Animation is a form of entertainment that has been beloved for decades. From the time-consuming labors of love that were early cartoons to the present day YouTube uploads that can be completed and shared in the span of a few hours, animation has been a staple of popular culture for over 100 years and will most likely remain popular for a long time to come. Technology has greatly helped the animation process: cartoons from the 1920s (like Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Mickey”) had to be drawn by hand and took months of labor to produce a few minutes of footage. Today, animated films can be created and shared on YouTube in a matter of hours—or even minutes—due to helpful animation programs like Muvizu (that is also free to download). As technology makes it easier for people to create and share their work it becomes clear that as long as someone has the will and creativity to make animation then they can achieve their goals. Below is a list of three different kinds of animation that a creative individual might take interest in.
Vector animation is one of the most common kinds of modern day animation seen. Vector illustrations are used on everyday items from dishes to wallpaper, making it one of the most insidious forms of design across nearly every kind of merchandise. Vector animation is a form of animation that uses digital graphics—especially Adobe programs—to quickly create cartoons that are professional quality in both design and color. Vector animation is used on most children’s programs today and the speed of the animation programs makes it easier for animators to create entire seasons of shows in a fraction of the time that it took early animators to create a single five minute long feature. Vector animation techniques are sometimes regarded as 3D animation and the style can also be used for greeting cards and other uses like advertisements and even conference presentations. Most animators consider vector to be the best way to produce high quality work at a quick speed.
Stop-motion animation is a time consuming mode of animation yet its result is unique and is something that practically anyone can do. People of all ages—even grade school aged children—can create and share stop motion videos on YouTube and world famous directors like Tim Burton have repeatedly used stop-motion animation techniques to make some of their most famous films (like “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” for example). Stop motion animation requires the animator to take a photo of an object, move it slightly, and then take another photo. By combining a sequence of photos together at a quickened speed the image will give the illusion that the objects are moving. A three minute stop-motion video can include over one thousands pictures and it can take months to complete. Luckily, some phone apps have made it easier than ever to create these videos and share them on YouTube so all the hard work is not in vain.
Hand-drawn animation takes an extremely long time to achieve a finished product since it requires that artists drawn each individual frame on a new piece of paper by hand. The process is painstaking and seemingly impossible yet, in the early days of animation, it was the only way that anyone knew to make an animated feature. Walt Disney and several other animators worked tirelessly for months to create “Steamboat Mickey” and other cartoons that lasted merely a few minutes upon completion. However, these early short films lead to such success, acclaim, and public joy that Disney went on to create entire feature-length animated films. This task took hundreds of artists years to complete but the first film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was an enormous success that helped to spawn an empire. Today, even hand-drawn animation is aided by technology so the process is not as tiresome as it once was yet hand drawn animation is still a style that many cartoonists prefer (or at least incorporate) into their work.