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Computer Animation Timeline

  • Zoetrope - Development

    Zoetrope - Development
    (date aprox.)
    One of several pre-film moving images created roughly at the same time. By manipulating the viewpoint and rotating the image, an artist could simulate a short, repetitive action. Zoetropes and similar devices are the start of the film age, but most of these first images were not photographs but drawings which makes them an early form of animation.
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    Walt Disney - Artist

    Although Walt Disney didn't personally animate many of his famous works past Mickey Mouse, his leadership and artisitc influence ran through everything he touched. The innovations he helped bring to the field of animation are still prevelant today.
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    Tex Avery - Artist

    Tex Avery's animation style "celebrated the cartoon as a cartoon; his work never pretended to be anything but a drawing come to life" (Britannica Biographies). He utilized slapstick routines, absurdities, and fourth-wall breaks to create animations that were just as much for adults as they were for children.
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    Joseph Barbera - Artist

    Joseph Barbara was half of the duo Hanna-Barbera that was a major influence on animated shows for television from the 1960s into the 1990s and whose influenced is still evident in modern shows. Hanna-Barbera created countless famous cartoon characters including Tom & Jerry, Huckleberry Hound, The Flinstones, the Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo.
  • Cel Painting - Development

    John Randolph Bray submitted his first patent that would become the technique called cel animation. Using multiple layers allowed for faster and cheaper production of animation.
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    Raymond Harryhausen - Artist

    Raymond Hayyhausen is often called the "father" of stop-motion animation. To further enhance his stop-motion techniques by integrating with live-action, he also pioneered the split-screen technique.
  • Steamboat Willie - Work

    Steamboat Willie - Work
    Although not the first cartoon made with future cartoon legend Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Willie was Mickey's first public appearance because Walt Disney wanted to release the first animation to have fully 
synchronized sound.
  • Multiplane Cameras - Development

    Multiplane Cameras - Development
    These camera used a system of glass and various elements of an animation including foreground, background, and more. Moving the different elements at different speeds increased the illusion of depth that could not be achieved through pure artwork alone.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Work

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Work
    Walt Disney and his new studio made the first animated feature-length film. "Walt's Folly" was a triumphant success and set the precedent for animated movies.
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    Disney's WWII Efforts - Event

    Disney used his characters' popularity to promote support for the war effort, both U.S. and Canadian. In addition, he and some of his artists toured Latin America to hinder Pro-Nazi sentiment. After the bombing of Pearl Habor, part of Disney's studios were used by the U.S. army for eight months.
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    Hayao Miyazaki - Artist

    Hayao Miyazaki is an animator/director from Japan who has a seemingly endless supply of ideas and beautifully rendered expressions of those ideas. He is one of the main influences that has helped many people in the U.S. become exposed to and enjoy the art style and culture of Japan.
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    Cold War Conflict - Event

    (date aprox.)
    Among the Anti-Communist influences propogated throughout the U.S., Chuck Jones used the "Road Runner vs. Coyote" series. The attempts of the Coyote to kill the Road Runner were allegories to Communists attempts to disrupt the Consumerism world.
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    Genndy Tartakovsky - Artist

    Genndy Tartakovsky has worked in and helped advance multiple animation media including television (Dexter's Labratory, Samurai Jack), feature film (Hotel Transylvania), CGI (Star Wars: Clone Wars), and more. Some of his trademarks include strong outlines and long, frequent moments with no dialogue.
  • Microprocessor - Development

    Microprocessor - Development
    (date aprox.)
    The universal microprocessor allowed computers to be made smaller in size, process more data, and remember information. Without this development, computer animation would not be as available an art form as it is today.
  • Drug War - Event

    Drug War - Event
    (date aprox.) The U.S. pushed a strong Anti-Drug campaign in the 1980s and 90s. Multiple shows had special PSA announcements to educate children. Some shows even devoted entire episodes to dealing with the dangers of drugs. In a type of show that has not been repeated, multiple studios and a multitude of animated characters joined together in "Cartoon All-Stars To the Rescue."
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day - Work

    Terminator 2: Judgement Day - Work
    The sequel to the hit Terminator included significant computer generated image usage. The main antagonist, T-1000, was often fully rendered with CGI and includede multiple morphing effects throughout the film. In addition, it was the first major feature film to use personal computers to create the CGI special effects.
  • Toy Story - Work

    Toy Story - Work
    Toy Story was not only the first feature film fully created through computer animation but also a huge success. It has spun into a generation of CGI-only films that seem to be phasing traditional cel-painted animated films out.