top of page

Why use Character Animation?

Excited kid in a garden using two twigs as drum sticks
BBC Sonic Explorers - Original series by Tentacle Media

Character animation is quite simply, giving something animated... character!

It's vital to have great character animation otherwise, just like in real world acting, you don't invest in the performance.

You understand what an animated character is thinking or feeling, through the way they communicate on screen.

Whether that's a dramatic scene in an Animated TV Show, or a character learning how to use a ladder for an Animated Internal Training Video.

A black, red and white sketch of a man in high top trainers, ripped shorts, flannel waistcoat, trucker cap, sunglasses and a long beard, performing a throwing action.
Tentacle Original Character Design

Why is Character Animation Awesome?

Animated people, pets, structures, clothing, even the world famous Disney Pixar lamp has a distinct character.

It can make a much more effective means of storytelling, not only for entertainment but for Advertising, Educating, E-Learning, Internal Communication and much more.

Characters can come in an endless variety of styles, shapes and sizes, representing people from any background or being deliberately indistinct.

How long is a piece of string... if it was a character?

Developing Character Designs is one of our favourite parts of Animation Production process and over the years we've animated a wide array of unique characters with unique purpose.

A dark grey cat puppet wearing a tie in a garden shed.
Billy Whiskers - Award winning Stop Motion Film by Tentacle Media

From a Stop Motion Animation ace cat detective 'Billy Whiskers'. To bringing to life the historical map pioneer and geologist 'William Smith', using hand drawn frame by frame Animation.

A hand drawn watercolour style man, looking at a rocky landscape while sitting on the back of a horse drawn cart.
'William Smith' Colours beneath your feet - Animated Series about pioneer mapmaker by Tentacle Media

Different styles and levels of Animation can be achieved with different budgets, so the key is to keep the character traits and purpose at the core of the Design, Expression and Motion.

Character details can be simple shapes or realistically lifelike. They might be silent or they could be narrating on screen content. All these variables can be carefully developed between you and the Animator or Designer to make your content fit for purpose.

Tips for finding what works!

2D Animation, 3D Animation, Stop Motion Animation, Hand Drawn Cell Animation... where do you begin?

With the character of course!

Asking who, what, where, when and why, will help you understand the purpose of the character. Are they going to teach children how to cross a road or show the impact of carbon emissions. Will this character uncover a lost work of art or promote the latest piece of digital technology.

We specialise in 3 styles of animation

  • Hand Drawn frame by frame

  • 2D Digital Animation

  • Stop Motion Animation

Hand Drawn Animation like the early Disney films is an iconic animation style, however it can involve lengthy production times as each frame of Animation is drawn the painted by hand on clear sheets known as cells.

A man in a spacesuit leaning in a dynamic pose, zapping a large tentacle creature with a laser gun.
Out of Touch! - Tentacle Original Short Film

As technology and techniques have developed this method has been sped up, but it is still slow to produce. However it can create unique and beautiful animation sequences. We have used this in our short film Out of Touch where the animation was drawn frame by frame in Adobe Photoshop.

2D Digital Animation is faster to produce and can be achieved using digital character rigs. The character is Designed and connected to controllers, which manipulate the Design without the need to re-draw every frame. These rigs are built in software such as Toon Boom, Adobe Animate or even After Effects.

They are less versatile than hand drawn animation but make the production process much faster. These can also be used in conjunction with frame by frame animation to allow them to be more versatile. We use these often, a good example is in our Sonic Explorers project for BBC Education.

A kid in a submarine is looking through a round window. A large red squid is peering back at the kid from the ocean depths.
BBC Sonic Explorers - Original series by Tentacle Media

Stop Motion Character Animation is an alternative style that’s popular with younger audiences. A style that includes something more tangible, either a physical puppet or model that is moved in tiny increments then photographed for each frame of the animation.

These are then sequenced in playback much like that of hand drawn animation. Stop Motion is always evolving, techniques with paper cut outs, felt, photographs and plasticine are some of many that are popular in the industry today. This can be seen in our Award Winning short film Exhibit-A

A stop motion character space wizard inside a large space craft. The walls are covered in various pieces of art
Exhibit A! - Award winning Stop Motion film by Tentacle Media

How can character animation benefit me?

Whether it's a promotional video or a blockbuster film, character animation can be a more visually appealing format to engage, teach or entertain your audience. Reflect your audience, take them to places they've never been, or engage with the versatility or an actor or presenter.

If you're looking for a way to engage your audience, create memorable content, and reach a wide audience, character animation is a great option.

We love Character Animation, so feel free to drop us a message and chat all things Animated. We're always happy to help and remember, never underestimate the power of animation!


bottom of page