Animation

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For other uses, see Animation (disambiguation).

Animation is the process of creating a continuous motion and shape change[Note 1] illusion by means of the rapid display of a sequence of static images that minimally differ from each other. The illusion—as in motion pictures in general—is thought to rely on the phi phenomenon. Animators are artists who specialize in the creation of animation.

Animexample3edit.png

The bouncing ball animation (below) consists of these six frames.

Animexample.gif

This animation moves at 10 frames per second.

Animations can be recorded on either analogue media, such as a flip book, motion picture film, video tape, or on digital media, including formats such as animated GIF, Flash animation or digital video. To display it, a digital camera, computer, or projector are used.

Animation creation methods include the traditional animation creation method and those involving stop motion animation of two and three-dimensional objects, such as paper cutouts, puppets and clay figures. Images are displayed in a rapid succession, usually 24, 25, 30, or 60 frames per second.

Etymology[edit]

From Latin animātiō, "the act of bringing to life"; from animō ("to animate" or "give life to") and -ātiō ("the act of").[citation needed]

History[edit]

Main article: History of animation
Reproduction of drawing on a pottery vessel found in Burnt City

Early examples of attempts to capture the phenomenon of motion into a still drawing can be found in paleolithic cave paintings, where animals are often depicted with multiple legs in superimposed positions, clearly attempting to convey the perception of motion.

An earthen goblet discovered at the site of the 5,200-year-old Burnt City in southeastern Iran, depicts what could possibly be the world’s oldest example of animation. The artifact bears five sequential images depicting a Persian Desert Ibex jumping up to eat the leaves of a tree.[1]

Ancient Chinese records contain several mentions of devices that were said to "give an impression of movement" to human or animal figures,[2] but these accounts are unclear and may only refer to the actual movement of the figures through space.[3]

In the 19th century, the phenakistoscope (1832), zoetrope (1834) and praxinoscope (1877), as well as the common flip book, were early animation devices that produced an illusion of movement from a series of sequential drawings, but animation did not develop further until the advent of motion picture film and cinematography in the 1890s.

The cinématographe was a projector, printer, and camera in one machine that allowed moving pictures to be shown successfully on a screen which was invented by history's earliest film makers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, in 1894.[4] The first animated projection (screening) was created in France, by Charles-Émile Reynaud, who was a French science teacher. Reynaud created the Praxinoscope in 1877 and the Théâtre Optique in December 1888. On 28 October 1892, he projected the first animation in public, Pauvre Pierrot, at the Musée Grévin in Paris. This film is also notable as the first known instance of film perforations being used. His films were not photographed, but drawn directly onto the transparent strip. In 1900, more than 500,000 people had attended these screenings.

A projecting praxinoscope, 1882, here shown superimposing an animated figure on a separately projected background scene

The first film that was recorded on standard picture film and included animated sequences was the 1900 Enchanted Drawing, which was followed by the first entirely animated film - the 1906 Humorous Phases of Funny Faces by J. Stuart Blackton, who, because of that, is considered the father of American animation.

The first animated film created by using what came to be known as traditional (hand-drawn) animation - the 1908 Fantasmagorie by Émile Cohl

In Europe, the French artist, Émile Cohl, created the first animated film using what came to be known as traditional animation creation methods - the 1908 Fantasmagorie. The film largely consisted of a stick figure moving about and encountering all manner of morphing objects, such as a wine bottle that transforms into a flower. There were also sections of live action in which the animator’s hands would enter the scene. The film was created by drawing each frame on paper and then shooting each frame onto negative film, which gave the picture a blackboard look.

The author of the first puppet-animated film (The Beautiful Lukanida (1912)) was the Russian-born (ethnically Polish) director Wladyslaw Starewicz, known as Ladislas Starevich.[citation needed]

The more detailed hand-drawn animations, requiring a team of animators drawing each frame manually with detailed backgrounds and characters, were those directed by Winsor McCay, a successful newspaper cartoonist, including the 1911 Little Nemo, the 1914 Gertie the Dinosaur, and the 1918 The Sinking of the Lusitania.

