Animation Basics 101

Animation Basics 101

Have you ever wondered how animation works? Or wanted to learn more about the art of visual storytelling? Watch our Animation Basics video series and follow your curiosity. For a great introduction to the series — plus some creative animation projects to try with kids — start with these 5 TED-Ed Lessons:

1. Animation Basics: The optical illusion of motion

How do animators make still images come to life? Are the images really moving, or are they merely an optical illusion? TED-Ed takes you behind the scenes to reveal the secret of motion in movies. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

2. Animation Basics: The art of timing and spacing

Expert timing and spacing is what separates a slide show from a truly amazing animation. TED-Ed demonstrates, by manipulating various bouncing balls, how the smallest adjustments from frame to frame can make all the difference. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

3. Animation Basics: Visual storytelling in action

How can animation convey complex, intangible concepts? A visual metaphor, or an idea represented through imagery, can take an idea as massive as Big Data and tie it to the familiar depiction of a growing tree. TED-Ed animators explain how to make an abstract idea come alive visually. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

4. Create a pop-up book…and then bring it to life

In ‘The Pangaea Pop-up’ Lesson, animator Biljana Labovic decided the best way to illustrate moving, shifting tectonic plates was to use a physical object that could also move and shift. Here, Labovic explains how she and her team of animators created a pop-up book to visualize Pangaea — and how you can make your own. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

5. Make homemade special effects

Animation is used everywhere to communicate big ideas — in movies, television, and media. Here, TED-Ed animators show just how easy (and fun) homemade special effects can be. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

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  1. I can’t wait to share these principles with the teachers and student in my district! Great tips from the animation team!

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