Brush Ninja Animated Gif Creator

Glossary of Animation Terms

Animating can be a lot of fun, but sometimes words are used that aren’t common in day to day speech. This article attempts to explain the most common ones.


An animation is made up of a series of frames that play one after the other. Each frame is a single image.

Key Frames

Key poses from the animation are known as key frames. These are where changes of action or position take place. In traditional animation these were done by the most experienced, most senior artists. The tweens would be done by the less senior members of the team.

Onion Skinning

When drawing frames one by one it can be hard to make smooth animations. Getting the timing and positioning right is difficult. Onion skinning shows you a semi transparent version of previous and upcoming frames so that you can draw the current frame appropriately.

Tweening & Tweens

When animating it is often easier to draw the key poses first, and then to add the inbetween positions after. This is called tweening, and the individual frames are called tweens.

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