What are Frames in Animation? | Dive into the Basics

What Is Frame in Animation: A Dive into the Basics

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Whether you’re an animator or an animation enthusiast, the secret of appealing art techniques lies in a frame. Now, the main question arises: “What are frames in animation?

The frame in animation is essentially a unique collection of images. It can be seen quickly, one after another, and gives the impression of motion in animation. These frames are frequently presented at a particular frame rate, which is commonly stated in frames per second, or FPS, to give the impression that the animation is smooth and continuous to the audience. Every frame is a still image, but when numerous frames are shown quickly, one after another, they give the impression of movement, much like in a flipbook or movie reel.

So, in this article, we are going to explore the use of frames in animation and the types of frames in animation commonly used.

How Do Animations Use Frames?

Since we’ve already discussed what is frame animation, it’s time to learn how to use these frames in an animation. To make an animation, gather all the images in one location. Then, open that image in the Timeline window as the first new frame of animation. In the Layers panel, every frame you add begins as a duplicate of the frame that came before it.

In the Timeline panel, a small border surrounding the thumbnail of frames indicates the current frame. In the thumbnails, the hand-selected frames are distinguished by a shadow that covers the frame’s climax. If desired, you can also pick and rearrange multiple frames. Dragging numerous frames at once to align them all in one spot is a simple process.

Although an animation in slow motion needs additional frames to appear smooth to the viewer, a scene in slow motion does not appear slow if you don’t capture it at a high frame rate. Built-in sketching tools, clip art, and route animation options may also be used to make animated cartoons.

Background music, sound effects, and story can all be integrated seamlessly with many soundtracks. Communication, creativity, visual and aural literacy, and project management skills are all enhanced by the process of crafting a digital story. Frames can help you engage your audience with features like zoom and pan, the ability to modify the time of the frame to capture sound, and much more.      

Related topic: What Is Animation?

Types of Frames in Animation

Every type of frame is designed with a specific animation goal in mind, which means that two frames are never the same. So, let’s start reviewing the different types of frames that can be found on an animation timeline:           

1. Placeholder Frames

A placeholder frame is a rectangular box that can house pi frames. The timeline’s grid indicates the location of the events at any particular moment. The timeline of a Flash project is mainly made up of frames that Flash creates on its own without your input when you first launch it.

You’ll never be able to create placeholder frames on your own, no matter how hard you try. Your movie or animated film will not play if all of the layers in the timeline include placeholder frames since it requires actual frames on at least one layer to function.        

2. Keyframes

A keyframe can be used to execute an action or create a visual alteration to your animation frame. For frame-by-frame animation, keyframes are required since each frame must be changed individually. A tweened animation, on the other hand, requires two keyframes: one to start the tween and another to end it.

Changes that take place in between keyframes don’t require the addition of further keyframes because Flash takes care of this automatically. Although most keyframes contain visual content, if a movie element is taken out of animation, it may also be empty.

By default, Layer 1’s Frame 1 of a newly created Flash project has a blank keyframe. A solid black dot shows a keyframe with visible content; a hollow dot indicates a keyframe without any content; and a small dot indicates a keyframe with an accompanying action.    

3. Regular Frames

Regular frames have the same content as keyframes that come after them. Perplexed? Let us first present the information. A keyframe marks a shift in the timeline, and the duration of that shift is determined by the regular frames that follow.

In your animated frame video, for example, a walking animation begins with the introduction of a mid-level cinematic element: On a keyframe, the element would be placed in frame 1. It is possible to make Frames 2 through 10 regular frames (because the element does not move or change during these frames play) and then add a keyframe at Frame 11 while indicating a change of position on stage.

The series of standard frames that come after a keyframe is known as a keyframe sequence. The timeline may have any number of keyframes. If a regular frame in a sequence contains graphical content that is visible on stage, it will look gray after the keyframe in a sequence. If a keyframe is empty, the regular frames that come after it display white. 

4. Tweened Frames

When a “tweened frame” is used, there are always two keyframes and any number of frames in between. Every keyframe is combined with computed images.

Tweening in Flash may be done in two different ways: motion and shape. Motion tweening allows symbols, groupings, and text blocks to alter their sizes, locations, rotations, and other characteristics. The shape-tweening method can be used to change a basic shape into another.

If you wish to tween many components at once, each tween needs to be set on its layer. You are, therefore, unable to alternate between distinct video elements on the same layer at the same time.

A light-blue backdrop and a black arrow identify the transitional frames between two keyframes in a motion-tweened sequence. A shape-tweened sequence is divided into two keyframes: a light-green background and a black arrow.   

Summing Up – Choosing a Frame-by-Frame Animation Partner!

Animations are becoming an increasingly popular addition to video marketing strategies used by organizations. But, not every business has the funds or available space to employ an animation team. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot produce exceptional animated videos for your company.

Choosing the right animation partner is your best bet. We, as the best animation studio, can offer you excellent video animation services. With our exceptional animation talents, our dedicated team is capable of bringing about groundbreaking improvements in your marketing initiatives. With experience in almost every niche and video style, we can offer just what you need! Let’s talk for more.

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Hira Farooq

Hira Farooq

Hira Farooq is a creative content and copywriter with years of experience in the animation and tech industry. With a profound understanding, she expertly blends her creative competence with technical insights to craft content that engages the audience and converts them. Her commitment to excellence is evident in her work, making her an indispensable asset in the digital industry within these ever-evolving business landscapes.