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The History of Animation by Joseph O, Morales

By Thradix
  • Jan 1, 1500

    Pre-Animation: An Egyptian Mural

    Pre-Animation: An Egyptian Mural
    A 4,000 year old mural found in the tomb of Khnumhotep displays two men wrestling in a series of images. The slight changes from image to the next implies movement of the figures (Lessing, 2010).
  • Jan 1, 1500

    Pre-Animation: A Bowl of a Leaping Goat

    Pre-Animation: A Bowl of a Leaping Goat
    Long before modern technology, a bowl that was over 5,000 years old found in Iran’s Burnt City displayed a painting of a goat. Like a zoetrope, if the bowl were to be spun around, we would see the goat leaping to snatch leaves from a tree (Ball, 2008).
  • Jan 1, 1500

    Pre-Animation: Leonardo Da Vinci's Drawings of Anatomy

    Pre-Animation: Leonardo Da Vinci's Drawings of Anatomy
    Leonardo Da Vinci, a famous artist during the 15th century, created many works of art including detailed drawings of human anatomy. Displaying multiple angles of a figure can imply movement of a single figure (“Leonardo Drawing. Da,” n.d.).
  • Period: Jan 1, 1500 to

    The History of Animation

  • Image Projection: The Magic Lantern

    Image Projection: The Magic Lantern
    European inventors during the 1660s created these devices using a light source, mirror, and a lens apparatus. Light source being oil lamps. Although its original inventor is still unknown, Christiaan Huygens and Athanasius Kirchner are often credited due to their own improvements of the lantern. These devices were commonly used in public horror shows called Phantasmagoria where these devices were used to frighten the viewers. This was the start of image projection (“Magic Lanterns and,” n.d.).
  • The Thaumatrope

    The Thaumatrope
    This optical toy was invented by a physicist named Dr. John A. Paris. It was made by drawing an image both sides of a plain cardboard disk, and has strings attacked on opposite sides of it. When spun, the images appear to be one (“Thaumatrope,” n.d.).
  • The Phenakistoscope

    The Phenakistoscope
    An optical toy invented by Joseph Plateau that shows animated image on a disk. The toy is made by a spinning disk attached to a vertically to a handle. Around the disk are drawings that are slightly different from one another. Another disk, that slightly bigger than the other, has slits that are all equal measure. The user would then spin the disk and look through the slits while aimed at a mirror. They would then see the animation taking place on the reflection. (“A Short History,” 2014).
  • The Zoetrope

    The Zoetrope
    Improving on the Phenakistoscope, William George Horner created a cylinder that has slits vertically around it. Inside has a series of still images. When the cylinder is spun, you look through the slits to see the animation of the images taking place inside. This optical toy took away the need for a mirror to use (“Zoetrope,” n.d.).
  • Flip books

    Flip books
    This optical toy had many names. Pierre-Hubert Desvignes had the idea originally, which he called folioscopes, but John Barnes Linnett patented the idea under the name Kineograpgh. Flip books are made up of many small pages of images different from one another. As the name suggests, when the book is being flipped through, the viewer would see the picture in motion. This was an early start of 2D animation (“Flip Book-Flip,” 2013).
  • The Praxinoscope

    The Praxinoscope
    Charles-Émile Reynaud invented a cylinder optical toy much like the zoetrope. This device however consisted of twelve frames of images and stationary mirrors in the center. When it was spun, the viewer would look through one of the mirrors to see the animation of a single image (“Praxinoscope,” n.d.).
  • Theatre Optique: Part 1

    Theatre Optique: Part 1
    Expanding from his praxinoscope, Emile Reynaud created the theatre optique using a strip of 500 hand painted slides. Small holes were punched between each image that connects with the teeth of a large wheel which rotates at the same speed of the 36 mirrors at the center. Each image is lighted up one at a time. The light from the image is reflected back through lens and mirrors, which is then reflected to a mobile mirror and then projects the enlarged image onto a screen. Adding the principles of
  • Theatre Optique: Part 2

    Theatre Optique: Part 2
    the magic lantern to the theatre optique, he was able to project a background to the same screen as the enlarged image. An idea turned into a form of public entertainment that displays animations lasting for hours (“Theatre Optique,” 2009).
  • The Kinetsocope: Part 1

