Traditional animation (Also called cel animation) was the process
used for most animated films of the 20th century. The individual
frames of a traditionally animated film are photographs of drawings,
which are first drawn on paper. To create the illusion of movement,
each drawing differs slightly from the one before it. The animators'
drawings are traced or photocopied onto transparent acetate sheets
called cels, which are filled in with paints in assigned colors
or tones on the side opposite the line drawings. The completed
character cels are photographed one-by-one onto motion picture
film against a painted background by a rostrum camera.
The traditional cel animation process became obsolete by the
beginning of the 21st century. Today, animators' drawings and
the backgrounds are either scanned into or drawn directly into
a computer system. Various software programs are used to color
the drawings and simulate camera movement and effects. The final
animated piece is output to one of several delivery mediums, including
traditional 35 mm film and newer media such as digital video.
The "look" of traditional cel animation is still preserved,
and the character animators' work has remained essentially the
same over the past 70 years. Some animation producers have used
the term "tradigital" to describe cel animation which
makes extensive use of computer technology. Many early Disney films used cel frame animation.
Examples of traditionally animated feature films include Pinocchio
(United States, 1940), Animal Farm (United Kingdom, 1954), and
Akira (Japan, 1988). Traditional animated films which were produced
with the aid of computer technology include The Lion King (US,
1994) Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (Japan, 2001),
and Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003).
Full animation refers to the process of producing high-quality
traditionally animated films, which regularly use detailed drawings
and plausible movement. Fully animated films can be done in a
variety of styles, from realistically designed works such as those
produced by the Walt
Disney studio, to the more "cartoony" styles of
those produced by the Warner Bros. animation studio. Many of the
Disney animated features are examples of full animation, as are
non-Disney works such as An American Tail (US, 1986) and The Iron
Giant (US, 1999)
Limited animation involves the use of less detailed and/or
more stylized drawings and methods of movement. Pioneered by the
artists at the American studio United Productions of America,
limited animation can be used as a method of stylized artistic
expression, as in Gerald
McBoing Boing (US, 1951), Yellow Submarine (UK, 1968), and
much of the anime produced in Japan. Its primary use, however,
has been in producing cost-effective animated content for media
such as television (the work of Hanna-Barbera, Filmation,
and other TV animation studios) and later the Internet (web cartoons).
Rotoscoping is a technique, patented by Max
Fleischer in 1917, where animators trace live-action movement,
frame by frame. The source film can be directly copyed from actors'
outlines into animated drawings, as in The Lord of the Rings (US,
1978), used as a basis and inspiration for character animation,
as in most Disney films, or used in a stylized and expressive
manner, as in Waking Life (US, 2001) and A Scanner Darkly (film)
Computer animation encompasses a variety of techniques, the unifying
idea being that the animation is created digitally on a computer.