AskDefine | Define animation

Dictionary Definition



1 the condition of living or the state of being alive; "while there's life there's hope"; "life depends on many chemical and physical processes" [syn: life, living, aliveness]
2 the property of being able to survive and grow; "the vitality of a seed" [syn: vitality]
3 quality of being active or spirited or alive and vigorous [syn: spiritedness, invigoration, brio, vivification]
4 the activity of giving vitality and vigour to something [syn: vivification, invigoration]
5 the making of animated cartoons
6 general activity and motion [syn: liveliness]

User Contributed Dictionary



From animatio, from animare.


IPA: WEAE /æn.əˈme.ʃən/


  1. The act of animating, or giving life or spirit.
    The animation of the same soul quickening the whole frame. --Bp. Hall.
  2. The technique of making inanimate objects or drawings appear to move in motion pictures or computer graphics.
  3. The state of being lively, brisk, or full of spirit and vigor; vivacity; spiritedness
    He recited the story with great animation.
  4. The condition of being animate or alive.
    Perhaps an inanimate thing supplies me, while I am speaking, with whatever I possess of animation. --Landor.
  5. conversion from the inanimate to animate grammatical category
    • 1992, Samuel E. Martin, A Reference Grammar of Korean, page 291:
    "The constraints are not so hard and fast that exceptional sentences do not occur. In particular animation and disanimation can temporarily suspend the system."


causing images to appear to move
  • Croatian: animacija
  • French: animation
  • German: Animation
  • Korean: 애니메이션 (aenimeisyeon)
  • Polish: animacja



From animatio.



fr-noun f




Extensive Definition

The bouncing ball animation (below) consists of these 6 frames. Early examples of attempts to capture the phenomenon of motion drawing can be found in paleolithic cave paintings, where animals are depicted with multiple legs in superimposed positions, clearly attempting to convey the perception of motion.
The phenakistoscope, zoetrope and praxinoscope, as well as the common flip book, were early popular animation devices invented during the 1800s. These devices produced movement from sequential drawings using technological means, but animation did not really develop much further until the advent of motion picture film.
There is no single person who can be considered the "creator" of the art of film animation, as there were several people doing several projects which could be considered various types of animation all around the same time.
Georges Méliès was a creator of special-effect films; he was generally one of the first people to use animation with his technique. He discovered a technique by accident which was to stop the camera rolling to change something in the scene, and then continue rolling the film. This idea was later known as stop-motion animation. Méliès discovered this technique accidentally when his camera broke down while shooting a bus driving by. When he had fixed the camera, a horse happened to be passing by just as Méliès restarted rolling the film, his end result was that he had managed to make a bus transform into a horse. This was just one of the great contributors to animation in the early years.
J. Stuart Blackton was possibly the first American filmmaker to use the techniques of stop-motion and hand-drawn animation. Introduced to filmmaking by Edison, he pioneered these concepts at the turn of the 20th century, with his first copyrighted work dated 1900. Several of his films, among them The Enchanted Drawing (1900) and Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906) were film versions of Blackton's "lightning artist" routine, and utilized modified versions of Méliès' early stop-motion techniques to make a series of blackboard drawings appear to move and reshape themselves. 'Humorous Phases of Funny Faces' is regularly cited as the first true animated film, and Blackton is considered the first true animator.
Another French artist, Émile Cohl, began drawing cartoon strips and created a film in 1908 called Fantasmagorie. The film largely consisted of a stick figure moving about and encountering all manner of morphing objects, such as a wine bottle that transforms into a flower. There were also sections of live action where the animator’s hands would enter the scene. The film was created by drawing each frame on paper and then shooting each frame onto negative film, which gave the picture a blackboard look. This makes Fantasmagorie the first animated film created using what came to be known as traditional (hand-drawn) animation.
Following the successes of Blackton and Cohl, many other artists began experimenting with animation. One such artist was Winsor McCay, a successful newspaper cartoonist, who created detailed animations that required a team of artists and painstaking attention for detail. Each frame was drawn on paper; which invariably required backgrounds and characters to be redrawn and animated. Among McCay's most noted films are Little Nemo (1911), Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) and The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918).
The production of animated short films, typically referred to as "cartoons", became an industry of its own during the 1910s, and cartoon shorts were produced to be shown in movie theaters. The most successful early animation producer was John Randolph Bray, who, along with animator Earl Hurd, patented the cel animation process which dominated the animation industry for the rest of the decade.


