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Animation is a fast sequence of pictures that give off an illusion that something is moving. Each image is called a frame in terms of animation. The person sees each image, and each one is slightly different. In order to have an animation look natural, the animator must capture and study the way its subject moves, looks, and thinks, to accurately simulate it into their work.
To make an animation, the animator can’t simply start drawing each frame (whether it’s digital or traditional hand drawn) without doing research about their subject and characters. They must start with creating a storyboard. Storyboards are pieces of work that show each different scene in the animation the animator wants to create. It displays a series of pictures of the plot or storyline, the time span, and details about the scene to help the animator develop their actual animation. Depending on the length of the animation determines how detailed and long the storyboard is.
The finished animation could be for anything from an advertisement on a website, to a television series. Animation comes in contact with people more than they think, and in many different ways. When people think about animation, they would probably think about traditional hand drawn frame by frame animation. But animation has many other forms.
My reasoning for researching animation, is to gain more knowledge and skills for animation. For my potential career; commercial design, animation can be useful in advertising on television or simple advertisements on websites. Though it is not required to know how to animate in my industry of choice, knowing how to animate can be a benefit, when trying to make a piece of work more interesting.
In 1831 one of the first acts towards today’s advancement in animation was by Dr. Joseph Antoine Plateau and Dr. Simon Ritter. They created a machine that consisted of a rotating disk with small windows. Within the rotating disk was another disc containing images. When the viewer looked through the windows on the first rotating disc, they were able to see the illusion of movement. Their creation was called a phenakitoscope; also known as the “spindle viewer.” (courses.ncssm.edu/gallery/collections/toys/html/exhibit07.htm)
A study that was done was also a smaller advancement towards todays animation. Eadweard Muybridge started doing research on animals and their movement. He would take pictures of an animal walking, running, or moving in any other way to study their motions of how those animals moved. (joshuamosley.com)
In 1889 another device was created that lead to animation. This device was called a kinetoscope. This device; in 13 seconds, would project a 50ft film. This device was created by Thomas Edison. In 1896 a device was created that would project Thomas Edison’s films and have major influence on sub-sequent projectors. This device was called a vitascope, and was designed by Thomas Armat. (joshuamosley.com)
The very first actual animation film was called “Humorous Phases of Funny Faces” by J. Stuart Blackton. He created it by using a frame-by-frame method (drawing out every single picture) by using a chalk board and some chalk. He would create one face, record it, erase what he has just done, and create a new face a little different from the last, to create the illusion of movement. The form of animation he used is called stop motion. (joshuamosley.com)
The very first film using a black background and white figures was called “Phantasmagorie” by Emile Cohl in 1908. He also created the first cutout animation, which was instead of redrawing each figure you would simply move the paper slightly for each frame. He found this method to be less tedious that traditional animation. (animationhistory.blogspot.com)
The first well-known animation was called “Gertie, The Trained Dinosaur” by Winsor. McCay in 1914. The method he used to create this animation was traditional hand drawn animation. He had to draw out 10,000 different drawings to complete his animation. It consisted of a simple drawn background and a simple character; which was a brachiosaurus. The way he animated was, he would draw each position of his dinosaur character, then go back and draw the frames in between, which would make the movement natural looking. (historyofgeology.blogspot.com)
The most famous company for animation was Disney. It was founded in 1923 by Roy and Walt Disney, it was called originally called Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. That same year, the brothers created the famous movie “Alice In Wonderland” using the combination of cartoon characters and live action; a technique by Max Fleicher they extended. They also created “Steam Boat Willy”. It was the first cartoon that uses synchronized sound. (josuamosley.com
The first type of animation is probably the most well known. Traditional animation is the first type of animation to be used, which became more used in the 21st century. It is done by drawing each scene on paper frame by frame, then putting the pictures together to give off the illusion of movement. The eye cannot see more then 24 frames per second, therefore typical use 12 to 24 frames per second; 24 frames being more smooth and precise, and 12 frames for more basic and rough movement.
The second form of animation is called computer animation. It is created similar to traditional animation, except it’s created digitally using an animation program. (ex: Flash). Unlike traditional animation, computer animation does not have to be frame by frame, and the programs used makes it easier to create effects the animator is trying to portray. Overall computer animation derives from the work of military teams and industrial research teams wanting more instruction and simulation using computer graphics. Thus, they created the world’s first programmable computer called Numeral Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) in 1946.
The development of computers leads to the fourth type of animation, which is CG animation. The first known company to use CG animation was Pixar. There were short animated films by John Lassiter; employee at Graphics Group, to help advertise his company. Disney discovered these animations, and was so interested, that they teamed up in 1995 to create a whole full-length 3D animated movie called “Toy Story”. The combination of Disney and the Graphics Group was renamed Pixar. The successfulness of “Toy Story” promised a future of more advanced 3D animations and full length movies. 3D animation has advanced so much; animators have been able to create more intricate movies with animation. For example; Transformers the movie was both video and animation, since 3D animation advanced so much, the movie only looks like it was recorded.
Clay animation, is another form of animation which the characters are completely made out of clay. Like stop motion, clay animation; also known as claymation, the figure is moved slightly. Then a picture is taken. The figure is then moved again slightly and so on. All these pictures are put together, and viewed one after another creating the illusion of movement.
The last type of animation is called cel-shaded animation. Cel-shaded animation is done using computer graphics, but is done to make it look as if it was done by hand. Cel-shaded animation is actually done using a 3D figure. What makes it look only 2-demensional, is that only few colors are selected for the character or object, and one other color for the shading. An example of animation that uses this technique is the TV show “Family Guy” where something will be moving and suddenly an object looks 3-demensional.
The advancement of animation has brought up the industry of video games. The very first video game being “Tennis for Two”, created in 1958. It was a simple interactive animation, using two controllers and playing tennis. The game used only one color, and simple shapes. Compared to today’s day in age, that’s nothing. We now have fully interactive games from racing, shooting, and RPG. All the video games you play; whether it’s an animated flash game online, or a new Xbox game, all contains variations of different animations.
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