the remainder of the project is sent over to foreign animators to be completed overseas. Animators are sometimes appointed to animate certain character(s), other times they are hired to animate a particular scene or sequence.

Then comes the job of cleaning up the rough animation poses and scenes drawn by the animator and sketching out the major action scenes between the characters. This job is carried out by clean up artists or assistant animators.

If there are a few easier poses in the animation storyboard, it can be handed over to a breakdown artist or an inbetweener. After that, the visual effects animator creates the elements like fire, water, or other props required in a scene.

In a cheap production, poses are often held for more than a single frame. But, when we talk about an animated feature (with a proper budget), drawings are animated on ones and here, a single minute of the film may require over 1400 sketches. This should give an idea of how labour-intensive and time consuming the animation process actually is.

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