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Small Animation Glossary

Animation drawing and cel animation
A cel, a transparent plastic (celluloid) sheet, is used. The outlines of the drawings are copied to the front and the colouring is done on the back. When using a cel the backgroud of the picture can be seen through the sheet and may thus remain the same. The background also gives depth to the picture, and a lot of work is saved. Animation drawing example Rieku and Raiku.

Wax animation
Also known as clay animation. The puppets used are made of modelling clay. Their facial expressions and positions are altered between every shot.

Puppet animation
Every move and position of a puppet are shot once or twice, after which the puppet is moved a little in order to create an optical effect of movement. Puppet animation example Nalle Luppakorva.

Nalle Luppakorva
Puppet animation
Nalle Luppakorva

Cutout animation
Also known as collage animation, sometimes as silhouette animation. The figures pieced together from cutouts are glued on plastic sheets or placed on a background. The movement is produced by moving the pieces. A technique often used in Finland. Cutout animation example Hinku and Vinku.

Hinku and Vinku
Cutout animation
Hinku and Vinku

Computer animation
The images and animation are generated by using a computer.

Object animation
A computer animation, the figures in which can be any objects: insects, shoes, scissors, coffee beans, potatoes or gloves. Between shots, the objects are moved with 3D technique.


  • Slash technique – Only the moving parts of a drawn picture which is divided into smaller units are re-drawn.
  • Stop-motion technique – Shooting and moving an object or a puppet picture by picture.
  • Replacing technique – Replacing parts of objects and puppets instead of moving them.

Animaation historia ja tekniikat, Antti Haikala, Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulu, 2000. Animaation avainsanoja, Heikki Jokinen, Filmihullu 06/01 Animaatioelokuvat, Juho Gratz, Suomen elokuvasäätiö, 1978

TEXT: Ülle Pani
TRANSLATION: Terhi Kinnarinen
PHOTOS: Tampere Film Festival

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