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Animation refers to any images which go through mechanized changes over time to portray the illusion of of motion. Throughout the history of art there were numerous techniques used to abstractly illustrate motion within the confines of static media, but animation is distinct because it required actual change in an image. The most common way to accomplish this is by putting sequences of images through some form of machinery which displays them in rapid succession. The position of each object in each image in the sequence relates systematically to the position of that object in the previous image so that the objects each appear to move independently of one another. The machinery must display these images in rapid succession without the viewer being able to see them moving between their being displayed. This is usually accomplished with a strobe light projecting through moving film onto a viewing screen. According to the physiological theory of persistence of vision people do not notice the rapid instances of darkness between the frames of projected film and the image appears move fluidly through time.
Precursors to Animation
Five images sequence from a vase found in Iran. Evidence of artistic interest in depicting figures in motion can be seen as early as the still drawings of Paleolithic cave paintings, where animals are depicted with multiple sets of legs in superimposed positions, clearly attempting to convey the perception of motion. Other examples include a 5,200-year old earthen bowl found in Iran in Shahr-e Sukhteh and an ancient Egyptian mural. The Persian bowl has five images painted along the sides, showing phases of a goat leaping up to nip at a tree. The Egyptian mural, found in the thomb of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, at the Beni Hassan cemetery. The paintings are approximately 4000 years old and show scenes of young soldiers being trained in wrestling and combat.
Egyptian burial chamber mural. Seven drawings by Leonardo da Vinci (ca. 1510) extending over two folios in the Windsor Collection, Anatomical Studies of the Muscles of the Neck, Shoulder, Chest, and Arm, show detailed drawings of the upper body (with a less-detailed facial image), illustrating the changes as the torso turns from profile to frontal position and the forearm extends. Even though all these early examples may appear similar to a series of animation drawings, the lack of equipment to show the images in motion means that these image series are precursors to animation and cannot be called animation in the modern sense. They do, however, indicate the artists' intentions and interests in depicting motion.
Victorian parlor toys
Many of the early inventions designed to animate images were meant as novelties for private amusement of children or small parties. Animation devices which fall into this category include the zoetrope, magic lantern, praxinoscope, thaumatrope, phenakistoscope, and flip book
The phenakistoscope was an early animation device, the predecessor of the zoetrope. It was invented in 1831 simultaneously by the Belgian Joseph Plateau and the Austrian Simon von Stampfer.
Zoetrope (180 AD; 1834) The zoetrope is a device which creates the image of a moving picture. The earliest elementary zoetrope was created in China around 180 AD by the prolific inventor Ting Huan (丁緩). Made from translucent paper or mica panels, Huan hung the device over a lamp. The rising air turned vanes at the top from which hung the pictures painted on the panels would appear to move if the device is spun at the right speed. The modern zoetrope was produced in 1834 by William George Horner. The device is essentially a cylinder with vertical slits around the sides. Around the inside edge of the cylinder there are a series of pictures on the opposite side to the slits. As the cylinder is spun, the user then looks through the slits to view the illusion of motion. The zoetrope is still being used in animation courses to illustrate early concepts of animation. The magic lantern The magic lantern is the predecessor of the modern day projector. It consisted of a translucent oil painting and a simple lamp. When put together in a darkened room, the image would appear larger on a flat surface. Athanasius Kircher spoke about this originating from China in the 16th century. Some slides for the lanterns contained parts that could be mechanically actuated to present limited movement on the screen. Thaumatrope (1824) A thaumatrope was a simple toy used in the Victorian era. A thaumatrope is a small circular disk or card with two different pictures on each side that was attached to a piece of string or a pair of strings running through the centre. When the string is twirled quickly between the fingers, the two pictures appear to combine into a single image. The thaumatrope demonstrates the Phi phenomenon, the brain's ability to persistently perceive an image. Its invention is variously credited to Charles Babbage, Peter Roget, or John Ayrton Paris, but Paris is known to have used one to illustrate the Phi phenomenon in 1824 to the Royal College of Physicians. Phenakistoscope (1831) Flip book (1868) The first flip book was patented in 1868 by John Barnes Linnet. Flip books were yet another development that brought us closer to modern animation. Like the Zoetrope, the Flip Book creates the illusion of motion. A set of sequential pictures flipped at a high speed creates this effect. The Mutoscope (1894) is basically a flip book in a box with a crank handle to flip the pages.
Praxinoscope (1877) The praxinoscope, invented by French scientist Charles-Émile Reynaud, was a more sophisticated version of the zoetrope. It used the same basic mechanism of a strip of images placed on the inside of a spinning cylinder, but instead of viewing it through slits, it was viewed in a series of small, stationary mirrors around the inside of the cylinder, so that the animation would stay in place, and provide a clearer image and better quality. Reynaud also developed a larger version of the praxinoscope that could be projected onto a screen, called the Théâtre Optique. The present
The first animated film was created by Charles-Émile Reynaud, inventor of the praxinoscope, an animation system using loops of 12 pictures. On October 28, 1892 at Musée Grévin in Paris, France he exhibited animations consisting of longer bands of about 500 frames, using his Théâtre Optique system - similar in principle to a modern film projector. The first animated work on standard picture film was Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906) by J. Stuart Blackton. It features what appears to be a cartoonist drawing faces on a chalkboard, and the faces apparently coming to life. Fantasmagorie, by the French director Émile Cohl (also called Émile Courtet), is also noteworthy. It was screened for the first time on August 17, 1908 at Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris. Émile Courtet later went to Fort Lee, New Jersey near New York City in 1912, where he worked for French studio Éclair and spread its technique in the US. Influenced by Cohl, Russian scientist Ladislas Starevitch started to create animated films using dead insects with wire limbs. In 1911 he created "The Cameraman's Revenge", a complex tale of treason, suicide and violence between several different insects. It is a pioneer work of puppet animation, and the oldest known example of an animated film of such dramatic complexity, with characters filled with motivation, desire and feelings. In 1914, American cartoonist Winsor McCay released Gertie the Dinosaur, an early example of character animation.
