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For other uses, see Animation (disambiguation).
Animation is the process of creating the continuous motion and shape change[Note 1] illusion by means of rapid display of a sequence of static images that minimally differ from each other. The illusion — like in motion pictures in general — is thought to rely on phi phenomenon.
The bouncing ball animation (below) consists of these six frames.
This animation moves at 10 frames per second.
Animations can be stored or recorded on either analogue media, such as Flip book, motion picture film, video tape, on digital media, including formats such as animated GIF, Flash animation or digital video. To display it, a digital camera, a computer, or a projector are used.
Animation creation methods include the traditional animation creation method and those involving stop motion animation of three-dimensional objects, e.g. puppets, clay, or Lego figures. Images are displayed in a rapid succession, usually 24, 25, or 30 frames per second.
From Latin animātiō, "the act of bringing to life"; from animō ("to animate" or "give life to") and -ātiō ("the act of").
Main article: History of animation
A phenakistoscope disc by Eadweard Muybridge (1893)
Early examples of attempts to capture the phenomenon of motion into a still drawing can be found in paleolithic cave paintings, where animals are often depicted with multiple legs in superimposed positions, clearly attempting to convey the perception of motion.
A Chinese zoetrope-type device had been invented in 180 AD.
The Voynich manuscript that dates back to between 1404 and 1438 contains several series of illustrations of the same subject-matter and even few circles that – when spun around the center – would create an illusion of motion.
These devices produced the appearance of movement from sequential drawings using technological means, but animation did not really develop much further until the advent of cinematography. The cinématographe was a projector, printer, and camera in one machine that allowed moving pictures to be shown successfully on a screen which was invented by history's earliest film makers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, in 1894.
The phenakistoscope (1832), zoetrope (1834) and praxinoscope (1877), as well as the common flip book, were early animation devices to produce movement from sequential drawings using technological means, but animation did not develop further until the advent of motion picture film.
The first animated projection (screening) was created in France, by Charles-Émile Reynaud, who was a French science teacher. Reynaud created the Praxinoscope in 1877 and the Théâtre Optique in December 1888. On 28 October 1892, he projected the first animation in public, Pauvre Pierrot, at the Musée Grévin in Paris. This film is also notable as the first known instance of film perforations being used. His films were not photographed, but drawn directly onto the transparent strip. In 1900, more than 500,000 people had attended these screenings.
Praxinoscope, The first projection (1877)
The first film that was recorded on standard picture film and included animated sequences was the 1900 Enchanted Drawing, which was followed by the first entirely animated film - the 1906 Humorous Phases of Funny Faces by J. Stuart Blackton, and is because of that considered the father of American animation.
The first animated film created by using what came to be known as traditional (hand-drawn) animation - the 1908 Fantasmagorie by Émile Cohl
In Europe, the French artist, Émile Cohl, created the first animated film using what came to be known as traditional animation creation methods - the 1908 Fantasmagorie. 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.
The author of the first puppet-animated film (The Beautiful Lukanida (1912)) was the Russian-born (ethnically Polish) director Wladyslaw Starewicz, known as Ladislas Starevich.
The more detailed hand-drawn animations, requiring a team of animators drawing each frame manually with detailed backgrounds and characters, were those directed by Winsor McCay, a successful newspaper cartoonist, including the 1911 Little Nemo, the 1914 Gertie the Dinosaur, and the 1918 The Sinking of the Lusitania.
During the 1910s, the production of animated short films, typically referred to as "cartoons", became an industry of its own and cartoon shorts were produced for showing in movie theaters. The most successful producer at the time 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.
El Apóstol (Spanish: "The Apostle") was a 1917 Argentine animated film utilizing cutout animation, and the world's first animated feature film. Unfortunately, a fire that destroyed producer Frederico Valle's film studio incinerated the only known copy of El Apóstol, and it is now considered a lost film.
