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The word "animation" means, essentially, the process of bringing a non-living thing to life. Film animation has been trying to achieve that feat for more than a century. The earliest examples of film animation were created around the turn of the twentieth century. Filmmakers continued to develop new animation techniques throughout the century, ensuring that the genre remained consistently fresh and popular to the present day.

Traditional animation relies on techniques that link together a series of still images. The objects in the images change slightly from image to image. When the images are displayed in rapid succession, the objects appear to move. Stop-motion animation uses images of actual objects. The images are photographed, moved slightly, and then photographed again to produce the animation sequence. Hand-drawn animation uses a series of minutely varying drawings instead of real objects to produce the same effect. Digital animation employs computer-generated models, motion and effects. Occasionally, films combine animation with live action, overlaying live-action footage with animated elements so that animated characters can appear to interact with real actors.

Traditional hand-drawn animated films were extremely popular in the first half of the twentieth century, when Walt Disney Studios produced a number of very successful full-length animated films that featured high-quality animation and memorable musical scores. After a lull in popularity, animation had a resurgence of mainstream commercial success late in the century. 1995's Toy Story, produced by Pixar studios and distributed by Disney, ushered in the digital-animation revolution.

Although animated productions aimed at adult audiences have been successful on television, the majority of mainstream animated films produced by American studios have been targeted at younger audiences. The most commercially successful films, however, have appealed to audiences of all ages. Many Pixar films, for example, have been more able to pull in viewers from older age groups than animated films have historically been able to do.

    Coraline

    Coraline

    Bebe's Kids

    Bebe's Kids

    Ice Age

    Ice Age

    Rango

    Rango

    Fritz the Cat

    Fritz the Cat

    The Addams Family

    The Addams Family

    Stuart Little

    Stuart Little

    Megamind

    Megamind

    Mulan

    Mulan

    Trolls World Tour

    Trolls World Tour

    Frozen 2

    Frozen 2

    Open Season 2

    Open Season 2

    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

    The Nightmare Before Christmas

    The Nightmare Before Christmas

    Moana

    Moana

    Garfield

    Garfield

    Robots

    Robots

    How to Train Your Dragon

    How to Train Your Dragon

    Sing

    Sing

    Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

    Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

    Surf's Up

    Surf's Up

    Toy Story 4

    Toy Story 4

    Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising

    Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising

    The Smurfs 2

    The Smurfs 2

    Monster High: Boo York, Boo York

    Monster High: Boo York, Boo York

    The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

    The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

    The Smurfs

    The Smurfs

    Rio

    Rio

    Naruto Shippuden: The Movie

    Naruto Shippuden: The Movie

    Frozen

    Frozen

    A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    Shrek

    Shrek

    The Lion King

    The Lion King

    The Emoji Movie

    The Emoji Movie

    Trolls

    Trolls

    Onward

    Onward

    Kung Fu Panda 3

    Kung Fu Panda 3

    Wonder Park

    Wonder Park

    My Little Pony: Equestria Girls

    My Little Pony: Equestria Girls

    Shark Tale

    Shark Tale

    My Neighbor Totoro

    My Neighbor Totoro

    Big Hero 6

    Big Hero 6

    The Secret Life of Pets 2

    The Secret Life of Pets 2

    Spies in Disguise

    Spies in Disguise

    The King and I

    The King and I

    Smurfs: The Lost Village

    Smurfs: The Lost Village

    Kung Fu Panda

    Kung Fu Panda

    The Croods

    The Croods

    Bilal: A New Breed of Hero

    Bilal: A New Breed of Hero

    Minions

    Minions

    Alvin and the Chipmunks

    Alvin and the Chipmunks

    Ice Age: The Meltdown

    Ice Age: The Meltdown

    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

    Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

    Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

    Cool World

    Cool World

    Shrek 2

    Shrek 2

    The Little Mermaid

    The Little Mermaid

    Home

    Home

    Inside Out

    Inside Out

    It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

    It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

    Ratatouille

    Ratatouille

    The Polar Express

    The Polar Express

    The Angry Birds Movie 2

    The Angry Birds Movie 2

    Toy Story

    Toy Story

    Despicable Me 2

    Despicable Me 2

    Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

    Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

    FernGully: The Last Rainforest

    FernGully: The Last Rainforest

    Cars 3

    Cars 3

    Tangled

    Tangled

    The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

    The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

    Up

    Up

    Teen Titans Go! to the Movies

    Teen Titans Go! to the Movies

    The Princess and the Frog

    The Princess and the Frog

    Open Season

    Open Season

    Cars

    Cars

    The Owls

    The Owls

    Despicable Me 3

    Despicable Me 3

    Mulan 2

    Mulan 2

    Hotel Transylvania 2

    Hotel Transylvania 2

    My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks

    My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks

    The Land Before Time

    The Land Before Time

    How to Train Your Dragon 2

    How to Train Your Dragon 2

    Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

    Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

    The Book of Life

    The Book of Life

    Howl's Moving Castle

    Howl's Moving Castle

    Thumbelina

    Thumbelina

    Spirited Away

    Spirited Away

    Rise of the Guardians

    Rise of the Guardians

    The Lion of Judah

    The Lion of Judah

    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

    Despicable Me

    Despicable Me

    Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs

    Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs

    Brave

    Brave

    The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride

    The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride

    Zootopia

    Zootopia

    Monsters, Inc.

    Monsters, Inc.

    My Little Pony: The Movie

    My Little Pony: The Movie

    Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'

    Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'

    Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel

    Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel

    The Prince of Egypt

    The Prince of Egypt