Animation is a dynamic medium in which images or objects are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent celluloid sheets to be photographed and exhibited on film. Today most animations are made with computer-generated imagery (CGI). Computer animation can be very detailed 3D animation, while 2D computer animation can be used for stylistic reasons, low bandwidth or faster real-time renderings. Other common animation methods apply a stop motion technique to two and three-dimensional objects like paper cutouts, puppets or clay figures. The stop motion technique where live actors are used as a frame-by-frame subject is known as pixilation.
Match moving is primarily used to track the movement of a camera through a shot so that an identical virtual camera move can be reproduced in a 3D animation program. When new animated elements are composited back into the original live-action shot, they will appear in perfectly matched perspective and therefore appear seamless
Visual effects involve in the integration of live-action footage (special effects) and generated imagery (digital effects) to create environments which look realistic, but would be dangerous, expensive, impractical, time consuming or impossible to capture on film. Visual effects using computer-generated imagery (CGI) have recently become accessible to the independent filmmaker with the introduction of affordable and easy-to-use animation and compositing software.
Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object, system or measurable human interaction (as in architectural blueprints, engineering drawings, business processes, circuit diagrams, and sewing patterns). Design has different connotations in different fields (see design disciplines below). In some cases, the direct construction of an object (as in pottery, engineering, management, coding, and graphic design) is also considered to use design thinking.
Rotoscoping has often been used as a tool for visual effects in live-action movies. By tracing an object, the moviemaker creates a silhouette (called a matte) that can be used to extract that object from a scene for use on a different background. While blue- and green-screen techniques have made the process of layering subjects in scenes easier, rotoscoping still plays a large role in the production of visual effects imagery. Rotoscoping in the digital domain is often aided by motion-tracking and onion-skinning software. Rotoscoping is often used in the preparation of garbage mattes for other matte-pulling processes.
Images that are generated by a computer using three-dimensional modelling software or other computer software for presentation purposes are commonly termed "Computer Generated Renderings". Rendering techniques vary. Some methods create simple flat images or images with basic shadows. A popular technique uses sophisticated software to approximate accurate lighting and materials. This technique is often referred to as a "Photo Real" rendering. Renderings are usually created for presentation, marketing and design analysis purposes.