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Animation is a technique in which figures are modified such that they seem to be moving pictures on a screen. Traditional animation involves the creation of pictures by hand on translucent celluloid sheets, which are then shot and shown on film. Nowadays, the majority of animations are created using computer-generated images (CGI). In certain cases, computer animation may take the form of highly complex 3D models, while in other cases, 2D computer animation (which may have the appearance of conventional animation) might be employed for aesthetic reasons, minimal bandwidth requirements, or quicker real-time renderings. The stop motion technique is used to two- and three-dimensional items such as paper cutouts, puppets, and clay figurines in other popular animation techniques as well.

A common method of achieving the impression of animation is to show a fast sequence of consecutive pictures that are just slightly different from one another. According to current thinking, the illusion—as well as the movement of the camera in general—is based on the phi phenomena and beta movement, although the precise reasons are still up in the air. The phénakisticope, the zoetrope, the flip book, the praxinoscope, and film are all examples of analogue mechanical animation mediums that depend on the fast presentation of consecutive pictures. Electronic animation mediums such as television and video are widely used nowadays. Originally analogue, these media are now operated digitally. The development of computer-display methods such as animated GIFs and Flash animation was a major step forward.

Animation is more prevalent than most people are aware of. Animated GIFs and other forms of media dedicated to the display of moving images, such as short films, feature films, television series, and other media dedicated to the display of moving images, are also common. Animation is also prevalent in online games, computer animation, interfaces, and visual effects.