The 6 Types of Animated Videos

The 6 Types of Animated Videos

Last Updated: 1 month by Astral Studios Staff

It’s a new world and animation is an excellent way to make your marketing stand out from the crowd. Broadly speaking, there are 6 types of animated videos and we’ll be examining these in this article.

You can use animation in many situations: to educate, promote or simply entertain. Animation has been around for over 100 years. With the advent of 3D technology it has become much more affordable and versatile.

A Brief History of Computer Animation: 1942-1963

Here are the 6 types of animated videos we’ll be looking at in this article:

  • Mechanical animation
  • Traditional cel animation
  • Digital 2D animation
  • Digital 3D Animation
  • Stop Motion Animation
  • Motion Graphics

Mechanical animation

For centuries, people have amused themselves with moving figures. The techniques include puppetry, shadow play and the magic lantern.

In 1832, two European academics invented the phenakistiscope or stroboscopic disc.

This is a device with a spinning cardboard disc which is attached vertically to a handle.

The disk uses a series of pictures to show the steps (‘frames’) of the animation. Around the rim of the disk are small rectangular slits.

The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the images reflected in a mirror.

The slits perform the same stroboscopic function as the shutter in a movie projector. They mask the image while the next one is moved into position.

Like a GIF animation, the phenakistiscope can only show a short continuous loop.

Other inventions followed. A well-known example is the Zoetrope. This is a Victorian-era device that uses a drum with slits around the top. A replaceable paper strip with a series of sequential images is placed in the drum. Turning the drum and looking through the slits creates the illusion of motion.

This type of animation is still in use today, particularly for educational purposes. However, only one person can view the images at a time.

Traditional cel animation

Traditional cel animation usually starts with pencil drawings on paper. An artist draws a series of images showing the action, frame by frame. An animator traces or photocopies the images onto clear plastic sheets called cels.

The photographic team places the cels on top of a background image. They photograph each one, frame by frame, with a motion picture camera.

A projector then shows the frames in rapid succession to create the illusion of movement.

Walt Disney popularized this type of animation in the early 20th century. Some studios still use it today.

Cel animation is expensive and time-consuming, which is why it’s no longer as popular as it once was. However, it still has its advantages, such as the fact that it gives you more control over the final product.

Digital 2D animation

Computer animation encompasses a variety of techniques. The unifying factor is that an artist creates the animation digitally on a computer.

The advantage of 2D animation is that it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to create. This is one reason why it’s still so popular.

There is a wide variety of uses for 2D animation. These include educational videos, explainer videos, adverts, and more.

The process of Digital 2D Animation is similar to cel animation. A team of animators creates hundreds (or thousands) of images (frames). Software then combines them in sequence to create a film or video.

Computers can create the in-between frames for a movement. This cuts down the work of the animator.

Once the frames are ready, computers render them into high-quality images. This is a slow process which needs masses of computer power.

Unlike 3D animation, you don’t need to create digital models, you just need to draw the frames.

Animators can make almost instant adjustments to variables like colours and frame rates. This makes it easier for the animation team to make changes.

A Tribute to 2D Animation

Disney has not released a 2D animated feature since 2009’s “The Princess and The Frog”.

However, 2D animation is still one of the most popular types of animated videos on TV and in commercials. Handcrafted 2D character animation can result in some of the most memorable experiences.

The line between 2D and 3D animation has become blurred:

Digital 3D Animation

Of all the types of animated videos, 3D animation is the most popular. 3D animation is a great way to bring characters and objects to life. It can create both realistic and imaginary worlds . It’s a powerful tool for telling stories.

The first 3D rendered computer animated film was “A Computer Animated Hand”. Ed Catmull and Fred Parke created it in 1972 at the University of Utah.

The first computer animated feature film was “Toy Story”, released in 1995 by Pixar.

The process of 3D animation involves modeling, rigging, animating, and rendering.

3D Modeling

3D modeling is the process of creating a mathematical model of an object in three dimensions. Special 3D modeling software does this. An animator can tweak edges, vertices, and polygonal elements in a simulated 3D world.

How to Model Anything in 3D – Modeling Fundamentals


Rigging or skeletal animation uses a virtual skeleton. This represents a character or object. The skeleton consists of parts (called bones).

The animator poses and moves the character by manipulating the skeleton.

Each bone in the skeleton is associated with a part of the character’s visual representation.

Character Rigging in Blender


Animating is the process of creating the actual motion of those objects, frame by frame. 3D animation can be very time-consuming. This is why the use of computers has become so important in this field. Computers can create the in-between frames for a movement. This cuts down the work of the animator.


Rendering is the process of creating a final image from the animation. This is where computers convert the 3D models into 2D images. These will form the frames of the final animated video. 3D renders may include photorealistic effects or non-photorealistic styles.

IIndividual frame render times might range from a few seconds to several days. This depends on how complicated a sequence is.

Spring – Blender

Digital 3D animation can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of these are educational videos, explainer videos, adverts, and more.

You can use 3D animation to promote products and services. Companies can create 3D models of products. These can show potential customers what they will look like in the real world. This can be a valuable marketing tool, as it allows customers to see the product in action before they buy it

Educational videos can also benefit from 3D animation. 3D animation can make complex concepts and processes easier to understand. This makes 3D animation an excellent tool for teaching and training.

Businesses can also create ads and commercials with 3D animation. They can create eye-catching visuals that will grab the attention of potential customers.

3D animated video is a versatile and powerful tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. Whether you’re looking to create an educational video, an advert, or just tell a story, 3D animation is a great way to do it.

Stop Motion Animation

Stop motion animation involves taking a series of photographs of a character. Animators make small changes to the position of the character for each photograph. These are then combined into a movie. This type of animation can be used to create realistic or imaginary worlds. It’s a powerful tool for telling stories.

How stop motion animation began

Animators can use the stop motion technique to animate any kind of object or character. Models with movable joints are often used. The use of Plasticine figures (clay animation or claymation) is also popular.

You can use stop motion animation to promote products and services. Some popular feature-length movies also use the technique.

Making Of – National Trust and Wallace and Gromit

Stop motion animation is still popular with audiences and animators. However, it is extremely time consuming. Because of this, many animators now use computers to create their animations.

Of course, you can still create stop motion animation without the use of computers. All you need is a camera, some basic editing software, and a lot of patience!

Motion Graphics

Motion graphics is the creative animation of graphic images, text and photographs.

A Motion designer uses this technique to create simple animations. They can also create complex animations. These can have many layers of text, objects and images.

You can use motion graphics to create educational videos, explainer videos, and more.

Kinetic typography or typography animation is a specific kind of motion graphics. Here, a motion designer animates text in creative ways. Designers can create engaging and informative videos with this technique.

A motion designer can create eye-catching visuals using different fonts and colours. These will grab the attention of potential customers.

Curiosity: Kinetic Typography

Educational videos can also utilise motion graphics. Motion graphics animation can show complex concepts and processes. This kind of animation can make them easier to understand.


Which of these types of animated videos is right for you?

Each type of animated video has its own unique benefits. You can use them for a variety of purposes. Motion graphics are great for adding life to designs. 3D animation is perfect for explaining business models or promoting products. Stop motion animation is ideal for telling stories.

If you’re planning to create an animated video, have a chat with us. There’s no obligation, and we can help you clarify your thinking and understanding of what’s possible. Also, we’ll also give you an honest appraisal of whether video is the right solution for your project.

Related Tag: Video Production Company