Animation is a captivating and diverse world, allowing creators to give life to stories and characters in ways that engage audiences like never before. From traditional hand-drawn techniques to cutting-edge computer-generated imagery (CGI), the art of animation has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

In this blog post, we will explore the fundamentals of animation, delve into various types and styles, and offer tips for beginners wanting to embark on their own animated journey.

Unleash your creativity as you learn how to animate by discovering essential tools, software options, and professional insights along the way – perfect for business owners looking to enhance their visual marketing efforts.

Key Takeaways

  • Animation is the process of creating moving images by manipulating figures and can be done through different types such as traditional animation, stop motion or computer-based animation.
  • The 12 Principles of Animation provide a theoretical foundation for all types of animation and are widely used to bring characters to life with dynamic movements that engage audiences better.
  • Traditional animation techniques involve drawing each frame by hand while computer-based animation software is a valuable tool for creating engaging animations and cartoons. Procreate offers plenty of resources and tutorials to help you develop your skills quickly and easily. There are also various apps available for beginners interested in exploring animation.
  • To create an animated project, plan your storyboard, create your workspace, build a framework, draw static images before refining through playback; finally add textures, colours and sound effects.
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Animation Basics

Animation is the process of creating moving images by manipulating figures, and it can be done through different types such as traditional animation, stop motion, or computer-based animation.

What Is Animation?

Animation is a captivating and versatile medium that brings static images to life through the illusion of motion. It’s an art form that has evolved significantly over the years, finding its place in various industries such as entertainment, advertising and even education.

For instance, businesses can utilise animation in their marketing strategies to produce attention-grabbing adverts that showcase their products or services in an engaging manner.

In addition to this, animations can be used internally for training purposes or simulations where complex procedures need to be simplified visually.

Different Types Of Animation

There are various animation styles that business owners can utilise in their marketing efforts or corporate presentations to make a strong impact on the audience. The different types of animation include:

  1. Traditional Animation: Also called cel animation, this method involves creating individual frames by hand, often used in classic cartoons and feature films.
  2. 2D Animation: Utilising computer software to create two-dimensional animated characters and scenes, giving a flat look that can be simple or richly detailed.
  3. 3D Animation: Employing advanced computer programmes to develop lifelike three-dimensional models and environments, widely used in movies, video games, and commercials.
  4. Stop Motion Animation: Creating the illusion of movement by capturing one frame at a time with photographs of objects being moved incrementally between shots; popular techniques include claymation and puppetry.
  5. Motion Graphics: Combining digital animations with other multimedia elements like text, images, and video to convey information dynamically; commonly seen in advertising campaigns, explainer videos, and title sequences for film and TV shows.

Considering each technique’s unique characteristics can help business owners determine which style will best suit their specific needs while also keeping the target audience engaged.

Developing Basic Skills

Developing fundamental animation skills is crucial when starting your journey as a beginner animator. As a business owner, it’s essential to understand the range of areas that these skills cover, including artistic, technical, and people-oriented abilities.

One recommended exercise to learn the core foundation of animation is animating a bouncing ball which teaches you about spacing, timing and easing in/out techniques.

Additionally, invest time in getting acquainted with relevant software like Adobe Animate or Blender for 2D/3D animations. You’ll also benefit from studying successful animated works by industry leaders like Pixar and Disney to gain inspiration and insight into effective storytelling through motion graphics.

Finally, consider attending online courses or workshops led by experienced animators who can provide valuable feedback on your progress and practical ways to hone your craft further.

The 12 Principles Of Animation

Disney animators in the 1930s created “The 12 Principles of Animation” to produce more realistic animation. These principles consist of:

  1. Squash and Stretch, which gives animated characters a sense of weight and mass.
  2. Anticipation, which sets up an action before it takes place.
  3. Staging, which directs the audience’s attention to the most important elements in a scene.
  4. Straight-ahead action and pose-to-pose, two methods for creating movement in animations.
  5. Follow through and overlapping action, which create more natural movements by allowing different parts of a character’s body to move independently.
  6. Slow in and slow out, which creates a smoother animation by starting and ending actions gradually.
  7. Timing and Spacing, which dictate the speed at which an object moves through its environment.
  8. Ease In and Ease Out, which gradually change the acceleration or deceleration of an object’s movement.
  9. Arcs, which give movements a more natural flow by following a curved path instead of a straight line.
  10. Exaggeration, used to increase the impact of certain actions or emotions in animations.

These principles are widely used as a theoretical foundation for all types of animation today and taught to new animators to help bring their characters to life with dynamic movements that engage audiences better.

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Tools And Techniques For Animation

Discover the traditional and modern animation tools and techniques used by professionals, including computer-based software, Procreate tutorials, animation apps for beginners and more.

Traditional Animation Techniques

Traditional animation is an approach that involves drawing each frame by hand. It is still used today, despite the availability of digital tools and techniques. Animators who use traditional animation techniques require pencils and other drawing tools to create their animations. Here are some of the key features of traditional animation:

  • Pencil Tests: Animators work on a lightbox to test the movement by flipping through the drawings one at a time.
  • Keyframes: Keyframes are used to mark out the important points in an animation’s movement, which can be refined later.
  • Inbetweening: Once the keyframes are marked out, animators create additional frames that connect them to create smooth movements.
  • Trace and Paint: Once all frames have been drawn, they need to be traced onto transparent sheets called cels (short for celluloid). Each cel then needs to be painted with appropriate colours using gouache or acrylic paint.
  • Compositing: Finally, all cels are photographed together in order and combined into a single sequence for playback.

Traditional animation is a fascinating approach for those who appreciate the art of drawing. It provides a tactile experience that cannot be replicated with digital technologies alone.

Computer-based Animation Software

Computer-based animation software is a valuable tool for creating engaging animations and cartoons. It allows digital artists to bring their creations to life with various tools and techniques.

Here are some key points about computer-based animation software that business owners should know:

  • There are different types of animation software available, including 2D and 3D animation software.
  • Two-dimensional (2D) animation software is traditionally used for creating cartoons and animated films, while three-dimensional (3D) animation software is ideal for creating more complicated animations.
  • The most popular 3D modeling software among animators is Maya, which offers a wide range of tools to create realistic objects and characters.
  • Other popular 2D animation programs include Adobe Animate, Toon Boom Harmony, and TVPaint Animation.
  • Computer – generated animation is based on the procedural method, where animators use set rules to animate objects using keyframes and interpolation curves.
  • To be successful in digital animation, animators must have an understanding of movement and composition along with the technical skills required to operate the software effectively.
  • Using computer-based animation software enables animators to create high-quality work efficiently. However, it’s also important to note that digital animation requires time, effort, and skill just like any other creative endeavor.

Overall, computer-based animation software can give businesses a dynamic way to communicate their message or tell their story visually. With many options available for both 2D and 3D animations, it’s worth exploring how this technology can benefit your brand.

Animation Apps And Effects For Beginners

As a business owner, you can easily create eye-catching animations with the right tools. Here are some animation apps and effects for beginners:

  1. Adobe Animate – This software is perfect for creating interactive 2D animations using a range of built-in drawing and animation tools.
  2. Procreate – This app is popular among artists for its powerful drawing capabilities, but it also has features that allow users to create frame-by-frame animation.
  3. FlipaClip – Ideal for those just starting with animation, this app allows users to draw frame-by-frame animations using a range of brushes and colors.
  4. Stop Motion Studio – For those interested in stop-motion animation, this app provides an easy-to-use interface for creating short films using photos or videos.
  5. Boomerang – This app lets you create quick looping animations that can be shared on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
  6. Lottie – A library of pre – built animations that can be easily integrated into your website or mobile app.

By exploring these animation apps and effects, you’ll have plenty of options to bring your ideas to life without the need for extensive technical knowledge.

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How To Create An Animation

Plan your storyboard, create your workspace, build a framework and draw static images before refining through playback; finally add textures, colours and sound effects.

Planning Your Storyboard

Before diving into creating an animation, it’s essential to plan your storyboard. This will serve as your blueprint for the entire production process and guide you on what shots and scenes need to be created.