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.
Examples of traditionally animated feature films include Pinocchio (United States, 1940), Animal Farm (United Kingdom, 1954), and Akira (Japan, 1988). Traditional animated films which were produced with the aid of computer technology include The Lion King (US, 1994) Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (Japan, 2001), and Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003).
  • Full animation refers to the process of producing high-quality traditionally animated films, which regularly use detailed drawings and plausible movement. Fully animated films can be done in a variety of styles, from realistically designed works such as those produced by the Walt Disney studio, to the more "cartoony" styles of those produced by the Warner Bros. animation studio. Many of the Disney animated features are examples of full animation, as are non-Disney works such as An American Tail (US, 1986) and The Iron Giant (US, 1999)
  • Rotoscoping is a technique, patented by Max Fleischer in 1917, where animators trace live-action movement, frame by frame. The source film can be directly copied from actors' outlines into animated drawings, as in The Lord of the Rings (US, 1978), used as a basis and inspiration for character animation, as in most Disney films, or used in a stylized and expressive manner, as in Waking Life (US, 2001) and A Scanner Darkly (US, 2006).

Stop motion

  • Stop-motion animation, 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 and 2000 - ?), Jan Švankmajer's Dimensions of Dialogue (Czechoslovakia, 1982), The Amazing Mr. Bickford (US, 1987), and The Trap Door (UK, 1984).
  • 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.
  • 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. Examples include Le Roman de Renard (The Tale of the Fox) (France, 1937), the films of Jiří Trnka, The Nightmare Before Christmas (US, 1993), and the TV series Robot Chicken (US, 2005-present).
    • Puppetoon, created using techniques developed by George Pál, are puppet-animated films which typically use a different version of a puppet for different frames, rather than simply manipulating one existing puppet.

Computer animation

Like stop motion, 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.
Examples: Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Jib Jab, Mickey the Squirrel
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 used as special effects for recent movies.
Examples: The Incredibles, Shrek, Finding Nemo, Flatland
3D animation terms

Other animation techniques

  • Drawn on film animation: a technique where footage is produced by creating the images directly on film stock, for example by Norman McLaren and Len Lye.
  • Paint-on-glass animation: a technique for making animated films by manipulating slow drying oil paints on sheets of glass.
  • Pinscreen animation: makes use of a screen filled with movable pins, which can be moved in or out by pressing an object onto the screen. The screen is lit from the side so that the pins cast shadows. The technique has been used to create animated films with a range of textural effects difficult to achieve with traditional cel animation.
  • Sand animation: sand is moved around on a backlighted or frontlighted piece of glass to create each frame for an animated film. This creates an interesting effect when animated because of the light contrast.


  • Ball, R., Beck, J., DeMott R., Deneroff, H., Gerstein, D., Gladstone, F., Knott, T., Leal, A., Maestri, G., Mallory, M., Mayerson, M., McCracken, H., McGuire, D., Nagel, J., Pattern, F., Pointer, R., Webb, P., Robinson, C., Ryan, W., Scott, K., Snyder, A. & Webb, G. (2004) Animation Art: From Pencil to Pixel, the History of Cartoon, Anime & CGI. Fulhamm London.: Flame Tree Publishing. ISBN 1-84451-140-5
  • Crafton, Donald (1982). Before Mickey. Cambridge, Massachusetts.: The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-03083-7
  • Solomon, Charles (1989). Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation. New York.: Random House, Inc. ISBN 0-394-54684-9