During the 1910s, the production of animated short films, typically referred to as "cartoons", became an industry of its own and cartoon shorts were produced for showing in movie theaters. The most successful producer at the time was John Randolph Bray, who, along with animator Earl Hurd, patented the cel animation process which dominated the animation industry for the rest of the decade.

El Apóstol (Spanish: "The Apostle") was a 1917 Argentine animated film utilizing cutout animation, and the world's first animated feature film.[5] Unfortunately, a fire that destroyed producer Frederico Valle's film studio incinerated the only known copy of El Apóstol, and it is now considered a lost film.

Computer animation has become popular since Toy Story (1995), the first feature-length animated film completely made using this technique.

In 2008, the animation market was worth US$68.4 billion.[6] Animation as an art and industry continues to thrive as of the mid-2010s, because well-made animated projects can find audiences across borders and in all four quadrants. Animated feature-length films returned the highest gross margins (around 52%) of all film genres in the 2004-2013 timeframe.[7]

Techniques[edit]

Traditional animation[edit]

Main article: Traditional animation
An example of traditional animation, a horse animated by rotoscoping from Eadweard Muybridge's 19th century photos

Traditional animation (also called cel animation or hand-drawn animation) was the process used for most animated films of the 20th century. The individual frames of a traditionally animated film are photographs of drawings, first drawn on paper. To create the illusion of movement, each drawing differs slightly from the one before it. The animators' drawings are traced or photocopied onto transparent acetate sheets called cels, which are filled in with paints in assigned colors or tones on the side opposite the line drawings. The completed character cels are photographed one-by-one against a painted background by a rostrum camera onto motion picture film.

The traditional cel animation process became obsolete by the beginning of the 21st century. Today, animators' drawings and the backgrounds are either scanned into or drawn directly into a computer system. Various software programs are used to color the drawings and simulate camera movement and effects. The final animated piece is output to one of several delivery media, including traditional 35 mm film and newer media such as digital video. The "look" of traditional cel animation is still preserved, and the character animators' work has remained essentially the same over the past 70 years. Some animation producers have used the term "tradigital" to describe cel animation which makes extensive use of computer technology.

Examples of traditionally animated feature films include Pinocchio (United States, 1940), Animal Farm (United Kingdom, 1954), and L'Illusionniste (British-French, 2010). Traditionally animated films which were produced with the aid of computer technology include The Lion King (US, 1994), Akira (Japan, 1988), Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (Japan, 2001), Les Triplettes de Belleville (France, 2003), and The Secret of Kells (Irish-French-Belgian, 2009).

Stop motion animation[edit]

Main article: Stop motion

Stop-motion animation is used to describe animation created by physically manipulating real-world objects and photographing them one frame of film at a time to create the illusion of movement. There are many different types of stop-motion animation, usually named after the medium used to create the animation. Computer software is widely available to create this type of animation; however, traditional stop motion animation is usually less expensive and time-consuming to produce than current computer animation.

Computer animation[edit]

Main article: Computer animation

Computer animation encompasses a variety of techniques, the unifying factor being that the animation is created digitally on a computer. 2D animation techniques tend to focus on image manipulation while 3D techniques usually build virtual worlds in which characters and objects move and interact. 3D animation can create images that seem real to the viewer.

2D animation[edit]

Moving "W"

2D animation figures are created and/or edited on the computer using 2D bitmap graphics or created and edited using 2D vector graphics. This includes automated computerized versions of traditional animation techniques such as interpolated morphing, onion skinning and interpolated rotoscoping. 2D animation has many applications, including analog computer animation, Flash animation and PowerPoint animation. Cinemagraphs are still photographs in the form of an animated GIF file of which part is animated.