    The Kinetsocope: Part 1
    Thomas Edison was known for his invention for the light bulb, but it was not his only invention. The kinetoscope was a large wooden box that was about four feet tall, with a brass viewer up top. Film inside was on a series of vertical rollers inside. The machine’s motor activates when a coin was inserted, giving the viewer a motion picture through the viewer at 48 frames per second. Picture quality was not perfect, but enough so that the viewer could see the demonstration for a period of time.
  • The Kinetoscope: Part 2

    The Kinetoscope: Part 2
    Unlike the theatre optique, the kinetoscope could only support one person at a time (Flom, 2006).
  • The Cinematograph

    The Cinematograph
    Louis and Auguste Lumière invented a much smaller and lighter device compared to the kinetograph and operated with a high powered crank. The device was capable of recording, develop and project film, making this the first film camera in history. It photographed and projected film much slower than the kintoscope at 16 frames per second (Pruitt, 2014).
  • The First Animated Film: Fantasmagorie

    The First Animated Film: Fantasmagorie
    French cartoonist Emile Cohl creates a hand drawn animated film and called it Fantasmagorie which is named off the fantasmograph. One of the many variants of the magic lantern (“Emile Cohl’s Fantasmagorie,” n.d.). 700 drawings that were stitched together to make the film (“Fantasmagorie: The First,” 2010).
  • Clair de Lune Espagnol

    Clair de Lune Espagnol
    Using matte photography in a split screen techneque, Emile Cohl combines animation with live action (Lenburg, 2006, p. 52).
  • Gertie the Dinosaur

    Gertie the Dinosaur
    This film required Winsor McCay, and his assistant John A. Fitzsimmons, to create 10,000 drawings inked on rice paper and placed on cardboard. McCay chose to redraw every picture in detail for each frame due to not knowing the techniques later animators would use to reuse backgrounds (“Gertie the Dinosaur,” n.d.).
  • The Rotoscope

    The Rotoscope
    Fleischer had a talent using ink and pen but he also designed and built many mechanical devices. One of them was the rotoscope. A device used to speed up the animation process for recording movement. It projected live action film on a frosted glass plate where the animator can trace upon (Collins, n.d.).
  • Bray Establishes a Patent Monopoly

    Bray established a patent monopoly on the strength of his pooled patents during a time when the original Motion Picture Patents Company was being dissolved by the courts. Studios either took out a license for the use of cel animation, or restricted themselves to animating on paper. Many animators stayed with paper to not only avoid the license fee, but because they preferred that medium instead of celluloid (“The Show – The,” n.d.).
  • Disney's first project: the Alice Comedies series

    Disney's first project: the Alice Comedies series
    Disney’s first project were the Alice Comedies series which featured a live action actress named Virginia Davis interacting with animated characters. This series was made after Disney’s first studio, Laugh O-Gram Films, went bankrupt (King, 2010).
  • The Lost World

    The Lost World
    This film was the first to feature model animation as the primary special effect and was first film to be shown to airplane passengers (“The Lost World,” n.d.).
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    Many believed this film would not be a hit, but Disney proved the animated feature films can be just as good as any live action film (Susman, 2013).
  • Computer Generated Imagery and Star Wars

    Computer Generated Imagery and Star Wars
    George Lucas saw potential in CGI. He used experimental CGI effects for his Star Wars franchise as well as effects no one has ever seen before (“A Computer-Generated,” 2011).
  • Computer Generated Movie: Toy Story

    Computer Generated Movie: Toy Story
    Toy Story was the first Pixar – Disney collaboration and the first feature-length animated film to be completely computer generated. It contained a three-dimensional world full of color and movement as well as computer generated characters (“Production begins on,” n.d.).
  • Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke

    Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke
    Hayao Miyazaki, a famous Japanese animator, creates an animated film called Princess Mononoke which is claimed by many to be the biggest motion picture of all time. It was the first of Miyazaki’s films to use computer generated animation and most of the film was hand drawn (Feaster, n.d.).
  • Richard Williams’ “The Animator’s Survival Kit”

    Richard Williams’ “The Animator’s Survival Kit”
    Animators of today always suggest learning the ways of animation through Richard Williams’ book “The Animator’s Survival Kit.” A book that contains techneques, tips and further advice for promising animators (Sawers, 2013).