The Magic of Aardman education resource

Types of animation

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There are many different ways to animate. A familiar contemporary animation form is 3D animation (CG), a type of animation associated with Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks.

Other studios and independent animators continue to use a range of animation techniques. Studio Ghibli, the people responsible for some of Japan’s most endearing and enduring animated films, such as Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbour Totoro, use a version of 2D hand-drawn animation.

Aardman Studios are famous for a form of stop motion called 'claymation', used on productions such as Shaun the Sheep and Chicken Run


First, make a list of 3-5 animated films or TV series you've seen or know of. We'll come back to this list later.

Now, let's find out about animation and build on what you already know. Collect examples of as many different types of animation as you can discover.

Present your discoveries with a digital mind-map, using software that enables you to include images or even videos.

A free and easy online visual mapping software is You don’t have to register, simply follow the link, click ‘Get Started’, and then ‘Create a New Map’.

Find an example of each of these animation types:

Stop-motion animation

- cut-out animation (2D with paper)

- claymation (using clay figurines and objects)

3D animation (computer-generated)

- digital 3D animation

- digital 2D animation

- motion capture animation

2D animation

- 2D cel animation

- digital 2D (computer-animated)

- 2D animation and live-action hybrid

Place them on your visual map.

Include technical information about how these styles of animation are created. You could include clips or images from the animations you list to enhance your mind-map. 

Remember the list of animated films and TV series from earlier? Revisit that list and identify which animation styles they are.

Think: what new things did you discover about animation? What surprised you? What did you already know about?

Watch: now you've done your own research, watch the video The 5 Types of Animation - do you think video covers all the different types of animation?

Next module

History of animation

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