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Compositing and Editing Techniques for Animation

While for video production there are two stages – shooting and editing – in animation usually there are no strict distinction between those two. However sometimes you can learn useful things from real video production and apply them to animation. In this post we’ll look at three most common techniques.

The Scene Technique

Also known as Stage technique and it comes from theater. There are fixed scene and by changing decorations, object placement and actors – different places and looks can be achieved. In this technique viewer has just one, fixed viewpoint that doesn’t change through all animation. In After Effects this means you have your comp, no comp camera, no cuts between scenes. Different objects are animated in and out of visible scene. It’s quite easy to use this technique, but be careful with it. It’s also easy to make it look too basic.

One Shot Technique

A “one-shot” is any video which consists of action, continuous in time and space, from the perspective of a single camera — a single long take.
The most basic example of this would be home videos that are shot with just single camera from start to end without stopping or pausing the camera and editing or cutting the material later.
However this technique could also achieve beautiful effect. It’s often used in music videos. In order to be able to make one shot videos several special techniques are used. Most commonly the stage props which are not currently caught on cameras are changed during the shot.

Bad Example

After Effects users that don’t have video shooting/editing background often times tend to use one-shot technique in after effects using single camera and one long animation that goes over all elements.

Cuts and Transitions Technique

Most commonly technique in video world is to shoot the same scene from different angles, using different perspectives and then cut and edit it all together in a single video. A common example is news plot, movies, video clips etc.

After Effects users often times ignore this technique even though it could really make your animation come alive. If it’s 3D setup – take advantage of it and show it from different angles and perspectives just like you would in real world with real camera. If it’s not 3D don’t be afraid to use hard cuts between different comps. That is much easier than figuring out how to continue your animation in a “single-shot technique”. Besides often times it even looks better than improperly used single-shot technique.


There are advantages and disadvantages of every technique. Every one of them – if used properly – can achieve great result. Make sure you pick the right one for your project and make sure you use advantages of each.

One Response


That’s great! thanks dude, keep up the good work!