Type of animations

There are at least three distinctive types of animation:
- process animation: is the type of animation used to present a process of defined work method in stages. This includes the types of training animation, instruction animation and the likes.
- effect animation: are the type of animation used to stress or emphasize. powerpoint presentations are a typical usage of effect animations where the animation serves to emphasize the message or process.
- story animation: are the type of typical cartoon animations where stories are told using simple animation that are less expensive to produce, are simpler and more direct in delivering the message and due to the simplistic factor, are usable and last for a long time unlike videos that are more age and era specific.

Further reading

External links

animation in Arabic: رسوم متحركة
animation in Bosnian: Animacija
animation in Bulgarian: Анимация
animation in Catalan: Animació
animation in Czech: Animace
animation in Danish: Animation
animation in German: Animation
animation in Estonian: Animatsioon
animation in Spanish: Animación
animation in Esperanto: Animacio
animation in Persian: پویانمایی
animation in French: Animation
animation in Galician: Animación
animation in Korean: 애니메이션
animation in Croatian: Animacija
animation in Indonesian: Animasi
animation in Icelandic: Teiknimynd
animation in Italian: Animazione
animation in Hebrew: אנימציה
animation in Georgian: ანიმაცია
animation in Latvian: Multiplikācija
animation in Macedonian: Анимација
animation in Malayalam: അനിമേഷന്‍
animation in Malay (macrolanguage): Animasi
animation in Dutch: Animatie
animation in Japanese: アニメーション
animation in Norwegian: Animasjon
animation in Portuguese: Animação
animation in Romanian: Animaţie
animation in Russian: Мультипликация
animation in Albanian: Animimi
animation in Simple English: Animation
animation in Slovenian: Animacija
animation in Serbian: Анимација
animation in Finnish: Animaatio
animation in Swedish: Animering
animation in Tamil: இயங்குபடம்
animation in Thai: แอนิเมชัน
animation in Turkish: Animasyon
animation in Ukrainian: Анімація
animation in Samogitian: Moltėplėkacėjė
animation in Chinese: 动画

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

activity, actuation, afflatus, aggravation, agitation, alacrity, animal spirits, animate existence, animating spirit, animus, anxiety, anxiousness, appetite, ardency, ardor, arousal, arousing, avidity, avidness, being alive, birth, breathless impatience, breeziness, brio, briskness, bubbliness, capersomeness, cheerful readiness, coltishness, dash, direction, divine afflatus, dynamism, eagerness, ebullience, effervescence, elan, electrification, energizing, energy, enlivening, enlivenment, enthusiasm, esprit, exacerbation, exasperation, excitation, excitement, exhilaration, existence, exuberance, fervor, fire, firing, fomentation, forwardness, friskiness, frolicsomeness, gaiety, galvanization, gamesomeness, gayness, genius, glow, gust, gusto, having life, heartiness, immortality, impatience, impetuosity, impetus, incitement, infection, inflammation, influence, infuriation, infusion, inner-direction, inspiration, intensity, invigoration, irritation, joie de vivre, keen desire, keenness, lathering up, life, lifetime, liveliness, living, long life, longevity, lustiness, mettle, motivation, moving, moving spirit, moxie, oomph, other-direction, pep, peppiness, perkiness, pertness, perturbation, piss and vinegar, pizzazz, playfulness, prompting, promptness, provocation, quickening, quickness, readiness, revitalization, revival, robustness, rollicksomeness, rompishness, skittishness, spirit, spiritedness, spirits, sportiveness, sprightliness, spriteliness, steaming up, stimulation, stimulus, stirring, stirring up, verve, viability, vigor, vim, vitality, vitalization, vivaciousness, vivacity, vivification, warmth, whipping up, working up, zest, zestfulness, zing, zip
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