Animation can be a powerful way to connect to an audience and a memorable approach to conveying messages or stories to people. They can be used for various platforms such as online video streaming, TV, social media, and so on to attract old and potential customers.

Moreover, you can produce original and captivating content to share with your target audience by working with a professional animation company or a skilled freelancer.

What’s even better is that the appeal of animation is not only confined by reality. Anyone looking for a creative way to create their next video project can choose the most effective animation styles that will engage an audience and convey a message. And truly, your imagination is only your limit.

15 Animation Styles You Need To Know For Your Next Project

Choosing the Right Animation Style to Suit Your Business Needs

But the challenge for businesses is which of the animation styles available today are the perfect fit for them. It is important to choose the right style that would complement the brand’s needs and goals as different animation styles offer various tones.

This is why we’ll take a closer look at the most popular styles for creating animated marketing videos to help you decide the right fit for your brand goals and needs to connect with your audience.

Here’s a quick rundown of the animation styles we will cover in this article:

  1. Traditional Animation

  2. 2D Animation

  3. 3D Animation

  4. Stop Motion Animation

    • Claymation

    • Puppet Animation

    • Pixilation

    • Cut-out

    • Silhouette

  5. Typography Animation

  6. Motion Graphics

  7. Augmented Reality Animation

  8. Rotoscope Animation

Traditional Animation

Perhaps, this is one of the animation styles that we are most familiar with. In this animation, characters were drawn frame-by-frame and transferred onto clear acetate sheets called “cels” (short for celluloid) for painting. This is also where the term “cel animation” originated.

In this animation style, each piece has been hand-drawn by an artist, giving it that timeless, classic look best seen in Disney movies.

What’s good about this style is it has a unique touch that can give the images warmth and personality which can sometimes be challenging to replicate digitally. Traditional animation is best used in character-based content and videos intended to increase viewers’ empathy and engagement.

How Traditional Animation Style is Created

Traditional animation can be created entirely using paper or digitally, or a combination of both. But the important thing is that hand-drawn animators still create their drawings frame by frame using the same techniques and concepts when paper and cels were the norms.

The animation process involves each hand-drawn character being a little bit different from the previous one. These drawings are fed into plastic cells filled with different colours to match the desired image where they are photographed one by one in an animated sequence with a painted background in it.

The use of computer animation

Today, most hand-drawn animators no longer use paper and instead sketch directly into the computer using a drawing tablet. Almost all animation studios stopped using cels in the 1990s and switched to scanning drawings into computers for digital colouring.

One of the downsides of traditional animation is that it takes longer to produce and is an expensive option due to its hand-drawn nature. But with recent technology, digital tools are used for tasks like colouring to duplicate the same feel with a much faster technique. Additionally, computers help creators to lower the costs of the animation process as it already eliminates the use of acetate sheets and inks.

2D Animation

One of the most commonly used animation styles today is two-dimensional animation or 2D animation, which refers to the creation of animated characters and backgrounds in flat, two-dimensional space.

The objects are either hand-drawn or digitally produced, and they only have the dimensions of width and height (no thickness). Some of the most popular examples are Disney animations like The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi and so on.

How 2D animation style is created

The process of 2D animation consists of 3 phases: pre-production, production, and post-production.


The pre-production includes story development, script writing, character designs, storyboarding, choosing colour palettes, background preparation, and voice-overs.

In this step, a script should cover all the visual actions and storyline, while the storyboard is created based on the script. The storyboard serves as a visual representation of the sequence of actions and events in an organised manner.

Then, characters are created, including the backgrounds and other visual elements of the animation. After that has been set, animators will then decide on the colour palettes of characters, objects and lighting.


Production is where all created assets are gathered to produce the scenes. This includes the character activities, animation, tracing or cleaning up the animation, colouring, compositing, and exporting. Animators create an exposure sheet that has all the instructions on how to make each scene which is divided into 5 parts such as actions and timing, dialogues and music, animation layers, backgrounds, and view perspective. 