2D Terms[edit]
  • Final line advection animation,[8] a technique that gives the artists and animators a lot more influence and control over the final product as everything is done within the same department:

    In Paperman, we didn’t have a cloth department and we didn’t have a hair department. Here, folds in the fabric, hair silhouettes and the like come from of the committed design decision-making that comes with the 2D drawn process. Our animators can change things, actually erase away the CG underlayer if they want, and change the profile of the arm. And they can design all the fabric in that Milt Kahl kind-of way, if they want to.[9]

3D animation[edit]

3D animation is digitally modeled and manipulated by an animator. The animator usually starts by creating a 3D polygon mesh to manipulate. A mesh typically includes many vertices that are connected by edges and faces, to give the visual appearance of form to a 3D object or 3D environment. Sometimes, the mesh is given an internal digital skeletal structure called an armature that can be used to control the mesh by weighting the vertices. This process is called rigging and can be used in conjunction with keyframes to create movement.

Other techniques can be applied, such as mathematical functions (e.g., gravity, particle simulations), simulated fur or hair, and effects such as fire and water simulations. These techniques fall under the category of 3D dynamics.

3D Terms[edit]

Mechanical animation[edit]

Audio-Animatronic version of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
  • Animatronics is the use of mechatronics to create machines which seem animate rather than robotic.
    • Audio-Animatronics and Autonomatronics is a form of robotics animation, combined with 3-D animation, created by Walt Disney Imagineering for shows and attractions at Disney theme parks move and make noise (generally a recorded speech or song), but are fixed to whatever supports them. They can sit and stand but cannot walk. An Audio-Animatron is different from an android-type robot in that it uses prerecorded movements and sounds, rather than responding to external stimuli. In 2009, Disney created an interactive version of the technology called Autonomatronics.
    • Linear Animation Generator is a form of animation by using static picture frames installed in a tunnel or a shaft. The animation illusion is created by putting the viewer in a linear motion, parallel to the installed picture frames. The concept and the technical solution, were invented in 2007 by Mihai Girlovan in Romania.
  • Chuckimation is a type of animation created by the makers of the cartoon Action League Now! in which characters/props are thrown, or chucked from off camera or wiggled around to simulate talking by unseen hands,
  • Puppetry is a form of theatre or performance animation that involves the manipulation of puppets. It is very ancient, and is believed to have originated 3000 years BC.[1] Puppetry takes many forms but they all share the process of animating inanimate performing objects. Puppetry is used in almost all human societies both as entertainment – in performance – and ceremonially in rituals and celebrations such as carnivals. Most puppetry involves storytelling.
Toy Story zoetrope at Disney California Adventure creates illusion of motion using figures, rather than static pictures.
  • Zoetrope is a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures. The term zoetrope is from the Greek words ζωή (zoē), meaning "alive, active", and τρόπος (tropos), meaning "turn", with "zoetrope" taken to mean "active turn" or "wheel of life".

Other animation styles, techniques and approaches[edit]

World of Color hydrotechnics at Disney California Adventure creates illusion of motion using 1200 fountains with high-definition projections on mist screens.
  • Hydrotechnics: a technique that includes lights, water, fire, fog, and lasers, with high-definition projections on mist screens.
  • Drawn on film animation: a technique where footage is produced by creating the images directly on film stock, for example by Norman McLaren, Len Lye and Stan Brakhage.
  • Paint-on-glass animation: a technique for making animated films by manipulating slow drying oil paints on sheets of glass, for example by Aleksandr Petrov.
  • Erasure animation: a technique using traditional 2D media, photographed over time as the artist manipulates the image. For example, William Kentridge is famous for his charcoal erasure films, and Piotr Dumała for his auteur technique of animating scratches on plaster.
  • Pinscreen animation: makes use of a screen filled with movable pins that can be moved in or out by pressing an object onto the screen. The screen is lit from the side so that the pins cast shadows. The technique has been used to create animated films with a range of textural effects difficult to achieve with traditional cel animation.
  • Sand animation: sand is moved around on a back- or front-lighted piece of glass to create each frame for an animated film. This creates an interesting effect when animated because of the light contrast.
  • Flip book: a flip book (sometimes, especially in British English, called a flick book) is a book with a series of pictures that vary gradually from one page to the next, so that when the pages are turned rapidly, the pictures appear to animate by simulating motion or some other change. Flip books are often illustrated books for children, but may also be geared towards adults and employ a series of photographs rather than drawings. Flip books are not always separate books, but may appear as an added feature in ordinary books or magazines, often in the page corners. Software packages and websites are also available that convert digital video files into custom-made flip books.
  • Character animation
  • Multi-sketching
  • Special effects animation

Production[edit]

The creation of non-trivial animation works (i.e., longer than a few seconds) has developed as a form of filmmaking, but with certain unique aspects. One thing live-action and animated feature-length films do have in common is that they are both extremely labor-intensive and horrendously expensive.

