What is Animation?

Animation is the process by which we see still picture move. Each picture is shot on film one at a time and is shown at the rate of 24 picture per second making the pictures appear to move.

Why do we see these image as moving? 

The reason our eyes are tricked into seeing movement can be explained by the ‘Persistence of Vision’ theory.

The persistence of vision theory:

Our brine holds onto  an image for 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.

The moving Hand Theory:

You can do this by waving your hand in front of your eyes very fast. You will seem to see several hands at once. Try doing this in front of a television screen when it is switched on. You will see even more images of your hand because the television is actually flickering. By waving your hand in front of it you make your eyes very confused about what they are actually seeing.

Basic techniques used in animation:

1. Drawn Animation.

2. Cutout Animation.

3. Model Animation.

4. Computer Animation.

5. Others.

Drawn Animation:


This covers any form where another replace one drawing 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 drawing which are shown on screen very quickly one after the other.

Cutout Animation:


This cover any form of animation where cutout shapes are moved around or replaced by other cutouts. Flat objects like buttons, matchsticks and string can also be used in this form of animation. Cutout can also be laid on top of drawings.

Model Animation:


This involves the filming of puppets or any form of three-dimensional models. The materials used could include plasticize, clay or wire-in fact anything that can be bent or formed into another shape. 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:


Animation has historically been produced in two ways. The first is by artists creating a succession of cartoon frames, which are then combined into film. A second method is by  using physical models,e.g. King Kong, which are positioned, the image recorded, then the model is moved, the next image is recorded, and this process is continued.

Using a rendering machine to produce successive frame where in some aspect of the image is varied can produce computer animation. For a simple animation this might be just moving the camera or the relative motion of rigid bodies in the scene. This is analogous to the second technique described above,i.e., using physical models. More sophisticated computer animation can move the camera and or the object in more interesting way,e.g. along computed curved paths, and can even use the laws of physics to determine the behavior of objects.

Animation is used in visualization to show the time dependent behavior of complex systems. A major part of animation is motion control  Early system did not have the computational power to allow for animation preview and interactive control. Also, many early animator were computer scientists rather than artists. Thus, scripting system were developed. These system were used as a computer high-level language where the animator wrote a script (program) to control the animation. Whereas a high level programming language allows for the definition of complex data types, the scripting language allowed for the definition of “actors”, object with their own animation rules.