Animation is a word that has practically stormed the film industry these days. Everyone, right from the 8-year old kids to 80-year old granddads, loves to watch an animation flick. Have you ever wondered what animation exactly is and how did it come into existence. Animation is basically the rapid display of a sequence of images, of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions. The display is so rapid that it creates an illusion of movement in the viewers. The phenomenon of persistence of vision is the main basis behind the development of animation. In case you want to further explore the origin and history of animation, make use of the information provided in the lines below.
Interesting Information on Background of Animation
The earliest instance of animation dates back to the Paleolithic times, when attempts were made to capture motion in drawings. The cave-paintings of that time depict animals in superimposed positions, drawn with an aim of conveying the perception of motion. Persistence of vision, the basis behind animation, was discovered by Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer, in 130 AD. Fifty years later, in 180 AD, an unknown Chinese inventor created an early animation device, which we later came to know as the zoetrope.
Phenakistoscope, praxinoscope and the flip book are the other early animation devices, which were invented during the 1800s. All these devices made use of technological means for the purpose of producing movement from sequential drawings. However, it was the introduction of motion picture films, in the late 1890s that gave a boost to the concept of animation. There is no single person who can be credited with the title of the "Creator" of animation. This is because when animation was developed, many people were involved in the same thing at the same time.
J. Stuart Blackton was the first person to make an animated film, which he called "Humorous phases of funny faces". For the purpose, he used to draw comical faces on a blackboard, one after the other, and film them. In 1910, Emile Cohl came out with the first paper cutout animation. The development of celluloid, around 1913, made animation much easier to manage. While talking about the history of animation, three names that are definitely worth mentioning are those of Winsor McCay of United States & Emile Cohl and Georges Melies of France.
Émile Cohl's Fantasmagorie (1908) was the first animated film that was made using 'traditional (hand-drawn) animation'. Georges Méliès, a creator of special-effect films, was the first person to use animation, along with special effects. He was the one who gave the idea of stop-motion animation. McCay also created a number of animation films, with the most noted ones being Little Nemo (1911), Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) and The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918). In fact, many people take ‘Sinking of the Lusitania’ to be the first animated feature film.
However, it was Walt Disney who took animation to an entirely new level altogether. In 1928, with the premiere of ‘Steamboat Willie’, he became the first animator to add sound to his movie cartoons. Walt Disney achieved another milestone in 1937, when he produced the first full length animated feature film, named ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’. The year 1955 saw Art Clokey producing ‘Gumby’, a stop-motion clay animation. Introduction of computers marked a step further in the concept of animation.
In 1951, an MIT student Ivan Sutherland created a computer drawing program, Sketchpad, further giving a boost to animation. With time, computer started gaining an increasing importance in the field of animation. Movies like ‘Star Wars’ relied on computer animation for many of its special effects. In 1995 came ‘Toy Story’, produced by Walt Disney Productions and Pixar Animation Studios, the first full length feature film animated totally on computers. Since that time, animation and computer have gone hand in hand, creating new milestones with time.