Shape Animation

In the animation world, we have a bitmap and vector graphics. For the movement of objects on the screen, we need to take them in the vector format and use the keys.


What is shape animation?


An object that was created in the vector graph can be stretched and shaped. This technology is called shape animation. The language of the forms is much more than just a few geometric forms. They all represent different ideas; each has its own purpose. 

Shape animation is a technology in which geometric objects are changed, starched, transformed into any other form. By assigning points that are keys, the figures are transformed from one to another. In this type of animation, we have a limitation of mechanics: animation should be a separate layer and a single drawn shape, doesn’t any symbols. 

With this technology, objects became dynamic: they are moving harmoniously, they are changing. The shape animation is as close as possible to frame-by-frame animation. It is sometimes considered the closest type of animation to the classic one.

Behind every movement of every object on the screen is always the painstaking work of an animator. Let’s look at this technique in more detail. 

The shape animation allows one contour to be smoothly transformed into another. We can apply it to uncoordinated counters. For example, if you need the square to turn smoothly into a circle or the rabbit’s silhouette flows smoothly into the wolf’s silhouette. You give two keyframes from some distance to each other, and it is calculated.

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Technique’s mechanics


A vector shape is drawn in a separate frame, and in another frame, this shape changes, or a new shape is drawn. Animate then interpolates shapes for intermediate frames, creating an object of one shape flowing into another shape. When you have two keyframes, you will make an activity first keyframe and choose the panel properties for tween shape. 

The frames on the time scale will be colored in green, and from the first frame to the second, there should be a needle. As a result, you’ll get a series of intermediate frames that will transform the first figure’s movement to the second.


The difference from the frame-by-frame animation


Unlike frame-by-frame animation, where the motion of the object is drawing the object’s movement, you need to set the initial position and the last position here. Then the algorithm tightens the motion just the given trajectory. This type of animation technology is based on the initial and final frames. All in between is interpolated by the given algorithm.


Specifics of shape animation


  • Unlike tweens and a classic tween, this technique doesn’t work with symbols. You can use just pictures. 
  • Shape animation requires the creation of keyframes that will contain the beginning and end of the changing shape. 
  • Change of shape doesn’t have motion paths. So, it means their movements are linear – in a straight line. 
  • You can not use motion editions to correct your shape. 

Visually it looks like this: 

Simple shapes accidentally appeared out of nowhere, also disappearing into the other shapes. In this technology, we can animate just one figure and can not be used in a group of forms.


When an animator uses this technology, these parameters may be changed:

  • The shape of the object;
  • The position of the object;
  • The color of the object;
  • The angular rotation of the object.

This technology can be used in any genre of animation video, where the objects are necessary to be moved by the plot.  


Wow-How Studio creates animation for ten years in different genres and different technologies. Our main goal is to get the viewer into the story and to make brands brighter. Our animator artists often use shape animation technology to create memorable stories.

Let’s start to make some magic now! Tell us all the details about shape animation you want with the special creative brief.

Now, let’s talk about your project!