You’ve watched your favorite cartoon on Saturdays when you were a kid. You’ve seen more than a few animated cartoon movies, too. Ever wonder how they are made? Here are some animating basics to explain how cartoons are made.

What is animation? It is the stringing together of pictures, and photographing them, to create what appears to be motion and action. Stop-motion animation uses figures, usually made out of clay, that can be molded and shaped, then photographed. The old movieĀ King Kong used this process. 4anime

Cartoon animation does a similar thing, but instead of using moldable figures, it uses drawings. Movement is created by changing the drawings little by little. For example, to create walking, one drawing has the right foot and left arm forward. The next shot has the right foot directly under the body, supporting the weight, while the left foot starts to lift off the ground. Next, the left foot starts to reach forward, and the right arm does also, and so on.

When you see those different drawings quickly, in a sequence, your brain is tricked into thinking that they are flowing from one to the next, and the character appears to be walking, even though it is really only a bunch of drawings. You’re seeing motion when there isn’t any.

But the actual drawings themselves are just one aspect of the whole cartoon making process. Animators need to be able to create interesting characters, story lines, settings, conflict, resolution, drama, emotion, movement–all by drawing pictures and stringing them together. This cartooning business is getting really complicated now, isn’t it?

But you cannot watch a cartoon without sound. Well, you could, but if you add music to it, it becomes more interesting. So now the animator needs to know how to draw so it looks like the characters are speaking.

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