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Animation Basics

“Bringing ideas to life is the challenge creators face on almost every project. At Software Folder not only do we inspire creators with tips and creative resource. We inspire by example…”

animation for content

Table of Contents

How Animation Software Works?

Creating Animation for Content

The animation production process traditionally involves a number of steps; from storyboarding to character design and background designs. 

Today, there are so many digital short-cuts and options available that anyone can create some form of motion graphics with very little planning and preparation. 

Software that have animation features include presentation software such a Keynote, or dedicated and “alternative” software such as PhotoVibrance, all provide very simple means of creating animation for composing with other content.

Animation software works by providing a platform or toolset that allows users to create animated content using various techniques and methods. While the specifics may vary depending on the app, here is a general overview of how animation apps work.

Traditional Animation Process

Now, if you are about to venture on with a more thorough traditional animation approach, we have laid out the following typical steps involved to remind you of the process:

First, artists create a series of sketches to outline the key moments and actions in the animation. This serves as a blueprint for the entire project.

Character Design
Artists design and develop the appearance and personalities of the animated characters. They create model sheets that define the characters’ features, proportions, and expressions.

Background Design
Artists create detailed backgrounds and settings that complement the characters and enhance the overall visual aesthetic.

Key Framing
Animators draw the key frames, which are the significant poses or actions in a sequence. These frames represent the major changes in movement or expression.

Inbetweeners fill in the frames between the key frames to create smooth and fluid motion. They draw the additional frames required to complete the sequence.

The rough sketches are refined, cleaned up, and traced onto transparent celluloid sheets or digital files.

The characters and backgrounds are colored either manually or digitally to bring them to life. The colors are carefully chosen to create the desired mood and atmosphere.

Once all the frames are complete, they are compiled in the correct sequence, often using specialized software. Sound effects and music may also be added at this stage.

Computer-generated Imagery (CGI)

CGI animation refers to the use of computer graphics to create animated content. This form of animation has become increasingly popular due to advancements in technology, and the availability of ease-of-use software.

The typical industry production process for CGI animation generally involves the following steps:

Concept and Story Development
Similar to traditional animation, the process begins with concept development and storyboarding to establish the overall narrative and visual direction.

3D Modeling
Artists create three-dimensional digital models of characters, objects, and environments using specialized software. These models are defined by their shape, texture, and appearance.

Rigging is the process of creating a digital skeleton, known as a rig, which allows animators to control and manipulate the 3D models. It involves defining joints, bones, and controls for the characters.

Animators use the rigging system to pose and animate the 3D models. They set keyframes and adjust the position, rotation, and scale of the characters to create lifelike movements.

Lighting and Texturing
Lighting artists create virtual lighting setups, simulating the behavior of real-world lighting sources to enhance the visual quality. Texture artists apply surface characteristics to the 3D models, such as color, texture, and reflectivity, to make them appear more realistic.

The scenes are rendered, which involves calculating the final appearance of each frame based on the lighting, textures, and other visual effects. This process can be computationally intensive and time-consuming.

Additional effects, such as compositing multiple layers, adding special effects, and integrating background music and sound effects, are applied to the rendered frames to finalize the animation.

Stop Motion Animation
Stop motion animation is a technique that involves capturing a series of still images of physical objects or puppets and then sequencing them to create the illusion of movement. The production process for stop motion animation typically includes the following steps:

Artists create a visual narrative of the animation, similar to other forms of animation.

Set Design and Construction
Artists build miniature sets and backgrounds that serve as the physical environment for the animation. These sets are designed to be easily manipulated and accommodate the characters and props.

Character Design and Puppet Creation
Characters and props are designed and fabricated. They can be made from various materials such as clay, foam, wire armatures, or even 3D printed components. The characters need to be articulated to allow for posing and movement.

Animators position the puppets or objects within the sets and capture a frame. They then make slight adjustments to the scene and capture another frame. This process is repeated many times, with small movements between each frame, to create smooth motion when played back.

The captured frames are compiled and edited using specialized software. Visual effects, such as adding backgrounds or removing rigging, can be applied if necessary. Sound effects, dialogue, and music are also added during this stage to enhance the overall experience.

It’s worth noting that these production processes can vary depending on the specific project and the techniques used by the animators. The steps provided here offer a general overview of the production process for each animation style.

animation for content software

Animation Software Packages

Animation software typically have a user-friendly interface that provides a workspace for creating and viewing animations in progress. The interface typically consist of a canvas or timeline where users can see and manipulate their animation frames or keyframe

Drawing and Design Tools
Animation apps often include a range of drawing and design tools, such as brushes, pencils, pens, and shapes. These tools allow users to create and edit individual frames or elements of their animation.

Timeline and Keyframes
A timeline is a critical component of animation apps. It allows users to organize their animation frames or keyframes in a sequential order.

Users can set keyframes at specific points in the timeline to define the position, scale, rotation, or other properties of objects or characters in their animation.

Frame Manipulation
Animation apps enable users to manipulate individual frames to create motion. Users can add, delete, copy, or modify frames to achieve the desired movement in their animation.

This process involves adjusting the position, shape, or appearance of objects or characters across frames

Animation Techniques
Animation apps may support various animation techniques, such as traditional frame-by-frame animation, where each frame is drawn individually, or rigging-based animation, where characters are built using a skeletal structure and controlled by manipulating the underlying rig.

Effects and Transitions
Animation apps often provide features for adding effects, transitions, and special visual elements to animations. These may include filters, lighting effects, particle effects, and more, which enhance the overall quality and visual appeal of the animation.

Export and Sharing
Once the animation is complete, animation apps allow users to export their work in different formats, such as video files or GIFs. Users can then share their animations on various platforms or use them in other projects.

It’s important to note that different animation apps may have specific workflows, features, and tools unique to their software. The functionality and capabilities of an animation app can vary widely, ranging from basic tools for beginners to advanced software for professional animators.

Noteworthy Content Animation Software

PhotoVibe Face Create


PhotoVibrance makes it easy for everyone to transform static images into moving motion pictures that get attention. Great for driving traffic from social media.

Doodly Logo


Doodly is the first and only doodle video creation software to allow anyone, regardless of technical or design skills to create professional

InVideo Logo


Although strictly speaking InVideo is a video editor of sorts. Within a few restraints, it does provide the same platform of tools as animation software…


SoftwareFolder|Animation Basics

“Bringing ideas to life is the challenge creators face on almost every project. At Software Folder not only do we inspire creators with tips and creative resource. We inspire by example…”

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