A short journey into the wonderful world of animation
Traditional animated film – Cartoon and Stop-Motion
Animated film or cartoons offer a fascinating way to tell stories and create visual worlds that would not be possible in a physical reality. They can express imagination, creativity and emotion in unique ways. In animation, moving images are created using special animation techniques. In traditional animation, the cartoons (2D animation), individual images are drawn by hand and then faded in one after the other. As a result, the viewer gets the impression of a moving picture. Cartoons have a long history that goes back to the beginnings of cinema. Early animated films became popular in the 1920s, especially through the works of Walt Disney and other pioneers of animation.
In addition to cut-out animation, where two-dimensional objects are animated, the puppet animation also belongs to the traditional animation. Today, both techniques are combined into stop-motion. In stop-motion, physical models or puppets are moved in small steps (motion) and then photographed (stop). These single images are then joined together one after the other and played back. Since small changes have been made to the objects or characters between each frame, the impression of movement is created. In pixilation, people are photographed per moment of movement, as in stop-motion. Played back as a film, this creates a unique, surreal effect.
Computer animation and VFX
With the advent of powerful computers and advanced graphics hardware since the 1990s, three-dimensional computer animation (3D animation) has gained enormous importance. Computer animation makes it possible to create virtual objects and worlds that appear realistic and can simulate complex movements. 3D animation has made it possible to create films and animations with impressive realism. Characters, environments and effects can be created in such detail that they are often almost indistinguishable from real footage. Although visual effects existed before computer animation, it was only with the help of CGI (Computer Generated Images) that it was possible to create scenes that would not be possible in the real world: convincing fantastic creatures, spectacular explosions or elaborate space scenes. Many blockbuster films nowadays rely on elaborate visual effects (VFX) to impress the audience and tell stories in a way never seen before.
Artistic styles in amimation
In modern animated film, especially in the short film genre, many mixed techniques are inspiring. Impressive, original results are now also being produced in computer animation, which no longer seeks only to depict reality. There are a variety of artistic styles that can be used to create different effects and atmospheres. Each style has its own characteristics and can help shape the narrative and aesthetics of the film.
Claymation and Anime are two well-known animation styles with a large following. Claymation uses play-doh as its main material and is a special stop-motion style. Anime is classic animation from Japan, with large-eyed characters drawn from the worlds of manga comics. Some animated films rely on minimalist designs with reduced colour palettes and clear design language. This can create a special mood and a focus on the essence. Experimental Animation plays with colours, shapes and movements in a rather unconventional way and often creates a unique aesthetic as a result. This is just a small overview of the variety of artistic styles that can be used in animated film. Each helps to emphasise the uniqueness of a film and shape its visual message.
Animated films reach children as well as adults as short films, feature-length films, series, commercials or animated videos in educational materials, online content and social media. Animation allows for extraordinary creative freedom. Films can create worlds that do not exist in reality and tell stories in unique ways. This often requires significant production effort, planning and resources. Because of this complexity, animation projects can require more time and investment than traditional films.
My animated film projects
My own projects found their stylistic medium in classical animation. During my animation studies I worked on a few projects. Two of these films were my pre-diploma today and my diploma Only Love can break your Heart, which I responsibly designed and supervised from the script, production, direction, animation to the exploitation via festivals. Eight years after graduating, my last film to date, employee of the day, was released in close collaboration with a second director, animator and friend Alexander Isert.
The experience of working on an animated film is precious. Bringing a creative vision to life, from designing characters to creating your own worlds, allows for artistic expression. The interdisciplinary collaboration between image design, editing and sound is enriching. Animation is a patient art form. Working on an animated film requires attention to detail, dedication and endurance, as it often takes longer to get movements and scenes perfect. Passion, concentration and perseverance are the drivers. The different roles within a production never make a project boring. It takes creative thinking to solve challenges in storytelling or performance. I really enjoy it and have always found the experience of working on an animated film personally fulfilling. How nice to have another script lurking in the drawer.