Animation Vocabulary #1

Rubber Hose Style Animation- a style of animation used in the early part of the 20th century that used a line (hose) for the arms and legs, which made it easier for the animators to avoid problems in creating a smooth connections of the elbows and knees as they moved.

Plagiarism- a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work.

Copyright- The legal protection against copying and the specific rights allowing copying given to original works, which may be in printed or photographically or electronically stored words, music, visual arts, and performing arts.

Keyframe- In animation, a frame that marks the position of an object at a point in time. A series of keyframes show the object at key positions during the course of motion. In-between frames are then made to finish out the movement.

Frame- A single image (of a series of them) on a piece of film. There are 24 to 30 frames per second in classic animation and this creates the smoothest movement. Web animation was 8-12 frames per second, but as bandwidth increases on the web, this is changing to the common FPS of 30 frames per second.

Cel Animation- Traditional form of animation. A cel, short for celluloid and spelled with one "L", is a transparent sheet on which objects are drawn or painted for traditional, hand-drawn animation. Actual celluloid (consisting of cellulose nitrate and camphor) was used during the first half of the 20th century, but since it was flammable and dimensionally unstable it was largely replaced by cellulose acetate. With the advent of computer assisted animation production, the use of cels has been practically abandoned in major productions. Disney stopped using cels in 1990 when Computer Animation Production System (CAPS) replaced this element in their animation process.

Cel- In animation, a cel (note that in this usage, the word has only one L) is a transparent sheet containing any part of the individual frame that is intended to move. By putting the action on cel overlays, animators avoid having to re-draw the background in every frame. In Flash this function is taken over by the Layer.

NTSC- National Television Standards Committee. Created the standards for American televisions. This acronym also refers to the standard formulated by the committee. This format has approximately 30 frames (60 fields) per second.

Frame Rate- In an NTSC video signal, one frame is 1/30 of a second. In a PAL video signal one frame equals 1/25 of a second.

FPS (frames per second)- frames per second. Also, the speed at whicha computer renders each frame.

Hold- A set of keyframes that stay on the screen a bit longer so that the audience can see them. Holds are used to create emphasis (like the "take" of a Spit/Take in a joke), to rest the eye and to create a transistion between actions.

Limited Animation- A style of animation used in TV, advertising, webpages, and in some cartoons that is known for a very low frame rate, simple drawings, heavy use of loops, and simple backgrounds and layering. Often the frame rate is about 6 to 8 FPS, so the animator needs to use all of his tricks and talent to create animations that aren't jerky. Limited animation is used to create quick and cheap animations. Most anime' and quite a bit 1960's cartoon animation falls under the heading of "limited animation".

Full Animation- Full animation is the style of production that uses a large number of frames per second (24 to 30) in order to create the smoothest and most fluid illusion of motion. This expensive and time consuming style is used in art animation, movies and high quality video games. Because of the high cost and the time constraints involved in Full Animation, the director and animators must pre-plan their work carefully. Every frame left on the cutting room floor is wasted money, so a firm plan and great attention to the story board is normal.

©Alice Taylor, 2010