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Glossary of Common Computer Animation Terms

What's "tweening"? How do you "key" an animation? When the lingo starts to get baffling, just check this list of commonly-used terms to brush up on your animation vocabulary.

Glossary: Motion Graphics
What is Motion Graphics, and how does it differ from animation?

What is the Flash Document Class?
The Flash document class is a place to store code.

What is a Virtual Camera?
We hear mention of virtual cameras often in animation...but is there really a miniature photographic / video recording device inside our computer?

What is an Instance in Flash?
flash instances, symbols, copies, manipulating instances, changing instances, symbol timelines, flash movie clip, flash graphic, flash symbol, flash button, flash library

What is Silverlight?
Silverlight is an application development platform that integrates rich media to further blur the line between development tools and design software.

Animated Graphics Definition: What are Animated Graphics?
The term "animated graphics" can cover many things.

Layer Definition: What is a Layer?
Layers can be confusing for some people, especially when they're used to painting or drawing on a flat surface.

Inverse Kinematics
Inverse kinematics is a form of physics used in animation to determine the movements of jointed constructs.

Light Table

2D Animation

3D Animation

ActionScript

Animation

Anticipation

Array

Aspect Ratio

Background Painting

Balance

Bone

Cartoon

Cel

CGI

Clean-Up

Computer Animation

Cracking

Demo Reel

Depth of Field

Dope Sheet

Dry Brush Technique

Embed

Field

Flip Book

Frame Rate

Frame

Graphical User Interface

Graphics Tablet

Key Frame

Listener

Map

Maquette

Matrix

Overlay

Phenakistoscope

Persistence of Vision

Pixel

Raster

Render

Rostrum Camera

Rotoscoping

Separation

Squash and Stretch

Stop-Motion Animation

Timeline

Title Cards

Tween

Vector Animation

Vector

Zoetrope

Glossary: Function
In Flash, a function defines a block of ActionScripted code.

Glossary: Listener
In Flash Actionscripts, a listener does just that: listens for a certain event to happen before it triggers another event.

Glossary: If/If Statement
In scripting, the "if" has become more than a conjunction in the English language.

What is Alpha?
When referring to animation, what does "alpha" mean?

What is an Animation Timeline?
In animation, a timeline refers to the breakdown of frames sequenced over time.

What is Exposure?
You may be familiar with the term "exposure" in photography terms, but what does it mean in animation?

What is a Maquette?
Baguette? No, maquette - and unless you like the taste of clay or plaster, it's definitely not edible.

What is a Breakdown?
Having a nervous breakdown over your breakdowns? Don't; they're just simple in-betweens that hold a pivotal position in your animation sequence.

What is a 3D Polygon?
What do polygons mean in 3d modeling and animation?

What Is an Animation Stand?
An animation stand is basically just a flat surface that acts as the stage for animation filming.

What Are Morph Targets?
Morph targets are essential tools in facial animation, speech animation, and other types of animation that require more fluid changes than bone animation can provide.

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