A Flash animation or Flash cartoon is an animated film which is created using Adobe Flash animation software and often distributed in the .swf file format. It can be created in Flash or with other programs capable of writing .swf files. The term Flash animation not only refers to the file format but to a certain kind of movement and visual style which is seen as simplistic or unpolished.
Flash animations are typically distributed by way of the World Wide Web, in which case they are often referred to as Internet cartoons, online cartoons, or wantons. Web Flash animations may be interactive and are often created in a series. A Flash animation is distinguished from a Web comic, which is a comic strip distributed via the Web, rather than an animated cartoon.
Flash animation is enjoying a renaissance. While the creation of animation using Flash can be easier and less expensive than traditional animation techniques, the and skill required to produce a project using the software depends on the chosen content and style. Internet distribution is considerably easier and less expensive than television broadcasting such as New grounds provide free hosting.
Many Flash animations first distributed on the web became popular enough to be broadcast on television, particularly on such networks as MTV. Flash animation production is enjoying considerable popularity in major animation studios around the world, as animators take advantage of the software's ability to organize a large number of assets for later re-use.