The first animated feature film was El Apóstol, made in 1917 by Quirino Cristiani from Argentina. He also directed two other animated feature films, including 1931's Peludopolis, the first to use synchronized sound. None of these, however, survive to the present day. The earliest-surviving animated feature, which used colour-tinted scenes, is the silhouette-animated Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) directed by German Lotte Reiniger and French/Hungarian Berthold Bartosch. Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) is often considered to be the first animated feature when in fact at least eight were previously released. However, Snow White was the first to become successful and well-known within the English-speaking world and the first to use cel animation. The first animation to use the full, three-color Technicolor method was Flowers and Trees (1932) made by Disney Studios which won an Academy Award for this work. The first Japanese-made feature length anime film was the propaganda film Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors (桃太郎 海の神兵) by the Japanese director Mitsuyo Seo. The film, shown in 1945, was ordered to be made to support the war by the Japanese Naval Ministry. The film's song AIUEO no Uta (アイウエオの歌) was later used in Osamu Tezuka's anime series Kimba the White Lion. Originally thought to have been destroyed during the American occupation, a negative copy survived and the film is now available in Japan on VHS. The first individually hand-drawn animated feature was "The Tune" by American Independent Animator Bill Plympton for production company October Films in 1992. Before limited distribution 'The Tune' was nominated for the 1992 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize dramatic and in 1993 was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Original Score by Maureen McElheron. To date, only this film's animator lays claim to having individually hand-drawn feature-length films, and has gone on to produce four more: I Married A Strange Person (1997), Mutant Aliens (2001), Hair High (2004), Idiots and Angels (2008).
Stop motion Stop motion is used for many animation productions using physical objects rather than images of people, as with traditional animation. An object will be photographed, moved slightly, and then photographed again. When the pictures are played back in normal speed the object will appear to move by itself. The first example of object manipulation and stop-motion animation was the 1899 short film by Albert E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton called The Humpty Dumpty Circus. A European stop motion pioneer was Wladyslaw Starewicz (1892–1965), who animated The Beautiful Lukanida (1910), The Battle of the Stag Beetles (1910), The Ant and the Grasshopper (1911). This process is used for many productions, for example, the most common types of puppets are clay puppets, as used in The California Raisins and Wallace and Gromit, and figures made of various rubbers, cloths and plastic resins, such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. Sometimes even objects are used, such as with the films of Jan Švankmajer. Stop motion animation was also commonly used for special effects work in many live-action films, such as the 1933 version of King Kong and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
Computer-generated imagery (CGI) revolutionized animation. The first feature film done completely in CGI was Toy Story, produced by Pixar. The process of CGI animation is still very tedious and similar in that sense to traditional animation, and it still adheres to many of the same principles. A principal difference of CGI Animation compared to traditional animation is that drawing is replaced by 3D modeling, almost like a virtual version of stop-motion, though a form of animation that combines the two worlds can be considered to be computer aided animation but on 2D computer drawing (which can be considered close to traditional drawing and sometimes based on it).
CGI Animated humans
Most CGI created films are based on animal characters, monsters, machines or cartoon-like humans. Animation studios are now trying to develop ways of creating realistic-looking humans. Films that have attempted this include Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within in 2001, Final Fantasy: Advent Children in 2005, The Polar Express in 2004, Beowulf in 2007 and Resident Evil: Degeneration in 2009. However, due to the complexity of human body functions, emotions and interactions, this method of animation is rarely used. The more realistic a CG character becomes, the more difficult it is to create the nuances and details of a living person, and the greater the likelihood of the character falling into the uncanny valley. The creation of hair and clothing that move convincingly with the animated human character is another area of difficulty. The Incredibles and Up both have humans as protagonists, while films like Avatar combine animation with live action to create humanoid creatures.
Main article: Cel-shaded animation A type of non-photorealistic rendering designed to make computer graphics appear to be hand-drawn. Cel-shading is often used to mimic the style of a comic book or cartoon. It is a somewhat recent addition to computer graphics, most commonly turning up in console video games. Though the end result of cel-shading has a very simplistic feel like that of hand-drawn animation, the process is complex. The name comes from the clear sheets of acetate (originally, celluloid), called cels, that are painted on for use in traditional 2D animation. It may be considered a "2.5D" form of animation. True real-time cel-shading was first introduced in 2000 by Sega's Jet Set Radio for their Dreamcast console. Besides video games, a number of anime have also used this style of animation, such as Freedom Project in 2006.