Computer animation has become popular since Toy Story (1995), the first animated film completely made using this technique.
In 2008, the animation market was worth US$68.4 billion.
Main article: Traditional animation
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 that 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 against a painted background by a rostrum camera onto motion picture film .
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 L'Illusionniste (British-French, 2010). Traditional animated films which were produced with the aid of computer technology include The Lion King (US, 1994), Akira (Japan, 1988), Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (Japan, 2001), Les Triplettes de Belleville (France, 2003), and The Secret of Kells (Irish-French-Belgian, 2009).
Excerpt from the 1919 Feline Follies with Felix the Cat.
n example of traditional animation, a horse animated by rotoscoping from Eadweard Muybridge's 19th century photos
- Full animation refers to the process of producing high-quality traditionally animated films that regularly use detailed drawings and plausible movement. Fully animated films can be made in a variety of styles, from more realistically animated works such as those produced by the Walt Disney studio (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King) to the more 'cartoon' styles of the Warner Bros. animation studio. Many of the Disney animated features are examples of full animation, as are non-Disney works such as The Secret of NIMH (US, 1982), The Iron Giant (US, 1999), and Nocturna (Spain, 2007).
- Limited animation involves the use of less detailed and/or more stylized drawings and methods of movement. Pioneered by the artists at the American studio United Productions of America, limited animation can be used as a method of stylized artistic expression, as in Gerald McBoing Boing (US, 1951), Yellow Submarine (UK, 1968), and much of the anime produced in Japan. Its primary use, however, has been in producing cost-effective animated content for media such as television (the work of Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, and other TV animation studios) and later the Internet (web cartoons).
- Rotoscoping is a technique patented by Max Fleischer in 1917 where animators trace live-action movement, frame by frame. The source film can be directly copied from actors' outlines into animated drawings, as in The Lord of the Rings (US, 1978), or used in a stylized and expressive manner, as in Waking Life (US, 2001) and A Scanner Darkly (US, 2006). Some other examples are: Fire and Ice (USA, 1983) and Heavy Metal (1981).
- Live-action/animation is a technique combining hand-drawn characters into live action shots. One of the earlier uses was in Koko the Clown when Koko was drawn over live action footage. Other examples include Who Framed Roger Rabbit (USA, 1988), Space Jam (USA, 1996) and Osmosis Jones (USA, 2001).
Stop motion animation
Main article: Stop motion
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 medium used to create the animation. Computer software is widely available to create this type of animation; however, traditional stop motion animation is usually less expensive and time-consuming to produce than current computer animation.
- Puppet animation typically involves stop-motion puppet figures interacting in a constructed environment, in contrast to real-world interaction in model animation. The puppets generally have an armature inside of them to keep them still and steady as well as to constrain their motion to particular joints. Examples include The Tale of the Fox (France, 1937), The Nightmare Before Christmas (US, 1993), Corpse Bride (US, 2005), Coraline (US, 2009), the films of Jiří Trnka and the TV series Robot Chicken (US, 2005–present).
- Puppetoon, created using techniques developed by George Pal, are puppet-animated films which typically use a different version of a puppet for different frames, rather than simply manipulating one existing puppet.
- Clay animation, or Plasticine animation (often called claymation, which, however, is a trademarked name), uses figures made of clay or a similar malleable material to create stop-motion animation. The figures may have an armature or wire frame inside, similar to the related puppet animation (below), that can be manipulated to pose the figures. Alternatively, the figures may be made entirely of clay, such as in the films of Bruce Bickford, where clay creatures morph into a variety of different shapes. Examples of clay-animated works include The Gumby Show (US, 1957–1967) Morph shorts (UK, 1977–2000), Wallace and Gromit shorts (UK, as of 1989), Jan Švankmajer's Dimensions of Dialogue (Czechoslovakia, 1982), The Trap Door (UK, 1984). Films include Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Chicken Run and The Adventures of Mark Twain.
