Unit 33: 2D Animation Production
NQF Level 3: BTEC National
Guided learning hours: 60

Unit abstract
Animation has become an increasingly important media form and examples can be
seen in platforms as different as advertising, feature films, mobile phone content,
the internet and television. Good animation skills are also important in the computer
games industry.

The animation industry includes both large production companies and individuals
working on small digital projects. Animation on all scales requires people with fresh,
exciting ideas for new work, whilst larger companies will need individuals with
specialist skills, such as storyboarding and ‘tweening,’ or the evidence to prove that
they can develop them. This unit provides learners with the opportunity to develop
their competence in both areas of work.

To have a successful career in animation requires, first of all, good drawing skills, as
these are a key requisite to get into the industry. Second, it requires the ability to
develop fresh ideas for content which will engage the chosen audience. Also, a good
animator will take into account at all stages the role of animation as communication,
whether this be for entertainment or information. It always aims to move beyond
simply creating moving shapes on a screen.

The unit focuses on developing learners’ skills in the production of 2D animations using
traditional or digital techniques, or a combination of the two. Learners will work on
design, character, setting and narrative whilst also developing production techniques.
Learners will be encouraged to experiment with both content and technique.
As essential background, learners need to research the content and production
techniques used in historical and contemporary examples of work. Learners need to
understand such things as persistence of vision, frame rates, stop-frame techniques
and the production of cells. This background will inform production work whether
using traditional methods or some of the digital tools for 2D animation now available.
In order to develop their understanding and skills, learners will need to keep their
intended audience constantly in mind, and to that end their animation work will be
exhibited to audiences after completion and responses evaluated.

Learning outcomes
To achieve this unit a learner must:

1 Understand the techniques and styles used in animation
Origins of the moving image: pioneers and techniques eg Joseph Plateau
(phenakitoscope), William Horner (zoetrope), Emile Reynaud (praxinoscope),
Edward Muybridge, Edison (kinetoscope), Lumière brothers
Contemporary sources: music videos; advertising; feature films; TV programmes;
computer games; digital exhibition of animation eg mobile phones, internet

2 Be able to plan a 2D animation with soundtrack
Choice of possible formats: suitability for resources available; appropriateness for
chosen style eg, stop-frame techniques, flip book, animatic, filmstrip, time lapse
photography, sequential photographs, collage, index cards, cut-out animation,
cell animation, mark making on film
Generation of ideas; visualisation; characters; backgrounds; storylines; audio;
working within technical limitations
Consideration of audience appeal: definition of audience, eg by age, by gender,
by interests; taste; viewing context
Planning: designs; drawings; storyboarding; consideration of movement;
continuity; frames per second; perspective; soundtrack design; point of view, eg
changes or extents of an action or movement

3 Be able to produce a 2D animation using traditional or digital methods
Components of production: format; camera ready content; narrative; music;
special effects; cuts; transitions; timing; frame numbers; dope sheets
Camera: framing; angle; movement; lighting; appropriate point of view
Post-production audio: soundtrack; dialogue; synchronisation; levels scanning;
use of software; key frames
For digital production: use of software application, eg Flash, Photoshop, After

4 Understand how to evaluate audience responses to a piece of animation
Showing work to audiences: screenings; festivals; websites
Collecting audience responses: discussions; questionnaires; reviews; focus groups;
feedback from online exhibition
Audience responses: to genre; to content; to style; to narrative; to character; to
techniques; to technical qualities; to aesthetic qualities; to creative qualities
Reporting findings: oral presentation; written report; action plan; review

Essential resources
Hardware and software should reflect industrial standards where appropriate. It
should include animation production and editing facilities, a rostrum camera and
studio facilities for filming.
Learners will need access to rostrum camera, animation table and lighting, as well as
camera equipment capable of frame capture and remote shutter control. Many DV
cameras come with animation modes and whilst some of these are less than frame
accurate, their use can be combined with existing video editing applications. A wide
range of animation software is available from domestic to industrial. Of these,
Toonboom may be of interest to centres. Some software companies offer frame
capture applications whilst the potential of Flash, Photoshop and After Effects for
animation is well documented.
This unit involves 2D animation produced by traditional or digital means or a
combination of both. Space for learners to draw and cut may be required for the
production of collages, cells or backgrounds.
Library resources providing DVD resources, as well as relevant and current
information on animation, filming techniques and digital animation and contemporary
film makers will be needed.
Centres are recommended to develop their own list of web links and multimedia
research material.

Indicative reading for learners

Beck J — Outlaw Animation: Cutting-edge Cartoons from the Spike and Mike Festivals (Harry N Abrams, 2003)
Culhane S — Animation: From Script to Screen (Columbus Books, 1989)
Grant J — Masters of Animation (Watson Guptill Publications Inc, 2001)
Hart C — How to Draw Animation: Learn the Art of Animation from Character Design
to Story Boards and Layouts (Watson Guptill Publications Inc, 1997)
Hartas L — How to Draw and Sell Digital Cartoons (ILEX, 2004)
Noake R — Animation: A Guide to Animated Film Techniques (McDonald and Co,1988)
Taylor R — Encyclopaedia of Animation Techniques (Focal Press, 2002)
Wells P — Understanding Animation (Routledge, 1998)
White T — The Animator’s Workbook (Watson Guptill Publications Inc, 1988)
Wiedemann J — Animation Now! (Taschen, 2004)
Williams R — The Animator’s Survival Kit (Faber & Faber, 2002)


www.cartoon-factory.com/jones.html animation art gallery

www.toonboom.com/products animation software

BN018440 — Specification — Edexcel Level 3 BTEC Nationals in Media Production
– Issue 1 — February 2007 © Edexcel Limited 2007


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