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Animexample3edit.png

The bouncing ball animation (below) consists of these 6 frames.

Animexample.gif

This animation moves at 10 frames per second.

Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. It is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in a number of ways. The most common method of presenting animation is as a motion picture or video program, although several other forms of presenting animation also exist.

Contents

Early examples

Five images sequence from a vase found in Iran.
An Egyptian burial chamber mural, approximately 4000 years old, showing wrestlers in action. Even though this may appear similar to a series of animation drawings, there was no way of viewing the images in motion. It does, however, indicate the artist's intention of depicting motion.

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

A 5,200 year old earthen bowl found in Iran in Shahr-i Sokhta has five images of a goat painted along the sides. This has been claimed to be an example of early animation.[1] However, since no equipment existed to show the images in motion, such a series of images cannot be called animation in a true sense of the word.[2]

The phenakistoscope, praxinoscope, as well as the common flip book were early popular animation devices invented during the 1800s, while a Chinese zoetrope-type device was invented already in 180 AD.[3][4][5][6] These devices produced movement from sequential drawings using technological means, but animation did not really develop much further until the advent of cinematography.

There is no single person who can be considered the "creator" of the art of film animation, as there were several people doing several projects which could be considered various types of animation all around the same time.

Georges Méliès was a creator of special-effect films; he was generally one of the first people to use animation with his technique. He discovered a technique by accident which was to stop the camera rolling to change something in the scene, and then continue rolling the film. This idea was later known as stop-motion animation. Méliès discovered this technique accidentally when his camera broke down while shooting a bus driving by. When he had fixed the camera, a hearse happened to be passing by just as Méliès restarted rolling the film, his end result was that he had managed to make a bus transform into a hearse. This was just one of the great contributors to animation in the early years.

The earliest surviving stop-motion advertising film was an English short by Arthur Melbourne-Cooper called Matches: An Appeal (1899). Developed for the Bryant and May Matchsticks company, it involved stop-motion animation of wired-together matches writing a patriotic call to action on a blackboard.

J. Stuart Blackton was possibly the first American filmmaker to use the techniques of stop-motion and hand-drawn animation. Introduced to filmmaking by Edison, he pioneered these concepts at the turn of the 20th century, with his first copyrighted work dated 1900. Several of his films, among them The Enchanted Drawing (1900) and Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906) were film versions of Blackton's "lightning artist" routine, and utilized modified versions of Méliès' early stop-motion techniques to make a series of blackboard drawings appear to move and reshape themselves. 'Humorous Phases of Funny Faces' is regularly cited as the first true animated film, and Blackton is considered the first true animator.

Fantasmagorie by Emile Cohl, 1908

Another French artist, Émile Cohl, began drawing cartoon strips and created a film in 1908 called Fantasmagorie.[7] 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 where 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. This makes Fantasmagorie the first animated film created using what came to be known as traditional (hand-drawn) animation.

Following the successes of Blackton and Cohl, many other artists began experimenting with animation. One such artist was Winsor McCay, a successful newspaper cartoonist, who created detailed animations that required a team of artists and painstaking attention for detail. Each frame was drawn on paper; which invariably required backgrounds and characters to be redrawn and animated. Among McCay's most noted films are Little Nemo (1911), Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) and The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918).

The production of animated short films, typically referred to as "cartoons", became an industry of its own during the 1910s, and cartoon shorts were produced to be shown in movie theaters. The most successful early animation producer 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.

Techniques

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, which are 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 onto motion picture film against a painted background by a rostrum camera.

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 Akira (Japan, 1988). Traditional animated films which were produced with the aid of computer technology include The Lion King (US, 1994) Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (Japan, 2001), Treasure Planet (USA, 2002) and Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003).

Stop motion

A stop-motion animation of a moving coin.

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 type of media used to create the animation. Computer software is widely available to create this type of animation.

Computer animation

A short gif animation

Computer animation encompasses a variety of techniques, the unifying factor being that the animation is created digitally on a computer.

2D animation

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 of tweening, morphing, onion skinning and interpolated rotoscoping.

Examples: Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Danny Phantom, Waltz with Bashir

3D animation

3D animation are digitally modeled and manipulated by an animator. In order to manipulate a mesh, it is given a digital skeletal structure that can be used to control the mesh. This process is called rigging. Various other techniques can be applied, such as mathematical functions (ex. gravity, particle simulations), simulated fur or hair, effects such as fire and water and the use of Motion capture to name but a few, these techniques fall under the category of 3d dynamics. Many 3D animations are very believable and are commonly used as Visual effects for recent movies.

