Thursday, 25 November 2010

History of Animation

The Disney Era (1928-1941)
The years 1928-41 are often referred to as the “Golden Age of Animation”; during that time, the medium underwent a growth and transformation unparalleled in the history of visual arts. Only twelve years separate the premiers of “Steamboat Willie” (November 18, 1928) and “Fantasia” (November 13, 1940), but the aesthetic gap between these films is staggering. It was as if painting had gone from the flat, conventionalized style of Byzantine icons to rich three-dimentionality of Rembrandt portrait in a few decades.
This transformation was largely achieved through the dedication, talent and vision of Walt Disney and the artists he employed. Virtually every tool and technique in the animator’s repertoire was discovered, invented or perfected at the Disney studio during the era.
His distribution contract with Pat Powers enabled Disney to begin the Mickey Mouse series in 1928-29, with an animation staff that included Ub Iweks, Wilfred jackson, Les Clark and Johnny Cannon. “Gallopin’ Gaucho” and “Plane Crazy” were released with soundracks, followed by the “Barn Dance”, “Opray House” and “When the Cat’s Away”, all to very favorable audience response. Mickey was already beginning to rival Felix the Cat in popularity.
Instead of remaining content with Mickey’s success, Disney struck out in an entirely new direction with a series of music oriented fantasies he called Silly Symphonies. Organist/composer Carl Stalling initiated the idea when he suggested setting a graveyard romp to Edward Grieg’s “March of the Dwarfs” Disney agreed, and the result was “The Skeleton dance”
Traditional animation
The first animated film was created by Charles-Émile Reynaud, inventor of the praxinoscope, an animation system using loops of 12 pictures. On October 28, 1892 at Musée Grévin in Paris, France he exhibited animations consisting of loops of about 500 frames, using his Théâtre Optique system - similar in principle to a modern film projector.
The first animated work on standard picture film was Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906) by J. Stuart Blackton. It features what appears to be a cartoonist drawing faces on a chalkboard, and the faces apparently coming to life; whereas it was actually black line art drawn on white paper and then printed as a film-negative to look like white chalk.
Fantasmagorie, by the French director Émile Cohl (also called Émile Courtet), is also noteworthy. It was screened for the first time on August 17, 1908 at Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris. Émile Courtet later went to Fort Lee, New Jersey near New York City in 1912, where he worked for French studio Éclair and spread its technique in the US.
Influenced by Cohl, Russian scientist Ladislas Starevitch started to create animated films using dead insects with wire limbs. In 1911 he created "The Cameraman's Revenge", a complex tale of treason, suicide and violence between several different insects. It is a pioneer work of puppet animation, and the oldest known example of an animated film of such dramatic complexity, with characters filled with motivation, desire and feelings.
In 1914, American cartoonist Winsor McCay released Gertie the Dinosaur, an early example of character animation.
Stop motion
Stop motion is used for many animation productions using physical objects rather than images of people, as with traditional animation. An object will be photographed, moved slightly, and then photographed again. When the pictures are played back in normal speed the object will appear to move by itself.
The first example of object manipulation and stop-motion animation was the 1899 short film by Albert E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton called The Humpty Dumpty Circus. A European stop motion pioneer was Wladyslaw Starewicz (1892–1965), who animated The Beautiful Lukanida (1910), The Battle of the Stag Beetles (1910), The Ant and the Grasshopper (1911).
This process is used for many productions, for example, the most common types of puppets are clay puppets, as used in The California Raisins and Wallace and Gromit, and figures made of various rubbers, cloths and plastic resins, such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. Sometimes even objects are used, such as with the films of Jan Švankmajer.
Stop motion animation was also commonly used for special effects work in many live-action films, such as the 1933 version of King Kong and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
CGI animation
Computer-generated imagery (CGI) revolutionized animation. The first film done completely in CGI was Toy Story, produced by Pixar. The process of CGI animation is still very tedious and similar in that sense to traditional animation, and it still adheres to many of the same principles.
A principal difference of CGI Animation compared to traditional animation is that drawing is replaced by 3D modeling, almost like virtual version of stop-motion, though a form of animation that combines the two worlds can be considered to be computer aided animation but on 2D computer drawing (which can be considered close to traditional drawing and sometimes based on it).
Refferences :       
The History of Animation –Enchanted Drawings- Charles Solomon.
Google and Wikipedia

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