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The History And Growth Of Animation

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1596 words Published: 3rd May 2017

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Ever since the establishment of photography people learned that if pictures of moving objects were taken in a quick series and flipped through in succession to create the false impression of a moving picture. Pottery is one of the best examples of early art still around today. One of the very first attempts at translating the motionless image into a moving image is found on such piece of pottery. About 5000BC a piece pottery, if spun illustrates a goat jumping and eating from a tree. It consisted of five sequential drawings.

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The interest of illustrating figures in motion can be seen in the still drawings of Paleolithic cave paintings, as in these paintings animals are illustrated with multiple legs in superimposed arrangements. The movement of anatomical structure was defined by Leonardo Davinci, courtesy to which today artists can come up with believable and beautiful animation. A toy created in 1824 known as the thaumatrope demonstrated the phenomenon of diligence of vision. The design was a disc, which showed a bird on one side and an empty cage on the other. When the disc was spun, the appeared in the cage. According to Patrick James “……..This proved that the eye retains images when it is exposed to a series of pictures, one at a time.” After the thaumatrope William George Horner invented Zeotrope in 1834. This device was cylindrical in shape with vertical slits around the sides. To the opposite side of the slits series of pictures were kept, around the inside of the cylinder. In order to see the illusion of motion the user had to spin the cylinder and look through the slits. Peering through the slits was quite annoying for people, so in year 1877 Emile Reynaud invented Praxinoscope. This device was much like Zeotrope the difference was that animation was reflected on motionless mirrors on the inside of the wheel. It was much better than Zeotrope as it allowed large group of people to view animation at the same time. The first animated film was created in 1892. It was fifteen minutes long and was made by Reynaud. It was shown with the help of praxinoscope and a projector.

Animation started appearing before 1910. It consisted of simple drawings photographed one at a time. As there were hundreds of drawings per minute of film, the animation process was highly labor intensive. As the time passed by, the technology evolved and new animation techniques came into existence. An animation technique, known as stop action was used by the animators earlier. The directors used to stop the camera and rearrange or remove items to the shot and then start rolling again. In 1900 J.Stuart Blackton created a film called “The Enchanted Drawing” by combining the live action of him drawing and stop action technique. Later in year 1908 Emile Cohl created a film named “Fantasmagorie”. This film was considered to be the first “true” animated film. The industrial revolution took place and most of the American studios turned to flat animation as it was much more efficient for their assembly line technique of making animated films. Animation was easily done by the celluloid technique developed around in the beginning of 1914. With the help of these celluloid’s the animators just had to make a complex background or foreground and compress in moving characters in between a number of other pieces of celluloid’s, which is transparent apart from where drawings were painted on it. This helped the animators, as they would just draw once the background as it remained motionless and only the character moved. If the foreground elements were positioned in the frame, it also formed a false impression of depth. In 1914 one of the pioneer of animation named Winsor McCay created the first animated cartoons titled “Gertie the Dinosaur”.

Gradually animation then started to progress with quite a lot of animated films produced in next twenty years. Producers like Warners, MGM and Disney developed cartoon techniques in 1920s and 1930s. They used traditional animation methods of constructing complicated backgrounds and then imposing moving figures in them with celluloid. Then in 1928 it was Walt Disney, who took animation to a complete new level adding sound and producing the first ever animated film with sound, which was “Steamboat Willie”. In this film he introduced a new character named as Mickey Mouse. And in 1937 Walt Disney change the entire world of animation by opening doors that people never even thought of. The first full-length animated film in 1937 that was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was a box-office smash. This era was known as the Golden age of Animation. According to Steve Nyman “The film became the most successful motion picture of 1938 and earned over $8 million in its original theatrical release.”

While looking at it economically, when Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the studio ran out of money, as it was quite a labor incentive task. Immediately after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Pinocchio and Fantasia were released and both of them were financial disappointments. Traditional animated feature films were financially unsuccessful in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Traditional animation was not successful because it required a lot of money, a huge team (labor) and the quality was also not that great as compared to today’s computer animated films.

With the passage of time animation has developed and evolved a lot. We can see the drastic changes in the way of doing animation. With the changing era technology is also changing hand in hand, as earlier people used to use traditional ways of doing animation but today animation is mostly computer generated which is far more easy and it consumes less time.

Since then animated films have become one of the most frequently enjoyed forms of entertainment. Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King are some of the best movies by Disney.

The social impact of animation is also very drastic. Earlier the target audience of animated cartoons or films were children. But as the evolving time every single person like animated movies. These films have a very light humor which sometimes doesn’t even make sense, but it is done in such an appealing way that an 8 years old kid or a 80 years old granddad would love them. Every generation has been enjoying the stories and characters of these animated featured films. Traditionally animation was done in time consuming and labor intensive process of two-dimensional hand drawn cel animation. Today the way of doing animation is completely different and it is much more effective and it majorly depends on new advanced computer technology.

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Without the new advances in computer technology, outstanding animated films wouldn’t have been possible. Films like Toy Story, Madagascar, Finding Nemo, Up etc are the magnificent pieces of work done by Walt Disney and they wouldn’t have been possible without the computer technology. Earlier animators used to work very hard and they had to put a lot of effort just to make a small animated video, but now it is all computerized and one can easily see the evolution of animation that how significantly it has improved and made a special place for it self in the industry. According to Buffy Naillon, “Computer animation changed the animated film industry. Animation today is based more on math formulas than the ability to draw” According to Library.ThinkQuest.org, The company created a design system called DAC (Design Augmented by Computers). With it, they could look at 3D models of their cars from every angle.

Consistent with PIXAR “….where films go through four stages: development, creating storyline; pre-production, addressing technical challenges; production, making the film; and post-production, “polishing” the final product.” Today the way of doing animation is completely different and is very effective, it’s a complete process with various steps which include the idea of the film development, then to create a story line in which pre-production is done and dealing with all the technical challenges are also done in this step, later comes the production and the making of the film and then with the final touches the polishing is done.

Today we have 3 dimensional animated films, which give the impression of being more realistic. Everyone today is fond of animated films. The stories are very beautiful and yet simple, most of the time the comic stories aren’t even really funny and most of the time they don’t even make sense and are completely illogical but still people love them as when that sledgehammer drops on Sylvester’s Big toe and it grows to the size of a watermelon there’s no trick photography involved. And the most important the quality of the animated films today is way different then what we had in past. Today when animated films are played in rapid succession they appear to have seamless movements within the layouts. Comparing the methods used today and the methods used earlier one can easily see that how the animation process has evolved and how it is getting better and better. The amazing animated films carry on in the new millennium with great movies like How to Train your Dragon, Toy Story 3, Shrek The Final Chapter, and many more to follow as animated featured films are one of the best way of entertainment today.


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