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Animation Production Techniques

Character Animation can come up with many animation techniques, for example, Cartoon Animation, Puppet Animation, 3D Animation, Stop Motion Animation, Shadow Play Animation are the most common types of animation. Unfortunately, lately, we see that they are all referred to as cartoons among the people. In fact, it would be a more accurate name to call them animated films. Because when we say cartoons, we think that the production technique of the film is mentioned and that the film is an animated film made with the cartoon technique. Whatever technique is used, the same animation principles apply to all of them. Technically, they differ tremendously from each other.

Cartoon character

3D Character

First, let's explain the Cartoon Animation technique, Cartoon animation is called English Traditional, Cartoon or Cel Animation, it is the oldest and known animation method. Many classic animated films have been made this way. Examples are Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Jungle Book, Tom and Jerry, Mickey Mouse series, Donald Duck series, Bugs Bunny, Pink Panther, Pinocchio, Lion King, Aladdin.

Cartoon animation has been developed on the principle of perceiving the drawn objects as if they are moving as a result of showing the lines drawn on the papers in rapid succession. In order for this perception to occur, 24 different drawings per second are required. However, due to the high cost of construction, it is often drawn as half of this, that is, as 12 squares. The artists who make these drawings are called animators. Animators use the principles of animation to make the characters in consecutive pictures appear alive. Beyond just being able to draw well with pen and paper, it requires different cartooning techniques. To assist in this task, animators often use boxes called light tables, with a glass drawing surface and a light source behind this surface. Thanks to the light coming from the back of the papers, the lines on the stacked papers can be compared with each other, so that where and how the next picture should be made can be determined.

Another important tool besides the light table is the perforated paper. The papers are attached to the pin ruler (Eng. Pegbar) corresponding to these holes. This is because the papers come to the same place at every stage of the animation, even millimeter shifts create vibration in the motion.

Perforated papers used for animation

Illuminated Animation disc

Pegbar – Animation Pin Ruler

Uncleared animation drawing

Animation is a difficult profession that requires great mastery and experience and takes years to master. Therefore, in the master-apprentice relationship, new learners start by helping the masters. Sometimes the master draws an important timing position in animation, called the endframe, the apprentice animator draws the intermediate frames to come between these two extremes. After the master animators finish the drawing, it goes through many intermediate stages until this drawing takes its final form. The part up to this stage has not changed for a hundred years, the next stages differ with the advancement of technology.

The next stage is the clean up stage (English Clean Up). In the clean-up process, the paper drawn by the master is again attached to the pins on the light table, a clean paper is attached to it, and the drawing drawn by the animator, which usually includes auxiliary drawings and scribbles, is obtained as a clean single contour line.

The cleaning process is followed by the painting process. In the past, clearing and painting were done on transparent acetate. Coloring is now done on the computer. The cleaned papers are transferred to the computer with a scanner, where they are usually painted by means of special programs. The purpose of the programs is for speed and organization, otherwise it can be painted in any painting program. While these works are being done, the backgrounds on which the characters will act are drawn. This part is a painting that a normal painter can do. Fixed background images that do not move can be prepared as a lot of drawing, painting or even 3D model space. At the end of all these processes, the background and the cleaned and painted characters are combined. An animated movie is prepared when sound and music are added to the movie, which is created in this way, plan by plan.

Combining Animation Pieces

Stop Motion Animation. Frame-by-frame animation


This animation technique takes advantage of the perception that, as a result of moving the objects photographed in succession a little in each picture, the objects appear as if they are moving when we play the consecutive pictures quickly. Animation can be made using any material or object. In many movies, the characters are figures made of modeling dough on a wire skeleton. The wire skeleton inside is moved from the joints and brought to the desired pose.

wire skeleton system

A separate head or body part can be prepared for each frame and photographed with this different part. In order to assist in making this animation, monitors and software are used to compare the previous frames with the frame to be shot. In addition to the principles of animation, lighting and cinematography techniques are also included in this animation method.