Terms
  • Photo Realistic Animation, is used primarily for animation that is wanting to resemble real life, Using advanced rendering that makes detailed skin, plants, water, fire, clouds, etc to mimic real life. Examples include Up (2009, USA), Kung-Fu Panda, Ice Age (2002, USA).
  • Cel-shaded animation, is used to mimic traditional animation using CG software. Shading looked stark and less blending colors. Examples include, Skyland (2007, France), Appleseed (2007, Japan), The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (2002, Japan)
  • Motion capture, is used when live action actors wear special suits that allow computers to copy their movements into CG characters. Examples include Polar Express (2004, USA), Beowulf, 2007), Avatar (2009, USA).

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.

Other animation techniques

  • 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.
  • Erasure animation: a technique using tradition 2D medium, photographed over time as the artist manipulates the image. For example, William Kentridge is famous for his charcoal erasure films.
  • Pinscreen animation: makes use of a screen filled with movable pins, which 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 backlighted or frontlighted 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.

Other techniques and approaches

See also

References

  1. ^ CHTHO produces documentary on world’s oldest animation. Tehran Times. 04-03-2008.
  2. ^ The Visual Linguist: Burnt City animation VL
  3. ^ Ronan, Colin A; Joseph Needham (1985). The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 2. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31536-0. 
  4. ^ Dulac, Nicolas; André Gaudreault (2004). "Heads or Tails: The Emergence of a New Cultural Series, from the Phenakisticope to the Cinematograph". Invisible Culture: A Journal for Visual Culture. The University of Rochester. http://www.rochester.edu/in_visible_culture/Issue_8/dulac_gaudreault.html#1. Retrieved 13 May 2006. 
  5. ^ History of Media, University of Minnesota, accessed 13 May 2006
  6. ^ "Zoetrope". Laura Hayes and John Howard Wileman Exhibit of Optical Toys. The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. 2005. http://courses.ncssm.edu/gallery/collections/toys/html/exhibit10.htm. Retrieved 13 May 2006. 
  7. ^ Dailymotion - Fantasmagorie - une vidéo Cinéma
  • 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 1-84451-140-5
  • Crafton, Donald (1982). Before Mickey. Cambridge, Massachusetts.: The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-03083-7
  • Solomon, Charles (1989). Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation. New York.: Random House, Inc. ISBN 0-394-54684-9

Further reading

  • 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
  • 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 0-9778710-0-2
  • 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 0-5712-0228-4
  • Bob Godfrey and Anna Jackson, 'The Do-It-Yourself Film Animation Book' BBC Publications 1974 ISBN 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.)

External links


Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

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Simple English

Animation is a way of making a movie from many still images. The images are put together one after another, and then played at a fast speed to give the illusion of movement. Most animations are played at a speed of twenty-four to sixty images per second. Each image becomes one frame of the movie.

A person who makes animations is called an animator.

There are three ways to animate:

  1. Draw each frame
  2. Use stop-motion: make a model scene and change it to create a new image (frame)
  3. Make computer graphics
    File:Blender3D CircularWaveAnim.gif
    Computer animation of circular waves generated by an underwater explosion.

Contents

Overview

Because it is expensive to make, most animation comes from professional companies. However, independent animators have existed since the 1950s in America, with many of those people entering the professional industry. In Europe, the independent movement has existed since the 1910s, with animators like pre-revolutionary Russia's Ladislas Starevich and Germany's Lotte Reiniger.

On the internet, many people use a computer program called Flash to create animations. Flash uses a combination of drawing and computer graphics to make animations. Many animations on the internet are made in Flash. Most animators on the internet do not work for professional companies.

On television, limited animation is used a lot. It is used by popular companies such as UPA and Hanna-Barbera Productions. Simple, limited movement makes the images easier to draw, which lowers the cost of making animations and makes the production of animation faster.

Famous names in the business

Famous animation studios

United States

Canada

  • Atkinson Film-Arts
  • Cinar (now Cookie Jar Entertainment)
  • CinéGroupe
  • National Film Board of Canada
  • Nelvana

Europe

Asia

Japan

China

  • Beijing Xie Art (mainland)
  • Colorland (Hong Kong)
  • Wang Film Productions (Taiwan)

Philippines

  • Toon City

Australia

Other pages

Other websites

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