How Do Cartoon Figures Move in Movies?

Suppose you had a deck of cards, each of which contained the figure of a man with his arm in a slightly different position.

And suppose you arranged this deck so that in the bottom card, the man held his hand at his side, and in each successive card, he lifted his arm until, at the top card, his hand was on top of his head.

If you were to flip through the cards very quickly, it would appear that the man’s arm was rising in one motion until his hand was on top of his head.

That’s the way cartoon figures “move” in animated movies. Each frame of film contains a drawing that is slightly different from the ones before and after it. These frames move across the screen so rapidly, usually 24 frames per second, that it appears the cartoon figures are moving in one continuous motion.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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