Sun. Jan 22nd, 2023

Animation Tools

Frame Rates

The frame rate of an animation refers to the number of times the image updates every second. Higher frame rates:

  • Give an impression of smoother movement
  • Will require more storage (more frames to be stored)

Lower frame rates:

  • Reduce the storage requirement
  • Lead to ‘jerkier’ movement

For reference, some common frame rates are:

  • Cinema – 24Hz
  • UK TV – 25Hz (50Hz)
  • US TV – 30Hz (60Hz)
  • Computer monitors – 60Hz
  • Phone displays – 60Hz (most common)

Note: When choosing a frame rate, time for one that will fit n times into the target display’s frame rate, where n is a whole number. For example on a 60Hz display, you could use 10Hz, 12Hz, 15Hz, 20Hz, 30Hz as all are divisible into 60 with no remainder. Choosing a different frame rate which is not wholly divisible into the target’s frame rate will result in a stuttering effect, where some frames will not be displayed for as long as others. You commonly see this when playing a Blu-ray film on a TV; the film is encoded at 24 frames per second, but the TV has to lengthen every 12th frame in order to display 50 frames per second. Most TVs now can adapt to this with a dedicated film mode, but you should be aware of this when designing animation for a monitor.

Onion Skinning

In software such as Adobe Animate, you can draw successive frames in order to create animations. Onion skinning allows you to see feint copies of prior frames simultaneously, so that you can ensure that the motion and movement is smooth and uniform from frame to frame.

Onion skinning showing previous and upcoming frames in the animation to allow the animator to ensure even spacing and movement between frames


As described here – the process of adding frames in between key frames to give the impression of smooth movement.


Transitions are used to move from one scene to another. Common examples of transitions are:

  • Immediate ‘clean’ switch from one scene to another; this is especially effective when synchronised to music, as the scene can change in time with a beat
  • Crossfade – one scene fans out as another fades in
  • Push – a new scene pushes an old scene out of view

Camera Angles

Changing the camera angle (especially in 3D animations) can dramatically alter the feeling of a video clip. For example, switching between first and third person views.


Refers to movement of objects and scenery. Movement is commonly made using logarithmic scales: that means that instead of a steady, fixed-rate movement from A to B, the speed of movement gradually accelerates from A to the mid-point, and then decelerates until point B is reached. This looks more natural, although there is no reason all (or any) movement has to be made in this way.

Picture Duration

Pretty much as it says… If you are inserting static images into an animation – for example an information page or contact details, how long is it intended to remain on screen for. Just beware of making the duration too long (viewers lose interest) or too short (not enough time to digest the information).


In 3D animation, you animate and move objects in a low-poly, low-quality preview, because this allows you to work faster as there is no waiting for images to be drawn, lit and shaded.

When the piece is completed, it is typically rendered – this means the detail is increased, textures are applied and lighting is simulated much more realistically. This process can often take hours, even for very short animations.