Computer animation

Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. It is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in a number of ways. The most common method of presenting animation is as a motion picture or video program, although several other forms of presenting animation also exist. Computer animation encompasses a variety of techniques, the unifying idea being that the animation is created digitally on a computer.
2D animation
Figures are created and/or edited on the computer using 2D bitmap graphics or created and edited using 2D vector graphics. This includes automated computerized versions of traditional animation techniques such as of tweening, morphing, onion skinning and interpolated rotoscoping.
3D animation
Digital models manipulated by an animator. In order to manipulate a mesh, it is given a digital armature (sculpture). This process is called rigging. Various other techniques can be applied, such as mathematical functions (ex. gravity, particle simulations), simulated fur or hair, effects such as fire and water and the use of Motion capture to name but a few. Many 3D animations are very believable and are commonly use as special effects for recent movies.
Examples: The Incredibles, Shrek, Finding Nemo
3D animation Terms
• Cel-shaded animation
• Morph target animation
• Skeletal animation
• Motion capture
• Crowd simulation

Other techniques and approaches
• Character animation
• Chuckimation
• Multi-sketching
• Special effects animation

Some famous 3D Animation Software

3ds Max (Autodesk), originally called 3D Studio MAX. 3ds Max is used in many industries that utilize 3D graphics. It is used in the video game industry for developing models and creating cinema cut-scenes. It is used in architectural visualizations because it is highly compatible with AutoCAD--also developed by Autodesk. Additionally 3ds Max is used in film production, one contemporary film being Kaena: The Prophecy. it is one of the more expensive products in the market for this type of work. 3ds Max is available for Windows.

Maya (Autodesk) is currently used in the film and television industry. Maya has a high learning curve but has developed over the years into an application platform in and of itself though extendability via its MEL programming language. A common alternative to using the default built in rendering system named mental ray is Pixar's Renderman. In 2005, Autodesk (makers of AutoCAD), acquired Alias--the original creator of Maya.


Animation techniques (Traditional)

Animated works are usually created using one or more of a number of various techniques.
Traditional animation

(Also called cel animation) Traditional animation was the process used for most animated films of the 20th century. The individual frames of a traditionally animated film are photographs of drawings, which are first drawn on paper. To create the illusion of movement, each drawing differs slightly from the one before it. The animators' drawings are traced or photocopied onto transparent acetate sheets called cels, which are filled in with paints in assigned colors or tones on the side opposite the line drawings. The completed character cels are photographed one-by-one onto motion picture film against a painted background by a rostrum camera.
The traditional cel animation process became obsolete by the beginning of the 21st century. Today, animators' drawings and the backgrounds are either scanned into or drawn directly into a computer system. Various software programs are used to color the drawings and simulate camera movement and effects. The final animated piece is output to one of several delivery mediums, including traditional 35 mm film and newer media such as digital video. The "look" of traditional cel animation is still preserved, and the character animators' work has remained essentially the same over the past 70 years. Some animation producers have used the term "tradigital" to describe cel animation which makes extensive use of computer technology. Many early disney films used cel frame animation.
Stop motion

Stop-motion animation is used to describe animation created by physically manipulating real-world objects and photographing them one frame of film at a time to create the illusion of movement. There are many different types of stop-motion animation, usually named after the type of media used to create the animation.

Clay animation, often abbreviated as claymation, uses figures made of clay or a similar malleable material to create stop-motion animation. The figures may have an armature or wire frame inside of them, similar to the related puppet animation (below), that can be manipulated in order to pose the figures. Alternatively, the figures may be made entirely of clay, such as in the films of Bruce Bickford, where clay creatures morph into a variety of different shapes. Examples of clay-animated works include The Gumby Show (US, 1957-1967) Morph shorts (UK, 1977-2000), Wallace and Gromit shorts (UK, 1989-1995),
Cutout animation is a type of stop-motion animation produced by moving 2-dimensional pieces of material such as paper or cloth. Examples include Terry Gilliam's animated sequences from Monty Python's Flying Circus (UK, 1969-1974);
Graphic animation uses non-drawn flat visual graphic material (photographs, newspaper clippings, magazines, etc.) which are sometimes manipulated frame-by-frame to create movement. At other times, the graphics remain stationary, while the stop-motion camera is moved to create on-screen action.
o Model animation refers to stop-motion animation created to interact with and exist as a part of a live-action world. Intercutting, matte effects, and split screens are often employed to blend stop-motion characters or objects with live actors and settings. Object animation refers to the use of regular inanimate objects in stop-motion animation, as opposed to specially created items. One example of object animation is the brickfilm, which incorporates the use of plastic toy construction blocks such as LEGOs.
Pixilation involves the use of live humans as stop motion characters. This allows for a number of surreal effects, including disappearances and reappearances, allowing people to appear to slide across the ground, and other such effects. Examples of pixilation include Norman McLaren's Neighbours (Canada, 1952).
Puppet animation typically involves stop-motion puppet figures interacting with each other in a constructed environment, in contrast to the real-world interaction in model animation. The puppets generally have an armature inside of them to keep them still and steady as well as constraining them to move at particular joints.