In a few words: Animation Dictionary

Less than two months until the cartoonish and revolutionary XVI edition of Sardinia Film Festival, the Award for animated shorts from all over the world.

We can’t wait and we know that you’re curious too, but are you ready for this event?

Let’s revise a little bit. Here is a sort of cinematic dictionary that every cinema lover should know.

First of all, audience. It’s a term that indicates the people to who the animation is addressed. Yeah, that’s you! And the other people and enthusiasts who will liven up the movie theater and our incredible workshops.

Then we have an element that many try to understand. That’s the purpose, the reason why the film has been made. It’s something very interesting especially when it’s explained by the author themselves.

Now let’s talk about some technical terms.

Nowadays, to create an animation it’s very important to use animations software to make digital movements easier and with fewer steps. But in the past, when for example Walt Disney started making cartoons, animators had to draw manually the different keyframes (as you may infer from the name, these are the most important frames because they contain the main movements of the scene) on the so-called layers, transparent sheets where they could copy the frame and add little changes to create the illusion of movement. This illusion is called tweening.

In the past, tweening was mainly realized by apprentice animators, since it was easier than drawing keyframes. However, now animators prefer to use digital software because thanks to them it’s possible to correct the layers more accurately and make the movements more fluid. This motion fluidity is named motion tween.

So, the keyframe is the point at which the movement of action changes, while the frame rate is the frequency at which consecutive frames are displayed.

The frame rate is essential in our perception of movement and we can notice it especially in animation techniques like stop-motion. Tim Burton is a huge fan of this technique and it was central for the first special effects in films.

How does stop-animation work? For each second of the animation, the animator exposes a frame in which the object recorded is slightly moved. If the object is a puppet we have puppet animation, while, if the object is a model in clay that’s clay animation.

Do not confuse it with the go motion, in which the objects’ movement is impressed during the recording itself, and it’s generally done by using a computer that makes the animation fluid.

These techniques are extremely laborious, especially, if you think that in a standard animated film there are generally 24 frames per second. So, to realize a half-an-hour animation it would take 40.000 frames! That’s a job for very passionate animators.

Did you already know these terms? Now you’re ready for the next ones.

See you at Sardinia Film Festival, in December!


image: Cogas by Michela Anedda