Post-production is the final phase of 2D animation where it is enhanced with sound effects or voice-overs to boost the emotional connection of the animation to the audience. Once ready, the animated video is rendered and exported in different formats.

Uses of 2D Animation Styles

2D animation is one of the popular video marketing styles used by businesses today. What makes it so appealing is it creates smooth, clear, and lively 2D images. It is most notable in straightforward storytelling animations when you need to deliver a concept clearly and quickly just like this McDonald’s Singapore wellness campaign produced by Superpixel Animation Studio.

3D Animation

3D animation is a process that involves moving images in a three-dimensional environment, making the illusion that these animated objects and characters are moving in a 3D space. The animation process happens by using computer software to create and manipulate the objects and sometimes use hardware like motion capture (mo-cap) devices.

How 3D animation style is created

The basic 3D animation process includes modelling, layout and animation, and rendering. 

In the modelling phase, animators produce 3D objects using a modelling tool or by scanning real objects that serve as the basis for animation. Whether you use a modelling tool or scan real objects, textures are applied to give them a more realistic look and personality.

The next phase is layout and animation. When models are completed, they are positioned and animated in a particular scene. This is also where a layout needs to be determined to create a set with additional key objects in it. Next, objects and characters are now animated and models within the scene are given life through keyframing or motion capture technique.

The next phase is layout and animation. When models are completed, they are positioned and animated in a particular scene. This is also where a layout needs to be determined to create a set with additional key objects in it. Next, objects and characters are now animated and models within the scene are given life through keyframing or motion capture technique.

Uses of 3D Animation Styles

3D animation used to be seen in video games, films, and TV shows. Today, it is used in various industries, including medicine, architecture, production, advertising, and full-length cartoon movies.

This informative campaign made for Health Promotion Board Singapore by SuperPixel also uses 3D animation to educate Singaporeans about the incorrect use of antibiotics.

Stop Motion Animation

Stop motion animation is a technique that involves moving a physical object in small increments and capturing each step. There are various types of stop motion, but they all involve moving actual, physical objects. In this animation style, the objects are moved just enough to be captured, one frame at a time to make an illusion of movement when viewed in succession.

The most common uses of this style are in commercials, music videos, TV shows, and major feature films. However, this process takes a long time to complete because it only uses 12 frames per second.

Let’s look at the different animation styles using stop motion animation.

Different Styles of Stop Motion Animation

There are different styles of stop motion and it varies depending on the object being captured.

1. Claymation

Clay animation or claymation involves animating clay figures in each frame that produces an illusion of movement. In claymation, creators combine unique creatures made of clay and use wires to connect each part to present a story or message on the screen. 

Each small clay figure is captured one frame at a time and later on combined so these images can create an animated sequence.

2. Puppet Animation

Puppet animation is another stop motion style that uses puppet figures that are animated frame-by-frame. Instead of using clay puppets, animators use traditional puppets, which are often made using a skeleton rig. Animators create a physical three-dimensional scene, like a small theatre, where the scene takes place.

The puppets have an armature (flexible skeleton) so they can be positioned smoothly. The armature prevents the puppets from doing unnecessary movements keeping them steady when animators are taking photos to be used for each frame.

3. Pixilation

Another stop motion style is pixilation in which live actors are shot frame-by-frame to simulate movement. The results looked like an animated movie where objects around them move without being touched by a human.

The term “pixilation” seems to come from the word pixilated which is a reference to someone or something under the influence of pixies or fairies. Furthermore, pixilation is often described with jerky and unnatural-looking movement with the surreal and fantastical subject.

The earliest example of the pixilation animation style is the 1908 film Hôtel électrique where objects are used around the characters in a way that affects the narrative without the person touching them.

4. Cut-out

Cut-out animation is another stop motion style that creates characters using shapes cutouts from paper, fabric or cardboard. It’s a style that was adapted to a lot of children’s shows, giving the impression that a storybook had come to life.

