Animation is when you manipulate figures in a way that they appear to be moving or animated! Get it? Animated videos are an excellent way to make a lasting impression on viewers. They have a certain charm that you can’t find in live action – and the possibilities are endless! Almost.

There are a variety of animation styles and it’s important to know which one can tell your story in the best possible way. The ideal animation style for your video will be determined by what you want to accomplish with it. It’s also crucial to keep in mind that different animation styles have different cost and time requirements.

Here’s a quick brief of some of the most popular animation styles to help you understand your possibilities.

There are six types of animation styles in general:


1. 2D Animation:

Cell animation or traditional animation is the animation style that involves the animator hand-drawing each frame to create an animated scene. Phew! That sounds like a LOT of work. It’s frequently done on a light table, which allows the painters to see through the top layer of paper to the previous sketch. Disney introduced this style of animation into Hollywood in 1937 – we all remember the clip of Mickey Mouse whistling on a steamboat! Vector-based animations are called 2D animations. Because the technology is so accessible, this animation style is gaining popularity.  Think The Simpsons or Rick and Morty. Apart from being time consuming, 2D animation is both inexpensive and easily accessible!


2. Whiteboard Animation:

The process of using a whiteboard, or a whiteboard-like surface, and marker pens to physically sketch and record an illustrated story is known as whiteboard animation. The animations are frequently accompanied by narration. You’ve probably seen YouTubers use this style of animation while making “Draw my life” videos circa early 2000s.


3. Isometric Animation:

Isometric animation (AKA 2.5D, flat 3D, or illustrated 3D) is a two-dimensional approach of drawing or designing a three-dimensional object. Isometric animations work because they have shape, simplicity, and depth. They evoke the elegance of flat design, but with added depth and dimension, making each element more visually appealing and understandable to the user. These create a good balance between 2D and 3D animation. “Fantasy tactics”, “Civilization”, are examples of video games that use isometric animation. What they lack in perspective, they make up for in clarity.


4. 3D Animation:

The method of creating three-dimensional moving visuals in a digitalised environment is known as 3D Animation. Although 3D animation differs greatly from traditional animation, both require the artist to follow the same principles of movement and composition. 3D animation is more about moving a character in a computer than in a drawing. This is the most frequent and widely utilised animation style today, appearing in films, games, advertisements, architectural visualisation, medical simulations and other media. 3D animation and visual effects are the future. 3D animation looks pretty cool but have you ever sat through the credits of an animated film? They go on and on and on – because it takes that many people to execute excellent 3D.


5. Motion Graphics:

Motion graphics are different from the other types of animation on this list. Mostly because it is not based on a character or a story. It’s the skill of moving graphic components or text around creatively, mainly for commercial or promotional reasons. Both 2D and 3D motion graphics are possible. Most movie titles are motion graphics.


6. Stop Motion Animation:

It is a technique that brings motionless objects to life on screen by moving them little by little as you film one frame at a time. When all the frames are played in order, the object looks like it’s moving! To achieve stop motion animation a filmmaker physically moves an object while photographing each new position. Yes, it is painstaking. But also rewarding (if you’ve watched Kubo and the Two Strings, you’d know)! Stop-motion Animation has a distinct and timeless aesthetic. It has a handcrafted quality, with natural flaws that add to its uniqueness. It is distinguishable by the craftsmanship that goes into it, from the models and sets to the actual animating process. Remember Shaun the Sheep? Yup, stop motion animation!


So now that you’ve got the low down on the different animation styles – it’s a matter of picking which one fits your bill in terms of time, effort, money and of course, story telling capability.

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