The most important difference is that once a film is in the production phase, the marginal cost of one more shot is much, much higher for animated films than for live-action films. It is relatively easy for a director to ask for one more take during principal photography of a live-action film, but every take on an animated film must be manually rendered by animators (although the task of rendering slightly different takes has been made less tedious by modern computer animation). It is pointless for a studio to pay the salaries of dozens of animators to spend weeks creating a visually dazzling five-minute scene, if that scene fails to effectively advance the plot of the film. Thus, animation studios starting with Disney began the practice in the 1930s of maintaining story departments where storyboard artists develop every single scene through storyboards, then handing the film over to the animators only after the production team is satisfied that all the scenes will make sense as a whole. While live-action films are now also storyboarded, they necessarily enjoy much more latitude to depart from storyboards (i.e., real-time improvisation).

Another problem unique to animation is the necessity of ensuring that the style of an animated film is consistent from start to finish, even as films have grown longer and teams have grown larger. Animators, like all artists, necessarily have their own individual styles, but must subordinate their individuality in a consistent way to whatever style was selected for a particular film. Since the early 1980s, feature-length animated films have been created by teams of about 500 to 600 people, of whom 50 to 70 are animators. It is relatively easy for two or three artists to match each other's styles, but it is much harder to keep dozens of artists synchronized with one another.

This problem is usually solved by having a separate group of visual development artists develop an overall look and palette for each film before animation begins. Character designers on the visual development team draw model sheets to show how each character should look like with different facial expressions, posed in different positions, and viewed from different angles. On traditionally animated projects, maquettes were often sculpted to further help the animators see how characters would look from different angles.

Unlike live-action films, animated films were traditionally developed beyond the synopsis stage through the storyboard format; the storyboard artists would then receive credit for writing the film. In the early 1960s, animation studios began hiring professional screenwriters to write screenplays (while also continuing to use story departments) and such screenplays had become commonplace for animated films by the late 1980s.

Awards[edit]

As with any other form of media, animation too has instituted awards for excellence in the field. The original awards for animation were presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for animated shorts from the year 1932, during the 5th Academy Awards function. The first winner of the Academy Award was the short Flowers and Trees, a production by Walt Disney Productions and United Artists.[10] However, the Academy Award for a feature length animated motion picture was only instituted for the year 2001, and awarded during the 74th Academy Awards in 2002. It was won by the movie Shrek,[11] produced by DreamWorks and Pacific Data Images. Since then, Disney/Pixar have produced the most movies either to win or be nominated for the award. The list of both awards can be obtained here:

Several other countries have instituted an award for best animated feature film as part of their national film awards: BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film (since 2006), César Award for Best Animated Film (since 2011), Goya Award for Best Animated Film (since 1989), Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year (since 2007). Also since 2007, the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Animated Feature Film has been awarded at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Since 2009, the European Film Awards have awarded the European Film Award for Best Animated Film.

