Animation is the process of creating the illusion of motion and shape change[Note 1] by means of the rapid display of a sequence of static images that minimally differ from each other. The illusion—as in motion pictures in general—is thought to rely on the phi phenomenon. Animators are artists who specialize in the creation of animation.
Early examples of attempts to capture the phenomenon of motion into a still drawing can be found inpaleolithiccave paintings, where animals are often depicted with multiple legs in superimposed positions, clearly attempting to convey the perception of motion.
An earthen goblet discovered at the site of the 5,200-year-old Burnt City in southeastern Iran, depicts what could possibly be the world’s oldest example of animation. The artifact bears five sequential images depicting a Persian Desert Ibex jumping up to eat the leaves of a tree.
Ancient Chinese records contain several mentions of devices that were said to "give an impression of movement" to human or animal figures, but these accounts are unclear and may only refer to the actual movement of the figures through space.
The cinématographe was a projector, printer, and camera in one machine that allowed moving pictures to be shown successfully on a screen which wasINVENTED by history's earliest film makers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, in 1894. 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 drawnDIRECTLY onto the transparent strip. In 1900, more than 500,000 people had attended these screenings.
A projecting praxinoscope, 1882, here shown superimposing an animated figure on a separately projected background scene
In Europe, the French artist, Émile Cohl, created the first animated film using what came to be known astraditional 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 in which the animator’s hands would enter the scene. The film was created by drawing each frame on paper and then shooting each frame ontonegative film, which gave the picture a blackboard look.
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 feature-length animated film completely made using this technique.
In 2008, the animation market was worth US$68.4 billion. Animation as an art and industry continues to thrive as of the mid-2010s, because well-made animated projects can find audiences across borders and in all four quadrants. Animated feature-length films returned the highest gross margins (around 52%) of allfilm genres in the 2004-2013 timeframe.
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, 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 drawnDIRECTLY into aCOMPUTER 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 ofCOMPUTER technologies.
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.
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.
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) and the music video Live for the moment, from Verona Riots band (produced by Alberto Serrano and Nívola Uyá, Spain 2014).
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).
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 subgenre 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 animationSOFTWARE.
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.
COMPUTERanimation encompasses a variety of techniques, the unifying factor being that the animation is created digitally on aCOMPUTER. 2D animation techniques tend to focus on image manipulation while 3D techniques usually buildVIRTUAL WORLDS in which characters and objects move and interact. 3D animation can create images that seem real to the viewer.
Final line advection animation is a technique used in 2d animation,[clarification needed] to give artists and animators more influence and control over the final product as everything is done within the same department. Speaking about using this approach in Paperman, John Kahrs said that "Our animators can change things, actuallyERASE away the CG underlayer if they want, and change the profile of the arm."
3D animation is digitally modeled and manipulated by an animator. The animator usually starts by creating a 3D polygon mesh to manipulate. A mesh typically includes many vertices that are connected by edges and faces, which give the visual appearance of form to a 3D object or 3D environment. Sometimes, the mesh is given an internal digital skeletal structure called an armature that can be used to control the mesh by weighting the vertices. This process is called rigging and can be used in conjunction with keyframes to create movement.
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.
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 framesINSTALLED 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 Adventurecreates 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 approachesEdit
World of Color hydrotechnics at Disney California Adventure creates illusion of motion using 1200 fountains with high-definition projections on mist screens.*Hydrotechnics: a technique that includes lights, water, fire, fog, and lasers, with high-definition projections on mist screens.
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, andPiotr 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 lightcontrast.
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.
The creation of non-trivial animation works (i.e., longer than a few seconds) has developed as a form of filmmaking, but with certain unique aspects. One thing live-action and animated feature-length films do have in common is that they are both extremely labor-intensive and have high production costs.
The most important difference is that once a film is in the production phase, the marginal cost of one more shot is much, much higher for animated films than for live-action films. It is relatively easy for a director to ask for one more take during principal photography of a live-action film, but every take on an animated film must be manually rendered by animators (although the task of rendering slightly different takes has been made less tedious by modernCOMPUTER animation). It is pointless for a studio to pay the salaries of dozens of animators to spend weeks creating a visually dazzling five-minute scene, if that scene fails to effectively advance the plot of the film. Thus, animation studios starting with Disney began the practice in the 1930s of maintaining story departments where storyboard artists develop every single scene through storyboards, then handing the film over to the animators only after the production team is satisfied that all the scenes will make sense as a whole. While live-action films are now also storyboarded, they necessarily enjoy much more latitude to depart from storyboards (i.e., real-time improvisation).
Another problem unique to animation is the necessity of ensuring that the style of an animated film is consistent from start to finish, even as films have grown longer and teams have grown larger. Animators, like all artists, necessarily have their own individual styles, but must subordinate their individuality in a consistent way to whatever style was selected for a particular film. Since the early 1980s, feature-length animated films have been created by teams of about 500 to 600 people, of whom 50 to 70 are animators. It is relatively easy for two or three artists to match each other's styles, but it is much harder to keep dozens of artists synchronized with one another.
This problem is usually solved by having a separate group of visual development artists develop an overall look and palette for each film before animation begins. Character designers on the visual development team draw model sheets to show how each character should look like with different facialEXPRESSIONS, posed in different positions, and viewed from different angles. On traditionally animated projects, maquettes were often sculpted to further help the animators see how characters would look from different angles.
Unlike live-action films, animated films were traditionally developed beyond the synopsis stage through the storyboard format; the storyboard artists would then receive credit for writing the film. In the early 1960s, animation studios began hiring professional screenwriters to write screenplays (while also continuing to use story departments) and such screenplays had become commonplace for animated films by the late 1980s.
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: