Online and Digital Animation Tools

In the world of animation, designers have choices between 3D, 2D, stop-motion or traditional cel animation. Each type of animation provides an abundance of choices for the animator, giving control over content, style, story lines and the method of distribution of the animated film or short. With the help of the Internet and online animation schools, the unique vision of even the newest animation genius can be created and distributed to a large audience of potential fans.

Cel animation is the process of hand-drawing scenery and characters that are transferred onto transparent cels, or sheets of thin plastic, enabling the scenery to remain intact while the character action is added in a series of hand-drawn frames. These cels and images are typically photographed by a camera and then linked together in a fast slideshow-type of presentation that can be viewed on a television or other screen. Cel animation does not require special animation software; a basic video editor can bring the cel drawings to life.

With the sophistication of software available, cel animation can easily become a 2-D animation production. Scanning in hand-drawings or creating the still images solely with a digital illustration program brings the older method of animation into a more modern format. After the drawings are saved as image files, they can be compiled into a series of animated frames by using software of online animation tools like Stupeflix, a free, web-based video editing application. Programs like Flash are also popular for animators, especially those who wish to add interactivity to an animated production, or for a familiar feel, many animators start with the tools available in MS Power Point.

3D animation requires the ability to digitally design scenery and characters in order to produce an animated presentation that is as true to life as possible. Visual effects and the ease of replicating simple motions through built-in software tools, like Animoids 3D, is an attractive aspect of 3D animation. Web-based 3D animation applications are popping up all over the Internet to assist would-be 3D animators bring a creative vision to life, and many of these creations have gone viral.

Stop-motion animation is the process of capturing still images of objects like clay, puppets or even Lego figures and connecting the frames together, much like the images created in cel animation. Stop-motion animation requires studio or stage type lighting and the construction of 3D sets that act much like the sets on films or television shows. Each frame of the stop-motion animation shows a slight movement of the characters or changes in scenery, giving the film or short a feeling of movement within the storyline. MonkeyJam provides excellent tools for those interested in creating stop-motion shorts and films.

Animation has increased in popularity online with the availability of websites and online animation tools to help the amateur animator bring creative visions to life. These tools and software bridge the gap for many people considering going to an online animation school to experiment, create and practice the skills needed to become a professional cel, 2D, 3D or stop-motion animator.

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