TheCGBros CGInsider Newsletter

Editor's Note

Have you changed the way you consume video? We have. We got to thinking about how many others have changed in the same way.  What is this substantive change you may be wondering?  It’s watching videos with subtitles ON.  And it turns out, we are definitely not alone.

The many different reasons for someone to choose to use closed captions or subtitles. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, closed captions or subtitles are of course essential in order to understand the audio content of a video. For others though, their changing viewing habits are definitely driving the use of closed captions or subtitles.  Since we can watch video anywhere and headphones aren’t an option – it makes it easy to understand the audio in a video when the background noise is too loud, or to improve comprehension when the audio quality of the video is poor.

Us, we’re fans of watching and listening to videos in the original language and because the English language dubs lack emotion and intensity, something important gets lost in the translation – especially when it comes to Japanese anime.   It really helps us to connect with the characters and understand and follow the story.

"The Different Styles Of Animation"

This month in TheCGInsider Newsletter- February 2023, we take a look at The Different Styles Of Animation and what makes each of them unique and special!

Why Is Animation Important?

A lot has changed in the last few years and we wanted to revisit a topic that we lightly covered back in 2020. Animation is an important medium for art and culture because it allows for a wide range of creative expression. Each of the different styles of animation has its own unique characteristics and appeal and can be used to tell different types of stories. From the hand-drawn characters and backgrounds of 2D traditional animation to the highly detailed and realistic animation of 3D computer animation, animation offers a wide range of possibilities for artistic expression. It’s not limited by the laws of physics or the constraints of live-action, which allows for greater creative freedom.

Animation is also an important medium for society because it allows for the communication of complex ideas and information in a way that is both engaging and accessible. Whether it’s through children’s cartoons that educate and entertain, or through motion graphics that convey information in an engaging way, animation is a versatile medium that can be used to communicate important messages and ideas.

What Are The Different Animation Styles?

Animation has the superpower to entertain, and educate, and possesses the unique ability to bring joy to people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. It’s a medium that has the ability to transcend language and cultural barriers, making it an important tool for connecting people and fostering understanding. Animation tells stories, conveys emotions, and creates visual interest in a unique and exciting way.

There are many different styles of animation, each with its own unique characteristics and appeal. In this information, we will explore 6 different styles of animation including 2D traditional animation, 2D digital animation, 3D computer animation, Stop-motion animation, Motion graphics animation, and Rotoscoping animation. We will explore what makes each of these styles unique and exciting, including examples of each. Additionally, we will contrast these styles with other animation techniques like hyperrealism, caricature and exaggeration, and realistic animation styles, to understand the different approaches that animators take to create visual stories.

What Makes Them Unique?

2D traditional animation: This style is characterized by hand-drawn characters and backgrounds, often using a cel animation technique. This style of animation has a long history, dating back to the earliest days of animation. The hand-drawn nature of the animation gives it a unique, organic feel that is different from the more polished look of 3D computer animation. Classic Disney films like “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Fantasia” are great examples of 2D traditional animation, known for their richly detailed hand-drawn animation and use of vibrant colors.

2D digital animation: This style combines the traditional hand-drawn look with the use of digital tools to create animation. This allows for a more efficient animation process, as well as more flexibility in terms of color and effects. Examples include “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” from Disney, which use 2D digital animation to create richly detailed, hand-drawn-looking animation that is more efficient to produce than traditional 2D animation.

Please Continue…

3D computer animation: This style uses computer-generated graphics to create a more realistic, three-dimensional look. This allows for greater flexibility in terms of character and set design, as well as more realistic movement and lighting. Examples include “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo” from Pixar, which use 3D computer animation to create richly detailed, highly realistic animation that is both efficient to produce and visually stunning.

Stop-motion animation: This style uses physical objects and puppets that are moved incrementally to create the illusion of movement. This allows for a highly tactile, hands-on animation process that can create a unique, tactile feel. Examples include “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Coraline”, which use stop-motion animation to create a highly detailed and visually interesting animation that has a distinct, handmade quality.

Objects In Motion.

Motion graphics animation: This style is characterized by the use of typography, illustrations, and graphic elements to create animated sequences. This allows for a wide range of visual styles and can be used to create an animation that is both highly stylized and visually striking. Examples include title sequences for movies, TV shows, and commercials, which use motion graphics animation to create dynamic, eye-catching animation that is both aesthetically pleasing and effective at communicating information.

Rotoscoping animation: This style uses live-action footage as a reference for animating characters or elements. This allows animators to create animation that is highly realistic and detailed, with a sense of motion and weight that is difficult to achieve with other animation techniques. Examples include “A Scanner Darkly” and “Waking Life”, which use rotoscoping animation to create animation that is both highly realistic and visually striking.

Animation Styles VS Artistic Styles?

The six animation styles that we’ve been talking about (2D traditional animation, 2D digital animation, 3D computer animation, stop-motion animation, motion graphics animation, and rotoscoping animation) are primarily focused on creating visual stories and are characterized by their use of movement and the creation of the illusion of life. They are different from artistic styles such as hyperrealism, realism, exaggeration, etc., in the following ways:

Hyperrealism: This artistic style is characterized by the use of highly realistic techniques to create images that are almost indistinguishable from photographs. Animation styles, on the other hand, are not focused on mimicking real life with high accuracy but instead prioritize visual appeal, storytelling, and artistic expression.

Realism: Realistic animation styles are focused on creating a high level of realism but animation styles can vary from very realistic to highly stylized, depending on the project and the desired visual style.

Exaggeration: Exaggeration is a technique used to exaggerate certain features or aspects of a character or object. In animation, exaggeration is also used to create a sense of humor, expressiveness, or emphasis on certain elements, but it is not the main focus of animation.

Caricature: Caricature is an artistic style that distorts reality, exaggerating certain features or aspects of a character or object. Animation styles are not focused on distorting reality but rather on creating the illusion of life.

Artistic styles like hyperrealism, realism, exaggeration, and caricature are focused on creating a specific visual style, while animation styles are primarily focused on creating visual stories, conveying emotions, and creating visual interest through the use of movement.

To conclude, the six animation styles differ from artistic styles like hyperrealism, realism, exaggeration, and caricature as animation is primarily focused on creating visual stories and conveying emotions through movement, while artistic styles like hyperrealism and realism are focused on mimicking reality in a highly detailed and realistic way, exaggeration is focused on distorting certain features and aspects, and caricature is focused on distorting reality in a humorous or satirical way.

Let us know what you think at! If you found this information interesting or valuable, please be sure to “spread the word” and pass this newsletter along to your friends and colleagues. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising 🙂 Don’t miss next month’s issue of the CGInsider newsletter, where we’ll be going deeper into discussing artistic styles!  You definitely won’t want to miss it! 

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This year, after encouragement from fans and consistent with our mission to provide our members relevant and quality content, we launched our own Podcast: TheCGBros CGInsider Podcast. In it, we’ll be answering many questions that our fans have been asking. We will also discuss trends and relevant topics about computer graphics imagery, jobs in the video industry, animation, gaming, and much more. Check it out!

Upcoming Podcasts:

This Month’s Schedule:

  • 2306 – 02/07/23 What Are The Top 10 Animation/VFX Schools
  • 2307 – 02/14/23 How Is CGI Being Used In The Military?
  • 2308 – 02/21/23 How Does AI Age/De-Age People In Movies?
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Next Month’s Schedule:

  • 2310 – 03/07/23 How Is AI Being used In Video Editing/Comp?
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  • 2312 – 03/21/23 What Are The Coolest Mechs/Giant Robots?
  • 2313 – 03/28/23 How Is AI Being Used In Gaming