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What is CGI Animation and How Exactly Does it Work?

CGI animation is a type of computer-generated imagery that uses 3D graphics, 2D drawings, and other digital media to create animated films, video games, or other visual effects. The term can also refer to the process of using these techniques.

CGI software stands for Computer Generated Imagery. It is used in the animation process. This type of software is created using 3D modeling and other computer-generated graphics.

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Have you ever pondered why today’s animated films vary so much from those from the previous century? It’s primarily due to the fact that previous technology and animation methods were outdated. CGI animation is currently used in almost all major blockbuster animated films and popular cartoons.

So, what exactly is computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation? Computer-generated animation (CGI) is a technique for creating animated pictures. CGI stands for computer-generated images. But what part does CGI animation play in filmmaking? CGI is used in a variety of ways in movies, not only cartoons but also live-action films.

A Brief History of CGI Films

Before we get into what function CGI animation plays in today’s movies, let’s take a look at how it influenced the business in the first place. You may be shocked to learn how it was utilized in the past and how it relates to today’s movie business.

In Feature Films, CGI

You may think the first usage of CGI animation was in a cartoon film, but it was actually in the 1970s sci-fi picture Westworld. Of fact, even before the finest laptop for animation was ever available, there were already trials with the use of CGI in other projects. Westworld, on the other hand, was the first feature film in history to utilize it.

CGI animation was originally employed to remove backdrops and improve sceneries, but as the film industry progressed, it was eventually utilized to create real characters. From Casper the friendly ghost in the 1990s to the blockbuster film Avatar, CGI was used to create these characters.

Cartoons using CGI Animation

Cartoons were hand-drawn one frame at a time back in the day. Artists have to depict every action, including walking and conversing. However, CGI revolutionized the animation business.


It’s 2D when a cartoon figure seems flat. However, just because something is 2D does not imply it is not CGI. The transition from pen and paper to computer software was the first major step in the cartoon business. Soon, computer software will be able to do more than simply design characters; it will also be able to make them move about pivot points and do other things.


It’s 3D when a cartoon has depth. Stop motion animation was the only method to create 3D animation without using a computer before 3D CGI animation. These figures or things, which are usually formed of clay, have a 3D space, are fuller, and are not flat. Toy Story, released in 1996, was the first full-length animated film to use 3D CGI animation.

two animators working on illustration

Uses of CGI Animation in Films

Nowadays, it’s difficult to find a film that doesn’t utilize CGI, particularly popular films. CGI animation may be extremely subtle, and you may not even realize it, yet it plays a significant part in the film business.

CGI animation is often utilized for things that can’t be created, can’t exist, or aren’t. It has the potential to solidify the phrase “movie magic.” Here are a few examples of how CGI animation is utilized in films:

Making Characters Come to Life

CGI animation is used to create main characters, humorous sidekicks, extras, and more, in addition to cartoon characters. Although figures in science fiction films may be made by hand, making them move is a another matter. Consider Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs or the Star Wars franchise’s alien characters.

CGI animation not only saves money on film production, but it may also enhance the overall narrative or what a film has to offer. Some films need large crowds, which can be a real pain to get together, from finding actors to actually getting them to perform what they’re supposed to do. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be paying for dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of items. Crowds may be added using CGI thanks to technology.

Creating Virtual Environments

Props and sets for films that are truly out of this planet may take a long time and a lot of money to create. CGI, on the other hand, may be used to “draw” a director’s creative brilliance or vision. Consider how long a film set underwater would take to shoot, how difficult logistics would be, and how impossible it would be to shoot as is. It may be feasible using CGI.

Removing and replacing

CGI is much more than simply creating effects or inserting fresh content. It has the ability to reveal items that were previously concealed. When shooting objects or people that need to look floating, for example, cables are typically included. The cables are eliminated with the aid of CGI, giving the ideal appearance of floating or being in space.

Some films may need the replacement of a specific body component or even a character’s visage. If a performer is uncomfortable with particular sequences, a body double and CGI may be used to address the problem.


What exactly is computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation? Computer-generated imagery refers to effects or pictures created using computer software. It’s utilized in a variety of sectors and applications, including medical, architecture, engineering, gaming, and more.

CGI animation, on the other hand, has a very specific use in the entertainment sector. CGI animation is the “magic” in movies and TV programs. It makes what has to be manufactured, which cannot be produced by hand or using readily available resources. It lowers expenses, saves time and money, but most significantly, it opens up possibilities that previously existed only in your mind.

CGI is an acronym for Common Gateway Interface. It’s a technology that allows the computer to interact with the user. CGI animation is a type of computer-generated imagery where images are generated on the fly and displayed in real time. Reference: cgi technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do CGI animations work?

CGI animations are made by using 3D modeling software to create a virtual world. The computer then uses the models and textures to render the scene in real time.

What is CGI exactly?

Computer generated imagery is a process of making images and animations that look realistic in the context of computer graphics.

What is CGI animation?

Computer generated imagery is animation made using 3D computer graphics.

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