Using keyframes from a storyboard and editing and displaying them in sequence with a rough dialogue and/or rough sound track to test whether the sound and images are working effectively together; A rough animated storyboard used to give some idea about the timing of a sequence. Typically for production purposes only.


Sequences of still images to create the optical illusion of movement.


something expected (as on the basis of a norm); or the act of predicting

Aspect Ratio

the mathematical fraction detailing the relationship between width and hone-third of a piece (e.g. 4:3, 16:9, etc.). Old TVs and Computer Monitors are usually about 4:3—a 1024 x 768 monitor is exactly 4:3. Newer “Widescreen” formats will be a higher ration, 16:9 being a standard american film widescreen format. A common widescreen computer monitor ratio is 8:5.


putting in basic timing and poses to communicate where one is going with an animated scene

Breaking Down a Shot

carefully explaining, step by step, what happens in a scene — part of storyboarding (or reverse storyboarding)

Classical Mechanics

One of the two major sub-fields of mechanics, which is concerned with the set of physical laws mathematically describing the motions of bodies under the action of a system of forces. Basically, Classical Mechanics describes everyday motion and forces—running, jumping, falling, crashing cars, launching rockets, etc.


Observing the parts but perceiving the whole. It is your brain completing a picture (or scene, or environment, etc.) for you, even though you have only some of the parts … Completing that which is incomplete based on past experience.

Deep Time

the idea of Geological Time; time scales not easily graspable through terms of human lifetimes, or even the span of human history


representing something as far better or worse than it really is (or far greater, smaller, longer, shorter, faster, slower, farther, nearer … whatever)


Animation style where every single frame is created on its own. This would be traditional animation, stop-motion, clay-mation, flipbooks, etc.


The number of frames displayed per second for a given animation. This is typically labelled as FPS — as in Frames-per-second. About 30 FPS (actually 29.97 fps) for normal American TV. For stop-motion or frame-by-frame animation you need at least 12 FPS to make any motion seem semi-smooth.


The smallest unit of animation—a single still image or other item.


a message that is introduced or inserted — often a viewer does this themselves into something you’ve created


The first + last frames of each short action sequence.


A Change over Time.


an acount; a tale; a story

Newton’s Laws

The three laws that form the basis for Classical Mechanics. They enable the prediction of the path of any object from a grain of sand to a planet:

  1. A body will remain at rest or move with a constant velocity unless acted upon by an outside force.
  2. The acceleration of a body is proportional to the applied force. This is expressed by the universal formula: Force = mass × acceleration.
  3. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.


Speed of action or events.

Persistence of Vision

The phenomenon of the eye by which an afterimage is thought to persist for approximately one twenty-fifth of a second on the retina. A Newton disc takes advantage of this principle, as do most animation techniques.


pattern of changes in pace and tension


  • is, in its broadest sense, any systematic knowledge-base or prescriptive practice that is capable of resulting in a correct prediction, or reliably-predictable type of outcome.
  • The systematic study of humans and their environment based on the deductions and inferences which can be made, and the general laws which can be formulated, from reproducible observations and measurements of events and parameters within the universe.
  • skill: ability to produce solutions in some problem domain
  • a particular branch of scientific knowledge

Secondary Action

An action that results directly from another action. Secondary actions are important in heightening interest and adding a realistic complexity to the animation.


selecting, designing, adapting to, or modifying the performance space; the look of the performance; the result of this process, in other words the spectacle that a play presents in performance, its visual detail. (for GD purposes “performance” refers to the animations and content contained in the motion graphic itself)

Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of disbelief or “willing suspension of disbelief” is a formula for justifying the use of fantastic or non-realistic elements in literature. It was put forth in English by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a "human interest and a semblance of truth" into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative. The phrase "suspension of disbelief" came to be used more loosely in the later 20th century, often used to imply that the onus was on the reader, rather than the writer, to achieve it. It might be used to refer to the willingness of the audience to overlook the limitations of a medium, so that these do not interfere with the acceptance of those premises. These fictional premises may also lend to the engagement of the mind and perhaps proposition of thoughts, ideas, art and theories.


of, pertaining to, limited by, or generally dealing with time


A map of some period of Time …


(short for In-Betweens)
Frames that fill the gaps between keyframes.


This typically refers to automatically generating the paths or frames inbetween keyframes. This is what most motion software does for you — AfterFX, Flash, even Photoshops animation tool allows for this.