Storyboarding is where you draw out key moments of your animation in rough sketches, allowing you to visualize how the story will play out.

You can also use this step to establish any camera angles, lighting effects or sound effects that may need to be incorporated into the final product.

Once you’ve established a solid storyboard, it serves as a roadmap for the rest of your project. A well-planned storyboard ensures that every member of the team involved in producing the animation understands what they need to do and when they need to do it.

Creating Your Workspace

Creating a workspace that suits your style and preferences is an essential step when animating. It can be as simple as setting up your computer and gathering the necessary tools or investing in a professional setup.

Regardless of your method, having an organized workspace will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the animation process. For instance, if you are working digitally, a good quality drawing tablet is crucial to ensure precise control over your lines and movements.

Additionally, using appropriate animation software can streamline the process by offering pre-built templates or allowing for custom animations tailored to the presentation’s needs.

Related search terms: best animation hardware for beginners

Building Your Framework

To create a successful animation, you need to develop a detailed plan and build a solid framework. This involves establishing the key components of your animation, such as the characters, settings, and props.

You’ll then need to break down each component into smaller parts so that you can animate them separately.

Once your framework is complete, it’s time to start drawing static images that will form the basis of your animations. These still images serve as reference points for adding motion later on in the process.

Remember that refining each frame takes time and patience – even small adjustments can make a big difference in conveying emotion or movement effectively.

Drawing Your Static Images

Once you have built your framework, it’s time to start drawing static images for your animation. This step involves creating individual pictures that make up the motion in your animation.

An important aspect of this stage is capturing fluid and precise movements with each frame while ensuring consistency throughout the entire sequence.

A common technique used in animation is keyframing where essential poses are drawn first before filling in the details between them, creating a smoother transition from one pose to another.

The 12 Principles of Animation come into play at this stage where animators must pay attention to timing, spacing, and basic physics principles like weight distribution when crafting their animations.

Playback And Refinement

After you’ve created your animation, the next step is playback and refinement. Playback allows you to preview your animation and spot any errors or areas that need refining.

Refinement involves making small tweaks and edits to improve the overall quality of your animations.

Remember that refining an animation is often a process of trial and error.

For example, if you’re animating a character walking across a room, playback may reveal jerky movements that aren’t realistic.

Adding Textures, Colours, And Sound Effects

Adding textures, colours, and sound effects is a crucial step in the animation process. Textures provide depth and detail to objects, while colours give them personality and character. Sound effects add audio dimension to animations for improved enjoyment by viewers.

For example, if you’re creating an animated explainer video for your business’s product or service, adding textures and colours can make it more interesting and visually appealing to your audience.

When done right, adding these elements can elevate the quality of an animation and make it stand out from others in today’s competitive market. As such a career in animation involves bringing life into characters or products using visual images combined with special effects which cannot only be fascinating as well as rewarding but also allow brands/businesses to attract audiences while driving sales growth at scale.”

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2D Animation And 3D Animation: Similarities And Differences

2D animation is the process of creating movement in a two-dimensional space, while 3D animation involves creating movement in three-dimensional digital spaces.

2D Animation: Basic Concepts And Processes

2D animation is a traditional method of creating animations using two-dimensional graphics. It involves drawing each frame by hand and then synchronizing those frames to create motion.

The basic concepts of 2D animation include timing, spacing, and anticipation. Timing refers to the number of frames used for an action, while spacing refers to the distance covered by an object between each frame.

One example of 2D animation that many people are familiar with is Disney’s classic films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Beauty and the Beast. However, there are many modern applications for 2D animation as well, from explainer videos on websites to animated advertisements on social media platforms.

3D Animation: Understanding The Fundamentals

3D animation involves creating lifelike characters, objects and environments that can be manipulated in a three-dimensional space. It’s the backbone of many animated films, video games and advertisements today.

To get started with 3D animation, you need specialized software such as Maya or Blender which require more powerful hardware than basic 2D software. Once you have acquired these tools, the process starts with modelling the character or object by building its structure using digital polygons.

