Introduction to 2D Animation
Let’s have a rendezvous with the traditional form of animation that marks its presence since the 19th century. Before delving into details, come let us try to know what Animation basically means and deals with. The literal definition of Animation is, the technique of photographing successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when the film is shown as a sequence.
In other words, Animation can be referred to as the quickly ‘playing’ of a series of frames along a reel of film. This works on the principle of PERSISTENCE OF VISION wherein these images are present on the retina of our eye for just one twenty-fifth of a second!
In this hi-tech age of social networking stealing every bit of our interest and time, Animation has made the mass interactions colorful and lively. Animation has the power to entertain and display data in a way that is intuitive to the user. It adds new dimension to entertainment.
Even the world of comics, which plays an integral part of fun-learning in childhood, is now projected more in animated form.
Classic 2D animation can be regarded as a straightforward approach in creating animation in a two dimensional context. It involves drawing each and every frame of each scene painstakingly. Of late, it is not just paper and pencils that animators use to create these animations. Several companies wrestle to mark its product as the best animation software.
Let’s have an eye on some of the softwares that are used in the booming animation industry:
- Synfig which is an ‘open source’ software
- ToonBoom Studio which is used for special effects, lip syncing and tween generation
- The software Storyboard which helps in converting stories to visuals
- Adobe Flashwhich is commonly used software for animations and motion graphics on the web
- Crea Toon, a software for doing the “cut out” style of animation
- Animate which is an app is created by Toon Boom for frame by frame animation
2D animation process
Even today, most animators tend to follow the steps that were laid down by the legendary Walt Disney mainly because of the high standards that he had set while making his animations. Though the steps may slightly vary among animators and/or studios, it mostly comprises of the following:
- Storyboarding-The practice of making storyboards can be traced to the early 1930’s wherein Walt Disney would insist designers to pre-visualize the work they were out to do. Once these designers knew what they had to do, they could ‘market’ it to movie directors and fellow animators who would want to work on the project.
- Audio Production-In this stage ,the dialogue for the characters are recorded once the storyhas been finalized. The script would be adapted accordingly and maybe expanded as per the need. When the time for the voice has to be given, due care has to be taken to identify a suitable person whose voice matches the personality of the character. Therefore the role of the voice artist assumes importance as at times, this artist may have to ad lib the character as well as give it a much more appealing personality than what would have been planned initially.
- Visual Development- This is one step that has changed considerably over time. During the early days of animation, animators had to draw thousands of sketches just to get the scenes and objects right so that they could match the storyboard. This also called for understanding of the personality traits of the character as well as the changes done by the voice artist. Therefore, frequent iterations were common before the character would be animated after it had been sketched and inked. However these days, there are specialized tools and software that animators can use. They can not only save considerable time, but also refine the characters and scenes they would have drawn.
- Production-Earlier, the production process was a tedious one as every single shot had to have around 10-20 drawings. These drawings had to be inked and painted before they were filmed. It was due to this that the best animators would draw the most important frames which were called as keyframes. Junior animators would fill in by working on the frames in between the key frames that are known as tweens. Once all these frames would be done, they would be photographed together for creating an animated sequence. Nowadays, there are digital tablets that aid animators to draw the keyframes easily as well as create the tweens automatically. The characters and backgrounds that would have been drawn are saved as a video file along with flexibility.
- Post Production- Once the characters have been coloured and animated, the production team begins to review the work that has been done. They ensure to correct mistakes if any as well as give the animation the necessary special effects, sound effects and visuals.
For easy-understanding of the process, start with home hacks, like- paper animation, by taking a few sheets of paper of equal size, and drawing a Ball moving from its initial position to a certain distance, in each sheet. Now pin the sheets together, and animate.
List of the best 2D animation movies
Here is a list of the best 2D animated movies made by Disney studios:
- Beauty and the Beast(1991)
- The Lion King(1994)
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs(1937)
- Alice in Wonderland (1951)
- The Little Mermaid(1989)
- Peter Pan(1953)
- Robin Hood(1973)
- One Hundred and One Dalmatians(1961)
- The Jungle Book(1967)
- The Fox and the Hound(1981)
- Lady and the Tramp(1955)
- Hercules (1997)
- Lilo & Stitch(2002)
- The Emperor’s New Groove(2000)
- Oliver & Company(1988)
The following are the best 2D animated movies made outside of the Disney studios:
- The Iron Giant (1999)
- The Road to El Dorado (2000)
- The Secret of NIMH (1982)
- The Land Before Time (1988)
- An American Tail (1986)
- Balto (1995)
- Anastasia (1997)
- The Thief and the Cobbler (1993)
- Sindbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)
- Cats Don’t Dance (1997)
- The Prince of Egypt (1998)
- Titan A.E (2000)
- FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
- All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
- Quest for Camelot (1998)
- Persepolis (2007)
- Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)
- Waltz with Bashir (2008)
- Thumbelina (1994)
- The Swan Princess (1994)
If you liked this article, please go through our article- All About Cartoons, which is dedicated to the world of Cartoons, brought to you by Animaster Academy- India’s premium animation college. It will take you to a tour of the cartoon sphere, and you will be able to have a clear idea of how things initiated.