In a nutshell what is animation?

Animation, at its heart, is the act of creating the illusion of movement through still images. There are many different types of animation which have been used in film and the media industry for a long time.

The first types of animation were created by hand. Every frame would be drawn and then put together on a timeline to create motion. Disney used hand drawn animation for many of their early films. Computer generated graphics, which is now the most common form of animation, are created as the name states within a computer.

A computer can create either 2D or 3D graphics, which are then processed to create an animated moving image. 3D is widely used in Hollywood films to create characters and objects that don’t exist, whilst 2D is used across the board in TV, advertising and film. Motion graphics are a type of 2D animation, where text and objects move around the screen.

Adverts and corporate films use this type of animation to display important information simply and effectively.

What Specialist equipment, expertise or processes are involved?

Depending on the type of animation, different types of equipment are needed. For 3D, a very powerful computer is needed as objects are made up of thousands of tiny polygons which the computer has to process in real time.

2D graphics still need a powerful computer, but not in the same league. Different software is also needed for both types of animation.  Hand drawn animation can either be created on a PC or on paper, which would then be scanned in and edited with a computer.

A great level of skill is needed with many years training required to produce something of high quality. Animation can also be a very long process because every frame of the film is being created by scratch. 2D animation is the quickest to produce, but it can still take a while to create the basic assets.

Why should I consider using animation in my video production?

A form of animation can be used in nearly any type of video production but isn’t always needed. Narrative film uses 3D to create objects and characters that cannot be used in real life, such as an alien or a mystical forest.

Corporate advertising can also use 3D to animate their product as it gives you the ability to be very creative. Most corporate videos use 2D animation because of its ability to show important information on screen with text or create fun motion with shapes, capturing the viewers’ attention.

When wouldn’t animation be ideal for my video production?

Animation works well in a variety of video formats work but it does take a lot of time to create. Therefore, if a production has a tight deadline then animation might not be ideal.

A good deal of planning is also needed before the animation is created because going back and changing things is also a very timely, costly process.

In Summary

Animation is a process that has been improved over the many years and its being used more and more in every type of video production. Programs like Adobe After Effects and Autodesk Maya have all made creating animation simpler due to easy access and usability.

Animation is definitely a tool that can enhance a video or even create a whole animated video but time constraints have to be considered in order for them to be utilised most effectively.