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Accounting the History of Animation

     Animation can be defined as the image that would depict motion. This effect is achieved with the development of individual images with slight change. This would come together to create the illusion of movement. In reality, no individual can actually pinpoint the time when animation started. We do have evidence in the form of cave painting in the Paleolithic era that represented animation. Starting from the Egyptian civilization to Leonardo da Vinci, every civilization has seen the usage of sequential pictures that would depict movement. However, it is only with the development of specific devices when the pictures could be viewed with speed, did it lead to the actual birth of “animation” in its truest form.

The recent popularity of animation and use of rich multimedia platforms have led to the inception of animation studios and institutes. These customized animation institutes like the Arena Animation Kolkata provides various training courses that would enable the student to develop a career on this subject. This article would discuss the history of the animation beginning with the 15th century.

The first half of the 15th century saw the animation where projection from the candle light would cast multiple images. This would create an illusion of movement. The early 19th century saw the development of Thaumatrope. This used a pair of strings that would flip the piece of circular cards. The image on either side would move fast, projecting that the image was actually in a dynamic stage. After this era, there were a series of inventions that enabled the appearance of motion from the still images. There was the flipbook, the Phenakistoscope, the Praxinoscope and the Zoetrope. However, all this fell in the background when in 1883 the first true cinematographic was projected.

Thomas Eddison invented the first Kinetoscope in 1883. The Cinematograph was invented by the Lumière brothers. This invention pushed animation as a popular culture and the very first moving images were first displayed in Musée Grévin in Paris. This film was by Charles-Émile Reynaud and showed a beau giving flowers to his sweetheart. With the turn of the century, the animated world had progressed towards Vitascope. Devised by Thomas Armat, this projected films made by Thomas Edison. It would lay the foundation of the movie projector in the future.

The next adventurous feat in the animation world came in the form of stop motion animation techniques. This would use the small increments as movements between each shot. Creating a series of images, this would successfully portray even the most difficult feats and thereby entertain its audience. The first model based on this thought came in 1899; it used the same philosophy of real-time images. The technique became more popular with the J. Stuart Blackton’s movie Haunted Mansion. He then went on to produce the Humorous Phases of Funny Faces, the first official stop-motion picture. However, this meant investment of time. This is when Emile Cohl in France changed the technique a bit wherein he used cut out images to develop the scene rather than drawings. This would mean the silhouette could move on to the next frame without disturbing the production time. The latest movies like King Kong and 7th Voyage of Sinbad uses similar techniques to bring life to their monsters.

In the year 1912, the world saw the first “puppet” animated production. This was the time when the Ladislaw Starewicz launched his series of humorous films. Instead of using the traditional puppets, Ladislaw attached beetles to wires and other dead insects to create an effective cast. Then he went on to develop The Cameraman’s Revenge wherein depth of character and storytelling was finally established.

Once the effect on animation was discovered on the audience, there was a string of institutes that emerged. The Arena Animation Kolkata started to teach the students to create caricatures that would evoke catharsis. The Gertie the Dinosaur in 1914 came to have the same profound effect on the audience. The creature would respond to the commandments of Winsor McCay. This generated a tremendous response that started to the see inherent potential of animation. In the same year, there was another development. It was the revolutionary cell technique. This would enable the use of celluloid sheets for the different layers of image. It became possible to use multiple elements of the same image for different shots. This reduced repeated drawing. The animation process became less intensive and more consistent in nature.

1917 saw the invention of the first animated feature film. This opened the barriers for a wealth of loveable characters. El Apostol from Argentina remains the first film created. Felix the Cat soon followed it. Felix was the first character to be merchandised thereby opening new opportunities for animated marketing. This evolution was nothing compared to the Walt Disney’s Laugh O Grams in 1922. However, tragedy struck and the company went onto bankruptcy. Disney moved on to the creation of Alice’s Wonderland, now considered the savior of Walt Disney.

The true supremacy of Disney came into the forefront in 1928 with the launch of Steamboat Willie. Even with Warner Brothers releasing The Jazz Singer in 1927, the Steamboat Willie remained to be the first film that came with a full-length soundtrack, and voice and sound effects. The 1930s saw Disney bathing in success. However, competition became stringent with Universal Studios releasing The King of Jazz, the first animated feature film with sound. In 1934, the Looney Tunes were introduced. It embedded slapstick humor in the animation films. It had paved the way for people of all ages to enjoy the animated feature film.

The 1950s saw the introduction of the color television and this gave birth to the demand of animated entertainment. This started with Huckleberry Hound and included hits like The Flintstones, The Smurfs, Yogi Bear and Scooby Doo. The twentieth century saw the introduction of the next big thing the CGI.

CGI means Computer Generated Imagery that would use the stop motion animation to design three-dimensional models with the computer. The models are then transferred onto the large stages. The first such film using the technology was Toy Story. With the variety of technology available to animators today makes animation look amazingly real and life-like. Integrating animation would enable casting real-life looking characters.

Article Source:

Arena Animation Kolkata offers animated courses to students who are interested to develop a career in animation. To know more about the services provided by animation, visit

Posted on 2013-06-18, By: *

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