After modelling comes texturing where artists paint over models to add colours and other surface characteristics like texture. Rigging follows next where joints are added to parts of the model so they can be articulated properly when being moved around.

The animator then creates keyframes for movements in a timeline before manipulating them into position using an armature grid which helps determine how characters move within their environment.

Computer Animation: Tools And Techniques

In modern times, most animations are done with the help of computer software. Here are some essential tools and techniques for computer animation that business owners should be aware of:

  1. Traditional animation techniques – Traditional cell animation techniques can be used in computer animation as well. This technique involves drawing each frame of the animation by hand.
  2. Computer-based animation software – There are several professional-grade software options available for computer-based animation such as Maya, Adobe Animate, Blender and Houdini which allow animators to create complex visuals with ease.
  3. Procreate Animation Tutorial – Procreate is an app that allows artists to use a tablet and stylus to draw directly onto their device’s screen, similar to traditional drawing tools.
  4. Animation apps and effects for beginners – Several beginner-friendly apps exist such as FlipaClip, Toontastic 3D or Animatic which offer simple interfaces suitable to learn basic skills.

If you’re considering animating a logo or creating an explainer video for your business, knowing these tools and techniques could help you make informed decisions about what kind of animation will work best for your specific needs.

Exploring Different Types Of Animation

There are various types of animation available today, and exploring them can expand your understanding of this art form. Some of the most popular forms of animation include:

  1. Motion Graphics: This type of animation is used for creating advertisements, presentations, and other marketing materials. It involves the use of text, images, and graphics to tell a story or convey a message.
  2. Illustration: This type of animation uses drawings and sketches to bring characters and scenes to life. Many animated movies and TV shows use illustration as their primary animation style.
  3. Stop Motion Animation: This type of animation involves taking still images of an object or character in different positions and then putting them together to create the illusion of movement.
  4. Traditional Animation: This type of animation involves hand-drawing each frame on paper before putting them together to create a moving image.
  5. Computer Animation: This type of animation uses software like Maya or Blender to build digital 2D or 3D models that can be animated on a computer screen.

Knowing the different types of animation can help you decide which style is best for your business needs. For example, if you’re looking for a short marketing video, motion graphics may be the way to go. Alternatively, if you’re creating an animated film or TV show, traditional or computer-based animations may be more appropriate.

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Motion Graphics Vs. Traditional Animation: What’s The Difference?

Motion graphics and traditional animation are two distinct forms of moving imagery.

One major difference between the two is that motion graphics generally stay closer to a 2D plane while traditional animation can involve more depth with the integration of foregrounds and backgrounds.

Another key difference is that motion graphics tend to have greater emphasis on typography and simpler character designs, while traditional animation may require more detailed artwork for each individual frame.

Becoming A Professional Animator: Skills And Career Paths

To become a professional animator, you need to develop animation skills and understand different career paths available within the industry. Whether you prefer hand-drawn or digital animation, there are plenty of opportunities in film, television, game studios, and more.

Hand-Drawn Vs. Digital Animation: Which One To Choose?

When it comes to animation, there are two primary techniques—hand-drawn and digital. The preference between the two depends entirely on your style of animation, resources available, and personal interest.

Hand-drawn animators typically prefer using pencils or markers to create their designs by hand before scanning them onto a computer for further processing. In contrast, digital animators rely on computer software such as Adobe Flash or ToonBoom Harmony to create animations from scratch.

Opting for hand-drawn vs. digital animation is a decision that should be based on various factors like the budget, time constraints, complexity expected in the project process, among others.

In that case, Digital Animation creation might be the best option for you because it doesn’t require expensive hardware like drawing tablets which can consume much time configuring settings and making sure they work correctly when compared to digitizing traditional drawings into multiple frames manually.

Animating A Bouncing Ball: A Simple But Effective Exercise

Mastering the bouncing ball exercise is a crucial step for becoming a professional animator, and it’s a classic exercise that every aspiring animator learns.

It’s effective because it covers all the animation principles required to create believable motion in animations. The technique involves creating an animated sequence of a simple ball bouncing, which may sound basic but can be much more difficult than it first appears.

Animators must understand the basic principles of animation related to the bouncing ball, such as weight and gravityspacing and timing of keyframes – which determine how fast or slow an object moves on screen- to achieve realistic movement.

Understanding these fundamental concepts helps business owners involved in animation projects communicate effectively with their animators about what they want to achieve visually within specific timeframes while meeting budget considerations.

Exploring Different Animation Styles And Techniques

As a business owner, understanding different animation styles and techniques can help you communicate your brand message more effectively. Here are some of the most popular animation styles and techniques you should know:

  1. Hand-drawn Animation: This is a traditional animation technique that involves creating each frame by hand.
  2. 2D Animation: Two-dimensional animation involves creating flat images that are moved around in a two-dimensional space.
  3. 3D Animation: Three-dimensional animation creates lifelike characters and objects using computer-generated imagery (CGI).
  4. Stop Motion Animation: This technique involves moving objects or characters one frame at a time to create the illusion of motion.
  5. Motion Graphics: This style combines graphic design with animation to create informative visual content such as explainer videos and infographics.
  6. Computer Animation: Computer animation uses software programs such as Maya and Blender to create animations with advanced graphics and effects.

By exploring these different styles and techniques, you can decide which approach works best for your brand message and marketing goals. Additionally, understanding the different types of animation available will also help you choose the right animator or animation studio for your project.

Understanding Animation Curves And Timing

To create believable movement, an animator must understand the principles of timing and spacing. Timing is used to create movement that follows the laws of physics, while spacing determines how far something moves from one frame to another.

For example, if you’re animating a bouncing ball, you would want it to accelerate as it falls and decelerate as it reaches the top of each bounce.

Animation curves allow animators to control how objects move over time by manipulating keyframes on a graph. These graphs display changes in values like position or rotation plotted against time in frames or seconds.

Creating A Demo Reel: Dos And Don’ts For Animators

Crafting an impressive demo reel is critical to an animator’s success. Here are some essential dos and don’ts for creating a demo reel that can secure a job:

  1. DO keep it short and sweet. The ideal length of a demo reel is 60 – 90 seconds at most.
  2. DON’T overload your demo reel with too much content. Only showcase your best and most recent work.
  3. DO focus on the quality of your animation, not just quantity.
  4. DON’T use copyrighted characters or music without permission.
  5. DO include a variety of styles and techniques to showcase your versatility.
  6. DON’T include unfinished or low – quality work in your demo reel.
  7. DO tailor your demo reel to the specific job you are applying for by showcasing relevant skills and styles.
  8. DON’T forget to include your contact information so potential employers can reach out to you easily.
  9. DO seek feedback from colleagues, mentors, or friends with an artistic eye to improve your demo reel before submitting it.
  10. DON’T ignore the importance of a strong portfolio in addition to your demo reel as it can help highlight other creative skills outside of animation.

Remember that creating an effective demo reel takes time and effort but can significantly increase the chance of landing an interview with someone who can hire you in the animation industry.

Tips For Successful Animating

Practice and patience are key to successful animating. Collaborating with other animators can also help you grow your skills, while paying attention to detail and maintaining an efficient workflow will ensure that your animations come out as you envisioned.

Practice And Patience

Practice and patience are key to becoming a successful animator. It takes time, effort, and dedication to hone your skills and create high-quality animations.

Whether you’re using traditional techniques or computer-based software, it’s important to practice regularly to improve your craft.

Patience is also crucial when it comes to animation. Creating even a few seconds of animated footage can take hours or even days depending on the complexity of the project.

It’s important not to rush the process or get discouraged if things don’t turn out as expected at first.

Collaboration With Other Animators

Effective collaboration is a significant aspect of successful animation projects. Animation involves working in teams, and it is crucial to practice being a good group member and managing feedback.

Interpersonal skills are essential for animators to work together and communicate effectively.with their team members.

Collaboration not only applies within the animation team but also with clients or stakeholders.involved in the production process. Effective communication helps reduce misunderstandings that can derail projects and save time. For instance, editors oversee the incorporation of audio into animated productions; they also collaborate with sound designers & music editors who enhance visual content by adding sounds that can impact emotional response of viewers.

Attention To Detail

Meticulous attention to detail is critical for successful professional animation. Taking the time to perfect the finer points of your work can elevate it from average to exceptional.

A good animator should have excellent attention to detail, as mimicking real-life details is essential in creating believable characters and environments.

Additionally, understanding animation principles such as timing and spacing, squash and stretch, anticipation, and follow-through requires a keen eye for detail.

It’s important not only to create visually appealing animations but also ensure that every piece of a project works towards a common goal.

Efficient Workflow

As a business owner looking to create animations, it’s important to have an efficient workflow in place. Time management is crucial for animators, and planning out your workflow can help you manage time effectively.

One tip is to identify what works and what doesn’t in your current workflow process. This could include using software or hardware tools that save time, such as drawing tablets or motion capture technology.

Additionally, collaborating with other animators can help you learn new skills and approaches that will speed up your work while maintaining high quality standards.

Learning And Inspiration Resources

As a business owner interested in animation, you may be wondering how to find resources that will help you learn and stay inspired. Here are some valuable learning and inspiration resources:

  1. Online courses – There are numerous online courses available for learning animation, both free and paid. Platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare offer courses on various animation topics, from basic principles to advanced techniques.
  2. Animation communities – Joining an animation community can provide you with inspiration and feedback from other animators. Websites like Animator Island or Creative Bloq host forums where animators can share their work and get critiques.
  3. Art blogs – Many artists maintain blogs where they discuss their creative process, share tutorials or insights into the industry. Following these blogs can give you a better understanding of animation as an art form.
  4. Animation festivals – Attending an animation festival is an excellent opportunity to see groundbreaking work from animators worldwide, meet industry professionals and attend workshops.
  5. Industry publications – Subscribing to industry publications like Animation World Network or 3D Artist Magazine can keep you up-to-date on the latest trends, software updates, and career opportunities in the field.


Animating can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, anyone can learn how to bring still images to life. Whether you’re interested in hand-drawn or computer-based animation, there are plenty of resources available for beginners.

By mastering the basics and practicing regularly, you can develop the skills needed to pursue a career in animation or simply create your own projects. Remember to take advantage of collaboration and inspiration resources along the way.


Q: What is animation?

A: Animation is the process of creating motion and movement in images, usually with the use of software or by hand drawing.

Q: What are the different types of animation?

A: The different types of animation include 2D animation, 3D animation, stop motion animation, traditional animation, and motion graphics.

Q: What animation software is good for beginners?

A: Some good animation software for beginners include Maya, Adobe Animate, Toon Boom, and Synfig Studio.

Q: Can I learn animation without any prior knowledge?

A: Yes, anyone can learn animation even without any prior knowledge or experience. There are many resources such as animation courses and tutorials available to help beginners learn the basics of animation.

Q: What hardware do I need for animation?

A: Depending on the type of animation you want to create, you may need a drawing tablet, a powerful computer, or stop motion puppet materials.

Q: What is the process of animation?

A: The process of animation involves planning, storyboarding, creating key frames, adding in-between frames, refining animation, and rendering the final animation.

Q: What are the 12 principles of animation?

A: The 12 principles of animation are a set of guidelines developed by Disney animators for creating believable and engaging animations. The principles include squash and stretch, anticipation, staging, timing, and more.

Q: What animation software is free?

A: Some free animation software options include Blender, Pencil2D, and Krita.

Q: Can I become an animator as a career?

A: Yes, becoming an animator can be a fulfilling career in the animation industry. Many professional animators and studios look for talented people to hire and work with.

Q: Do I need to know how to draw to animate?

A: While knowing how to draw can be helpful in animation, it is not a necessary skill. Many animators use 3D software or stop motion puppets instead of hand drawing.

This article was written by Creative Island's founder Filipe Bastos. Beyond being the owner of the studio, Filipe has a background in philosophy and psychology, and loves reading and writing about anything related to human nature. He brings his unique perspective and insights to the work he does, including creating engaging and effective animated explainer videos for startups and small businesses.

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