Tradition media is used as inspiration for the animation process. Animators design characters and settings in the computer, and control the characters movements. A shot is where a virtual camera is used to record the animated character in the animated three-dimensional environment. Shadow and lighting is then added, and the scene is rendered. Rendering is basically combining all the elements together to create a piece of film.
This is a very basic understanding of the process. I will continue my research into how a piece of animated film is created, and include a detailed explanation on the site. However each director has their own unique process. The follow quote from Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles and Ratatouille, illuminates the process:
There are never any lucky accidents in the computer, only hard-won victories. So the development stage, the time before we build our digital world, is the time when we’re most free. We encourage our artists to explore as much as possible, to give their imaginations free rein. In turn, their art inspires our storytellers and filmmakers to new heights.
In the early days of computer animation, people used to ask us if the computer made the film. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since then; it’s been deeply gratifying to have our medium recognized for the art form that it is.