2D animation2D 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, interpolated morphing, onion skinning and interpolated rotoscoping.
2D animation has many applications, including analog computer animation, Flash animation and PowerPoint animation. Cinemagraphs are still photographs in the form of an animated GIF file of which part is animated.
3D animationA 3D animation is digitally modeled and manipulated by an animator. The animator starts by creating an external mesh to manipulate, a mesh is a geometric configuration that gives the visual appearance of form to an 3D object or 3D environment, it is given an internal digital skeletal structure that can be used to control the mesh. This process is called rigging and can be programmed with movement. 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, these techniques fall under the category of 3D dynamics. Well-made 3D animations can be difficult to distinguish from live action and are commonly used as visual effects for recent movies. Toy Story (1995, USA) is the first feature-length film to be created and rendered entirely using 3D graphics.
- Cel-shaded animation, is used to mimic traditional animation using CG software. Shading looks stark, with less blending colors. Examples include, Skyland (2007, France), Appleseed Ex Machina (2007, Japan), The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (2002, Japan)
- Machinima, Films created by screen capturing in video games and virtual worlds.
- Motion capture, is used when live action actors wear special suits that allow computers to copy their movements into CG characters. Examples include Polar Express (2004, USA), Beowulf (2007, USA), A Christmas Carol (2009, USA), The Adventures of Tintin (2011, USA)
- Photo realistic animation, is used primarily for animation that attempts to resemble real life. Using advanced rendering that makes detailed skin, plants, water, fire, clouds, etc. to mimic real life. Examples include Up (2009, USA), Kung-Fu Panda (2008, USA), Ice Age (2002, USA).