What Is Frame By Frame Animation? All you Need To Know

Frame by frame animation is a process of creating an animation by tracing the movement of individual images on a screen one after the other. This method was first used to create cartoons, which are usually composed of hundreds or even thousands of frames.

Many people are familiar with traditional animation methods, like cel animation. However, there have been other forms of animation used over the years. In this article, we will discuss famous frame by frame animation.

The history of frame by frame animation

Frame by frame animation is created by renowned animator Eli Fischoff and dates back to the early 1900s. The collection includes work by Fischoff s students.

In 1928, Walt Disney produced his first animated short film called Steamboat Willie. This film used the flipbook technique which gave it the unique look that is now associated with Disney films. In 1935, Oswald Avery produced his first cartoon using the rotoscoping technique, allowing for more realistic animations.

frame by frame animation drawing
Frame by frame animation technique

Equally innovative is the 1968 film “Sand, or Peter and the Wolf” by filmmaker Caroline J. Leaf ’68. Leaf’s work is one of the earliest and best examples of the use of sand in animation, as she creates an ethereal, shape-shifting set of grainy black and white characters. 

the process of creating a frame by frame animation

2D Animation is very similar to Frame By Animation if you understand how 2D Animation works. Today, most animations are created using computer software, which makes the process much faster and easier. However, the principles of animation are still the same, in earlier times, artists drew frames of individual images by hand and then added them one after another to give the audience the effect of animation. A different device that was used in the preliminary stages is generally called a flipbook animation machine.

You could say that throughout the 20th century, making frame-by-frame animation was the only means of creating animation.

flipbook animation
FlipBook Animation

Types of Frame by Frame Animation

There are four types of Frame by frame animations method which are still being used:

  1. FlipBook Animation– When you flip pages in a book to create the illusion that the image is changing, that’s flipbook animation.
  2. Traditional 2D Animation– Traditional 2D animation involves drawing up each individual frame. Because you need to reconstruct a common scene by drawing each frame individually, the process is time-consuming and requires a high degree of skill.
  3. Stop Motion Animation– Stop-motion animation is a method of giving an inanimate object the appearance of motion. It can be accomplished by creating various changes within the object between frames.
  4. Rotoscoping Animation– Rotoscoping is a kind of 2D animation in which drawings are made over single-frame live-action video.

Do Animators Still Use Frame by Frame Animation

Are animators still using frame by frame animation? The answer may surprise you. While the technique is not as popular as it once was, many animators still rely on it for certain tasks. Here’s why:

Frame by frame animation offers a high degree of control over the movement of an object onscreen. This allows animators to create detailed and accurate animations that are difficult or impossible to achieve with other techniques. Additionally, frame by frame animation is relatively simple to learn and use, making it a good option for novice animators.

Despite its popularity, however, frame by frame animation has lost some appeal in recent years. This is due in part to the availability of more advanced animation software that can achieve similar results without requiring such intensive labor-intensive workflows. Additionally, many viewers now find animations created with this technique to be dated and outdated.

Do you want to know what is the future of 2D Animation?


From my experience as a professional animator, I know that digital 2d animation is the frame-by-frame animation at this time. We’ve switched to drawing tablets instead of paper and pencil. But the principles of animation are still the same.

As the world transitions to a more digital age, the future of frame by frame animation looks bright. Thanks to advances in technology, studios can now create high-quality animations with ease. And because frame by frame animation is such an old technique, there is plenty of precedent for new and innovative ways to use it.