Animation is the process of making the illusion of motion and the illusion of changeby means of the rapid succession of sequential images that minimally differ from each other. The illusion—as in motion pictures in generalis thought to rely on the phi phenomenon and beta movement, but the exact causes are still unclear.

There are some forms of animation that do not feature a rapid succession of sequential images, but these are usually not considered to be “true” or “full” animation. For instance, the physical movement of image parts through simple mechanics in magic lantern slides and the movement of the projector (the magic lantern) in phantasmagoria provided popular moving picture shows.

Animators are artists who specialize in the creation of animation. Animation can be recorded with either analogue media, a flip book, motion picture film, video tape, digital media, including formats with animated GIF, Flash animation, and digital video. To display animation, a digital camera, computer, or projector are used along with new technologies that are produced.

Animation creation methods include the traditional animation creation method and those involving stop motion animation of two and three-dimensional objects, paper cutouts, puppets and clay figures. Images are displayed in a rapid succession, usually 24, 25, 30, or 60 frames per second. Computer animation processes generating animated images with the general term computer-generated imagery (CGI). 3D animation uses computer graphics, while 2D animation is used for stylistic, low bandwidth and faster real-time renderings.