- Cutout animation is a type of stop-motion animation produced by moving two-dimensional pieces of material such as paper or cloth. Examples include Terry Gilliam's animated sequences from Monty Python's Flying Circus (UK, 1969–1974); Fantastic Planet (France/Czechoslovakia, 1973) ; Tale of Tales (Russia, 1979), The pilot episode of the TV series (and sometimes in episodes) of South Park (US, 1997).
A clay animation scene from a Finnish television commercial
- Silhouette animation is a variant of cutout animation in which the characters are backlit and only visible as silhouettes. Examples include The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Weimar Republic, 1926) and Princes et princesses (France, 2000).
- Model animation refers to stop-motion animation created to interact with and exist as a part of a live-action world. Intercutting, matte effects, and split screens are often employed to blend stop-motion characters or objects with live actors and settings. Examples include the work of Ray Harryhausen, as seen in films such Jason and the Argonauts (1963), and the work of Willis O'Brien on films such as King Kong (1933 film).
- Go motion is a variant of model animation that uses various techniques to create motion blur between frames of film, which is not present in traditional stop-motion. The technique was invented by Industrial Light & Magic and Phil Tippett to create special effects scenes for the film The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Another example is the dragon named "Vermithrax" from Dragonslayer (1981 film).
- Object animation refers to the use of regular inanimate objects in stop-motion animation, as opposed to specially created items.
- Graphic animation uses non-drawn flat visual graphic material (photographs, newspaper clippings, magazines, etc.), which are sometimes manipulated frame-by-frame to create movement. At other times, the graphics remain stationary, while the stop-motion camera is moved to create on-screen action.
- Brickfilm A sub-genre of object animation involving using Lego or other similar brick toys to make an animation. These have had a recent boost in popularity with the advent of video sharing sites like YouTube and the availability of cheap cameras and animation software.
- Pixilation involves the use of live humans as stop motion characters. This allows for a number of surreal effects, including disappearances and reappearances, allowing people to appear to slide across the ground, and other such effects. Examples of pixilation include The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb and Angry Kid shorts.
Main article: Computer animation
Computer animation encompasses a variety of techniques, the unifying factor being that the animation is created digitally on a computer. This animation takes less time to produce than previous traditional animation. 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.
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 interpolated morphing, onion skinning and interpolated rotoscoping. 2D animation has many applications, including analog computer animation, Flash animation and PowerPoint animation. Cinemagraphs are still photographs in the form of an animated GIF file of which part is animated.
- Final line advection animation, a technique that gives the artists and animators a lot more influence and control over the final product as everything is done within the same department:
In Paperman, we didn’t have a cloth department and we didn’t have a hair department. Here, folds in the fabric, hair silhouettes and the like come from of the committed design decision-making that comes with the 2D drawn process. Our animators can change things, actually erase away the CG underlayer if they want, and change the profile of the arm. And they can design all the fabric in that Milt Kahl kind-of way, if they want to.
Main articles: Computer animation and 3D computer graphics
3D animation is digitally modeled and manipulated by an animator. The animator starts by creating an external 3D mesh to manipulate. A mesh is a geometric configuration that gives the visual appearance of form to a 3D object or 3D environment. The mesh may have many vertices which are the geometric points which make up the mesh; it is given an internal digital skeletal structure called an armature that can be used to control the mesh with weights. This process is called rigging and can be programmed for movement with keyframes.
Other techniques can be applied, such as mathematical functions (e.g., gravity, particle simulations), simulated fur or hair, and effects such as fire and water simulations. These techniques fall under the category of 3D dynamics.
- Cel-shaded animation is used to mimic traditional animation using CG software. Shading looks stark, with less blending of colors. Examples include, Skyland (2007, France), Appleseed Ex Machina (2007, Japan), The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (2002, Japan)
- Machinima – Films created by screen capturing in video games and virtual worlds.