A cutout figure is created by connecting the pieces at the joints, or the pieces may be fixed in place for easy replacement using wires or tapes. Then, like a stop motion puppet, they are moved and photographed frame by frame. The pilot episode of the American sitcom ‘South Park’ was created using cut-out animation.

What’s even better is that these colourful, cutout images can turn into digital versions creating a unique and creative approach to an animated video. It’s a style that can be used in narrative-based marketing videos and explainer videos where it only requires basic character animations.

Check out this animated video made for Brother Inkjet Printer by Superpixel that is inspired by cut-out animation.

5. Silhouette

In the same style as cut-out animation which uses flat materials like cardboard, silhouette animation solely uses silhouettes to portray the entire scene.

This animation uses characters and objects in the scene where it is completely black and it is only the background that has colour making it look like a scene in silhouette. It is considered one of the earliest forms of stop motion and was invented by German animator Lotte Reiniger.

Typography Animation

Typographic animation, often known as kinetic typography, is making texts come to life. This technique first appeared in a French advertisement that featured moving letters in 1899.

However, it took another 60 years for the style to gain popularity, partly as a result of Alfred Hitchcock’s spy thriller film North by Northwest which uses kinetic typography.

This animation style is frequently used to present statistical information or survey results. It’s also useful as a visual approach to focus on a motivational or emotional recorded speech.

This is also the best animation style for e-learning content to make lengthy and monotonous lectures more appealing to its audience. Check out this typography animation style produced for Courts Black Friday campaign by Superpixel.

Motion Graphics

Motion graphics are also called graphics in motion. Furthermore, motion graphics has grown to become one of the most recognized animation techniques in video and content marketing.

Compared to other animation styles, motion graphics tend to have less of a concrete storytelling element and instead focus on adding movement to graphic design elements. While proper animated characters are typically outside the scope of motion graphics, many of the basic animation principles also apply to this technique.

Here’s the explainer video ‘Epson Be Cool Sustainable Technology‘ produced by Superpixel which uses motion graphics.

Augmented Reality Animation

Augmented reality animation refers to the use of animated objects to enhance AR experiences as it combines computer graphics with actual footage. A platform like Snapchat’s live filter, which enables users to see themselves as pirates or experiment with different hairstyles virtually, is a good example of this animation style.

The same concept can be used with any gadget that connects the digital and physical worlds, such as a mobile phone, tablet, or virtual reality headset. It frequently uses 3D technologies and is widely used in game development. Moreover, 3D models and characters appear more realistic making them a perfect fit for augmented reality.

To give users a sense of total immersion, augmented reality animation is frequently used in the development of AR games. This video from Ikea’s promotion of their AR app describes what augmented reality would look like.

Rotoscope Animation

The rotoscope animation style is the process of creating animated sequences by tracing live-action footage frame-by-frame. This process produces lifelike characters moving as if they were in the real world.

The artist does this by purposefully transferring each frame of the video from the film. This was created using tracing paper before the rotoscope was created. This is also how the Disney characters in the 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs achieved their flowing movements.

A Scanner Darkly, a 2006 sci-fi film used this animation style to produce a unique appearance. This technique captures the kind of realistic movements that would need weeks to create from scratch and provides a powerful visual impact.

Which of the animation styles is the right fit?

It might be a little overwhelming knowing all these animation styles which can be used to connect and communicate with your target audience. Working with a professional animation studio gives you access to a team that has the knowledge and experience to find the most effective ways and animation styles to express the ideas you need to meet your needs and goals.

Work with a Professional Animation Production Company

SuperPixel is an animation studio that has produced every type of animated content possible for some of the most respected brands in and outside Singapore. You will work with a team that has the expertise and creativity needed to find the best possible ways to reach your objectives.

Chat with us today and let SuperPixel help your visions come to life using the right animation style that will suit your business needs and goals.