The Top Five Animation Styles

Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

Animation can offer limitless potential for your message. Every detail you see on screen can be tailored to deliver your message, and the only limits are your imagination. This makes animation an effective tool to engage and motivate your audiences. It is particularly effective at framing complex concepts in an easy to understand way. But within animation there are many different animation styles to choose from. While the following five animation styles are the most popular, they are just a few of the possibilities!

animation styles

Types of Animation Styles

2D Vector Animation

One of the most popular 2D animation styles is 2D vector animation. This is when the graphics of your animation are controlled by vectors, and are computer-rendered. This animation style delivers a smooth, clean and dynamic look.

This animation style is a great option for storytelling animations, along with information-based animations. Its versatility makes it a popular option for all sorts of animation films. Moreover 2D vector based animation is less time consuming and less expensive than most other animation styles. This also adds to its popularity.

3D Animation

Also known as CGI animation, 3D animation styles are growing in popularity. This animation style creates more realistic and detailed animations. This style is becoming increasingly popular in the healthcare sector for its illustrative and informative capabilities.

Similar to 2D Vector animation, 3D animation is computer-rendered. But there is more control and work required for this type as more details are needed to create 3D visuals. This means that these styles of animation take more time and cost more than other animation styles.

Hand Drawn Animation

With this animation style, the animated elements are drawn by the animator instead of being computer-rendered. Hand drawn animations deliver a warmer and more relatable feel to your animations. This can be particularly effective for storytelling animation productions, as audiences will quickly connect and relate to hand drawn animated characters. Each hand drawn animation is unique and has a more personal feel than other animation styles.

Advancements in technology means that this approach can be accomplished through a computer or with actual paper. Either method can deliver hand drawn animation. Given the labour that must go into hand drawing animation elements, this style takes more time and will be more expensive.

Stop Motion Animation

Stop motion animation uses a series of photographs that in sequence create an animated action. This process can be quite time-consuming as each object has to be moved carefully and slowly with each change being photographed. The longer your film is, the more photographs you need. At Kartoffel Films, we aim to take at 20 photos per second for our stop motion animation films. This is similar to traditional hand drawn animation, however the difference being that stop motion animation uses real life materials instead of drawings.

Motion Graphics

Motion graphics refers to creatively moving graphic elements or texts. This means that motion graphic animations, unlike other animation styles, cannot be character driven. This is not to say that motion graphic animations cannot tell a story, but rather the character will not be depicted on screen.