I am compiling a list of movies, and as I do so I find that I'm dividing them into to the following categories:

  • Live action: Non-animated film using (mostly) real life actors, e.g. Ghost Protocol.
  • CG: Fully computer animated films, like Pixar's movies, e.g. Brave.
  • Stop motion: Films created using stop motion animation, e.g. Corpse Bride.
  • Animation (bad name): More traditional (hand drawn?) animation such as the classic Disney movies and most anime.

First off, I realize that the categories above are a little fuzzy. For instance, there are three different types of animation, and some of them are ambiguous. I welcome suggestions to further refine this list. Note, though, that I want the categories to be broad, so that I don't have to do half an hour's research on each film just to choose one.

However, my real question is, if I were to give a name to this distinction (perhaps as a column in a spreadsheet), what would I call it?

The term category seems rather vague, as does format. I thought of using something like animation type or style, but that doesn't apply to "live action".

  • This is a bit confusing: aren't CG and stop motion forms of animation? But if you must stick to your classification, I think you have to use a vague\broad term if you want it to include live action as well. Probably style or genre (though it's really more of a technique or process). BTW, how does La Jetee fit in all this? :P
    – Walt
    Oct 7, 2014 at 7:43
  • What you refer to as "Animation" is usually called Traditional Animation or Cel Animation (Cel is short for celluloid - the plastic films the animators draw on)
    – slebetman
    Oct 7, 2014 at 7:49
  • There is also overlap when it comes to how the final product looks vs how it was made. For example, South Park is an example of CG animation but is not 3D at all. Some people further divide CG into 3D and non-3D
    – slebetman
    Oct 7, 2014 at 7:51
  • @Walt: I agree that my categorization is confusing (and admitted as much in my question). Still, I feel there should be some way to distinguish between these kinds of films.
    – Stephan B
    Oct 7, 2014 at 7:53
  • 2
    IMDB lists the style (animated, etc.) among its Genre tags. But I think that you could argue that Style is an appropriate label for the distinction you are making. Oct 7, 2014 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


You say that you are compiling a list of movies, but don't say who the list is for. If for yourself, any word or phrase will work. If for publication, if you are consistent, either of the words you've mentioned could work.

For examples of current industry usage, I searched for some known animated movies (Wall-E and Mulan) on a few sites that have libraries of movies. IMDB and Netflix list the style (animated, Family Feature Animation, etc.) among their Genre tags. Amazon lists animation among its Category labels (Movies & TV > Animation)

I also think you could argue that Style is an appropriate label for the distinction you are making.

Again, as long as you are consistent and use your chosen label for all films you list (in other words, all Live-Action films get a label, not just animated) , it will be clear to anyone using your list what you are referencing.

  • The reason I didn't mention what the list was for is that even if it was a personal list, I'd still want the terminology to make sense... I like your suggestion of "style".
    – Stephan B
    Oct 7, 2014 at 15:59
  • @Stephan I agree. Sometimes I am more meticulous when working on my personal projects. Oct 7, 2014 at 16:30

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