The Annie Award is another award presented for excellence in the field of animation. Unlike the Academy Awards, the Annie Awards are only received for achievements in the field of animation and not for any other field of technical and artistic endeavor. They were re-organized in 1992 to create a new field for Best Animated feature. The 1990s winners were dominated by Walt Disney, however newer studios, led by Pixar & DreamWorks, have now begun to consistently vie for this award. The list of awardees is as follows:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ With the "squash and stretch" principle often applied in case of character animation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "World's Oldest Animation?". 
  2. ^ Needham, Joseph (1962). Science and Civilization in China, vol. IV, part 1: Physics and Physical Technology. Cambridge University Press. p. 123-124.
  3. ^ Rojas, Carlos (2013). The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas. Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-19-998844-0. 
  4. ^ McLaughlin, Dan. "A RATHER INCOMPLETE BUT STILL FASCINATING". Film Tv. UCLA. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "El Apóstol". www.bcdb.com, 4 May 2011
  6. ^ "Animation". boi.gov.ph. Board of Investments. November 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  7. ^ McDuling, John (3 July 2014). "Hollywood Is Giving Up on Comedy". The Atlantic (The Atlantic Monthly Group). Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Disney’s Paperman animated short fuses CG and hand-drawn techniques
  9. ^ A Little More About Disney’s “Paperman”
  10. ^ Flowers And Trees [1932], Ist Oscar Award Winner 3D Animation Movie | Free Maya Video Tutorials
  11. ^ Shrek (2001) - Awards

Further reading[edit]

  • Anderson, Joseph and Barbara, "The Myth of Persistence of Vision Revisited", Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 45, No. 1 (Spring 1993): 3-12
  • Culhane, Shamus, Animation Script to Screen
  • Laybourne, Kit, The Animation Book
  • Musa, S; Ziatdinov, R; Griffiths, C. (2013). Introduction to computer animation and its possible educational applications. In M. Gallová, J. Gunčaga, Z. Chanasová, M.M. Chovancová (Eds.), New Challenges in Education. Retrospection of history of education to the future in the interdisciplinary dialogue among didactics of various school subjects (1st ed., pp. 177–205). Ružomberok, Slovakia: VERBUM – vydavateľstvo Katolíckej univerzity v Ružomberku.
  • Ledoux, Trish, Ranney, Doug, & Patten, Fred (Ed.), Complete Anime Guide: Japanese Animation Film Directory and Resource Guide, Tiger Mountain Press 1997
  • Lowe, Richard & Schnotz, Wolfgang (Eds) Learning with Animation. Research implications for design Cambridge University Press, 2008
  • Masson, Terrence, CG101: A Computer Graphics Industry Reference Unique and personal histories of early computer animation production, plus a comprehensive foundation of the industry for all reading levels. ISBN 978-0-9778710-0-1
  • Serenko, Alexander, The development of an instrument to measure the degree of animation predisposition of agent users, Computers in Human Behavior Vol. 23, No. 1 (2007): 478-495.
  • Thomas, Frank and Johnston, Ollie, Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, Abbeville 1981
  • Walters, Faber and Helen (Ed.), Animation Unlimited: Innovative Short Films Since 1940, HarperCollins Publishers, 2004
  • Williams, Richard, The Animator's Survival Kit ISBN 978-0-571-20228-7
  • Bob Godfrey and Anna Jackson, 'The Do-It-Yourself Film Animation Book' BBC Publications 1974 ISBN 978-0-563-10829-0 Now out of print but available s/hand through a range of sources such as Amazon Uk.
  • Lawson, Tim and Alisa Persons. The Magic Behind the Voices: A Who's Who of Cartoon Voice Actors. University Press of Mississippi. 2004. (A history of cartoon voice-overs and biographies and photographs of many prominent animation voice actors.)
  • Ball, R., Beck, J., DeMott R., Deneroff, H., Gerstein, D., Gladstone, F., Knott, T., Leal, A., Maestri, G., Mallory, M., Mayerson, M., McCracken, H., McGuire, D., Nagel, J., Pattern, F., Pointer, R., Webb, P., Robinson, C., Ryan, W., Scott, K., Snyder, A. & Webb, G. (2004) Animation Art: From Pencil to Pixel, the History of Cartoon, Anime & CGI. Fulhamm London.: Flame Tree Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84451-140-2
  • Crafton, Donald (1982). Before Mickey. Cambridge, Massachusetts.: The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-03083-0
  • Solomon, Charles (1989). Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation. New York.: Random House, Inc. ISBN 978-0-394-54684-1

External links[edit]