Animation Glossary

Learn the language of an animator with this glossary of terms provided by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry:

Animation: the process of taking a series of slightly different individual pictures or objects and stringing them together in sequence to give the appearance of continuous motion.

Atmosphere sketch: a quick sketch used to create a specific mood for a scene. The sketch is often used in preparing the background for a scene.Animation exhibit foley room

Cel animation: a type of animation that uses transparent plastic sheets with pictures. The sheets are layered on top of a background to create a full scene.

Foley effects: sound effects that are made by manipulating everyday objects.

Frame: a frame is a static image. A series of frames filmed in sequence makes an animation.

Keyframe: a frame that represents a key point of change or action.

Mutoscope: a hand-cranked animation viewer invented in the late 19th century. A person turned a handle while looking in the viewer while a light illuminated moving pictures flipping past the viewer.

Pantograph: a drawing instrument used to reduce or enlarge drawings.

Praxinoscope: an early animation device that used a strip of pictures placed around the inside of a spinning cylinder. The strip was reflected on an inner cylinder of mirrors, creating a moving image.

Replacement: a form of stop-motion animation in which a sculpture’s parts are switched out to obtain different poses and movements.

Squash and stretch: an effect in which a character or object is taken through a series of exaggerated poses, from flattened to elongated.

Stop-motion animation: an animation technique that uses three-dimensional objects instead of flat pictures.

Storyboard: a series of sketches illustrating key points of action in a show or film.

ANIMATION was created and is circulated by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. ™ and © 2014 Cartoon Network. All rights reserved.