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How are animated cartoons created?

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Quick Answer

Animators make traditional two-dimensional (2D) cartoons by creating a series of drawings that are filmed or scanned and then played in quick succession to create a moving image. Three-dimensional (3D) animation relies on artists using computer software to create character models and scenes, which artists animate using the same programs and render into a final video.

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The oldest method to create animated cartoons requires drawing individual pictures, often with separate layers for moving characters and static backgrounds. Each image represents a single frame, and either 24 or 30 frames, depending on if the medium is film or video, create a single second of animation. Animators either hand-draw or create images using a computer, and each one depicts a slight movement in the characters or scene. When viewed in rapid succession, the individual images create a moving video.

Artists use computers and software to create modern animated cartoons with 3D characters and environments. The artists make a character with an invisible skeleton or ���rigging��� inside the character that can be manipulated to move it. Rather than drawing individual frames, animators set the beginning and ending positions for major movements over the course of a given time or number of frames, and the software creates the in-between motion. Animators then make adjustments for fine-tuning the movements so they seem more natural and fluid, and the animated scene is rendered into a viewable video.

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