Stop motion Animation Set

A separate head or body part can be prepared for each frame and photographed with this different part. In order to assist in making this animation, monitors and software are used to compare the previous frames with the frame to be shot. In addition to the principles of animation, lighting and cinematography techniques are also included in this animation method.

Wallace and Gromit

Puppet Animation, Shadow play


Its roots date back to 30000 BC. In this technique, puppets are animated with strings, rods or various mechanical mechanisms and recorded on film in real time. Karagöz is a kind of shadow puppet animation.

Karagoz Shadow Puppet

Muppet Show Puppet Animated Characters

The Muppet Show is perhaps the most well-known example in the world. Its construction cost is quite low compared to other techniques. That's why it is still used in many TV programs.

3D Animation making


3D animation is also called CG, CGI, Computer generated images in English. We can say that it is the most advanced animation method. Success can be achieved as a result of a combination of a high degree of technical level and artistic aesthetics. Very advanced computer programs and powerful computer hardware are required. The method that 3D animation is actually most similar to is puppet animation. Here, places and characters are modeled on the computer using modeling programs, instead of being made by hand as models from various materials.

3D Modeled and Rendered scene

Material and texture simulations are prepared on the computer for these modeled characters and places, so that the characters appear as desired. After this stage, the stage of preparing the character for animation comes. Here, a skeleton system is created that will deform the model according to the movements of the character. Of course, this is a kind of simulation, in fact, it is a visual interface that programs use to tell the computer where the character moves and how. After this stage, the animator, the master of each animation method, steps in and moves the character in accordance with the main principles of animation. The animation master animator brings the character to a certain pose at key points in the animation time and saves this position on the computer. Later, when played, the computer moves the character through these poses, smoothly transitioning between them by turning and moving the character's knuckles. After that, the stage is illuminated. Of course, this is also a simulation of light, actually functions that we define mathematically. The computer takes the data of these light functions, material and texture functions and processes them with the 3D model function. Then it creates a picture according to the function we define as the camera.

3D animation cow

3D animation grasshopper

These operations are also called English Render operations. It is used as a render because it has no equivalent in Turkish. Imagery can be an alternative to this. Almost all of the big productions made in recent years have been made with 3D animation method. For example, all Pixar movies are Toy Story, Cars, Monsters Inc., Up, Shrek, AntZ, Happy Feet, WALL-E etc.

3D Donkey

3D Girl

3D animation is used not only in feature-length animated films, but also to add more special effects, locations, digital tools, characters, creatures, digital stunt people on the shot. In fact, 3D animation was first used in this way in movies, 1984's Last Starfighter, the first computer-generated movie with effects scenes. Now almost every new movie and advertisement is to take advantage of this technology. Because it makes the work both better and cheaper than traditional effects. For example The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Avatar etc.v

3D Model Trex Dinosaur

The rapid development of computer and software technologies has also led to great breakthroughs in the animation industry. 2D and 3D animation software were not content with their own fields and found methods that could visualize all kinds of techniques and styles. 

Especially with traditional animation methods, instead of drawing on paper at the lighted table, fast animations started to be produced entirely on the computer using a single or a few software. Broadcasting channels also increased rapidly as animation could be done with less crew and cost. Many TV channels were established for children.

2D Vector Animation

The characters or objects drawn in vector-based animation software were brought into the desired form by pulling the existing lines or using different techniques, without the need to redraw them when necessary. In this way, only one person can be enough for a character to become a finalist from a draft.

Vector Animation Drawing

Vector animations play a leading role in fast and low-cost animation production these days. We also like to use this technique in many of the projects we do. In this period, when vector software provides more possibilities, the combination of drawings with real images, the spread of easy 3D animation effects, and the production of collage animations with different techniques bring a tremendous variety to our lives.

Vector Animation Drawing

I want to add the last thing for animation production. If you have decided to make animation, you can use your unlimited imagination in the light of basic information. Everything you see around you can be animation material or idea. You can create masterpieces by combining complex or simple techniques in different ways.

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