- 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, USA), A Christmas Carol (2009, USA), The Adventures of Tintin (2011, USA)
- Photo-realistic animation is used primarily for animation that attempts to resemble real life, using advanced rendering that mimics in detail skin, plants, water, fire, clouds, etc. Examples include Up (2009, USA), Kung-Fu Panda (2008, USA), Ice Age (2002, USA).
Audio-Animatronic version of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
- Animatronics is the use of mechatronics to create machines which seem animate rather than robotic.
- Audio-Animatronics and Autonomatronics is a form of robotics animation, combined with 3-D animation, created by Walt Disney Imagineering for shows and attractions at Disney theme parks move and make noise (generally a recorded speech or song), but are fixed to whatever supports them. They can sit and stand but cannot walk. An Audio-Animatron is different from an android-type robot in that it uses prerecorded movements and sounds, rather than responding to external stimuli. In 2009, Disney created an interactive version of the technology called Autonomatronics.
- Linear Animation Generator is a form of animation by using static picture frames installed in a tunnel or a shaft. The animation illusion is created by putting the viewer in a linear motion, parallel to the installed picture frames. The concept and the technical solution, were invented in 2007 by Mihai Girlovan in Romania.
- Chuckimation is a type of animation created by the makers of the cartoon Action League Now! in which characters/props are thrown, or chucked from off camera or wiggled around to simulate talking by unseen hands,
- Puppetry is a form of theatre or performance animation that involves the manipulation of puppets. It is very ancient, and is believed to have originated 3000 years BC. Puppetry takes many forms but they all share the process of animating inanimate performing objects. Puppetry is used in almost all human societies both as entertainment – in performance – and ceremonially in rituals and celebrations such as carnivals. Most puppetry involves storytelling.
Toy Story zoetrope at Disney California Adventure creates illusion of motion using figures, rather than static pictures.
- Zoetrope is a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures. The term zoetrope is from the Greek words ζωή (zoē), meaning "alive, active", and τρόπος (tropos), meaning "turn", with "zoetrope" taken to mean "active turn" or "wheel of life".
Other animation styles, techniques and approaches
- 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, for example by Aleksandr Petrov.
- Erasure animation: a technique using traditional 2D media, photographed over time as the artist manipulates the image. For example, William Kentridge is famous for his charcoal erasure films, and Piotr Dumała for his auteur technique of animating scratches on plaster.
- Pinscreen animation: makes use of a screen filled with movable pins that 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 back- or front-lighted 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.
- Character animation
- Special effects animation
As with any other form of media, animation too has instituted awards for excellence in the field. The original awards for animation were presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for animated shorts from the year 1932, during the 5th Academy Awards function. The first winner of the Academy Award was the short Flowers and Trees, a production by Walt Disney Productions and United Artists. However, the Academy Award for a feature length animated motion picture was only instituted for the year 2001, and awarded during the 74th Academy Awards in 2002. It was won by the movie Shrek, produced by DreamWorks and Pacific Data Images. Since then, Disney/Pixar have produced the most movies either to win or be nominated for the award. The list of both awards can be obtained here:
- Academy Award for Best Animated Feature
- Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film
Several other countries have instituted an award for best animated feature film as part of their national film awards: BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film (since 2006), César Award for Best Animated Film (since 2011), Goya Award for Best Animated Film (since 1989), Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year (since 2007). Also since 2007, the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Animated Feature Film has been awarded at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Since 2009, the European Film Awards have awarded the European Film Award for Best Animated Film.
The Annie Award is another award presented for excellence in the field of animation. Unlike the Academy Awards, the Annie Awards are only received for achievements in the field of animation and not for any other field of technical and artistic endeavor. They were re-organized in 1992 to create a new field for Best Animated feature. The 1990s winners were dominated by Walt Disney, however newer studios, led by Pixar & DreamWorks, have now begun to consistently vie for this award. The list of awardees is as follows: