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Cut out Animation

Cut out animation is a technique for producing animations using flat characters, props and backgrounds cut from materials such as paper, card, stiff fabric or even photographs. The world’s earliest known animated feature films were cut out animations (made in Argentina by Quirino Cristiani); as is the world’s earliest surviving animated feature.Cut out

Today, cut out-style animation is frequently produced using computers, with scanned images or vector graphics taking the place of physically cut materials. South Park is a notable example of this transition since its first episode was made with paper cut outs before switching to computer animation.

 

Clay Animation

Clay animation or Claymation is one of many forms of stop motion animation. Each animated piece, either character or background, is “deformable”—made of a malleable substance, usually Plasticine clay.

All traditional animation is produced in a similar fashion, whether done through cel animation or stop motion. Each frame, or still picture, is recorded on film or digital media and then played back in rapid succession. When played back at a frame rate greater than 10–12 frames per second, a fairly convincing illusion of continuous motion is achieved. While the playback feature creating an illusion is true of all moving images (from zoetrope to films to videogames), the techniques involved in creating CGI are generally removed from a frame-by-frame process.

Wallace_and_gromit

In clay animation, each object is sculpted in clay or a similarly pliable material such as Plasticine, usually around a wire skeleton called an armature. As in other forms of object animation, the object is arranged on the set (background), a film frame is exposed, and the object or character is then moved slightly by hand. Another frame is taken, and the object is moved slightly again. This cycle is repeated until the animator has achieved the desired amount of film. The human mind processes the series of slightly changing; rapidly playing images as motion, hence making it appear that the object is moving by itself. To achieve the best results, a consistent shooting environment is needed to maintain the illusion of continuity. This means paying special attention to maintaining consistent lighting and object placement and working in a calm environment.

A sub variation of clay animation can be informally called “clay melting”. Any kind of heat source can be applied on or near (or below) clay to cause it to melt while an animation camera on a time-lapse setting slowly films the process. An example of this can be seen in Vinton’s early short clay-animated film “Closed Mondays” (coproduced by animator Bob Gardiner) at the end of the computer sequence. A similar technique was used in the climax scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark  to “melt” the faces of the antagonists.

 

Computer Animation

Computer Animation

The most obvious difference between the two genres of animation is of course the three dimensional characteristics or the appearance of depth. While 2D animation is a flat animation and all the actions happen in the x-y axes, 3D animation includes an extra dimension and that is the z axis.

 

The working method for creating 2d cartoon characters and 3d animated figures are entirely different. While in 2D animation the process of cartoon character creating involves sketching the character from different sides with the help of onion skin tools. Creating a 3d model requires digital modeling and is more similar to sculpting a character than drawing one. An animator working in 3d dimensional environment constantly has to be aware of how his/her changes to the model side view affect the front view or any other view for that matter. Creating a perfect looking model is a difficult task since all the different views have to be taken into the consideration. Creating a 3d model is often based on a pre-made two dimensional sketches of the character from different views. After the model is created a material has to be assigned to it and the model has to be textured properly.

 

Although the process of character creating for 3D animation is usually taking more time than 2D character creation, the process of creating the animation itself can be considered easier by many animators. In 2d animation the animation is created by drawing almost every frame of the animated movie. In 3D , the animation is created by changing the poses and the placement of already created 3d models. The created scene can be viewed from different angles and by that it is easier and faster to create an illusion of change in the environment.

 

2D Animation

 

In case of 2D animation, pictures are created and/or edited on the paper or computer screen in a two-dimensional environment such as cel animation or in computerized animation software.2d The two dimensional (2D) animation software gives movement and action to static images. These figures are created and edited using 2D bitmap graphics or by using 2D vector graphics including automated computerized versions of conventional animation techniques like tweening, morphing, onion skinning, blurring, cell animation, path animation and interpolated rotoscoping. Three dimensional representations of geometric data is stored in the computer to enable calculations and deliver 2D images.

2D animations such as Analog Computer Animation, Macromedia Flash, and PowerPoint etc. can be produced using software tools. To give an element of motion to the object, a digital framework process called rigging is applied. The process of 2D Animation involves complete story boarding including each shot of the animation, background design, character design, cell animation, perfect voice synching and flow of the animation including the background music. Every shot in a 2D animation involves multiple single drawings of
characters.
3D animations
For 3D animations,objects (models) are built on the computer monitor (modeled) and 3D figures are rigged with a virtual skeleton.3d
For 2D figure animations, separate objects (illustrations) and separate transparent layers are used, with or without a virtual skeleton. Then the limbs, eyes, mouth, clothes, etc. of the figure are moved by the animator on key frames. The differences in appearance between key frames are automatically calculated by the computer in a process known as tweening or morphing. Finally, the animation is rendered.
For 3D animations, all frames must be rendered after modeling is complete. For 2D vector animations, the rendering process is the key frame illustration process, while tweened frames are rendered as needed. For pre-recorded presentations, the rendered frames are transferred to a different format or medium such as film or digital video. The frames may also be rendered in real time as they are presented to the end-user audience. Low bandwidth animations transmitted via the internet (e.g. 2D Flash, X3D) often use software on the end-users computer to render in real time as an alternative to streaming or pre-loaded high bandwidth animations.

Traditional Animation

In the traditional animation process, animators will begin by drawing sequences of animation on sheets of transparent paper perforated to fit the peg bars in their desks, often using color pencils, one picture or “frame” at a time. A peg bar is an animation tool that is used in traditional (cel) animation to keep the drawings in place. The pins in the peg bar match the holes in the paper. It is attached to the animation desk or light table depending on which is being used. A key animator or lead animator will draw the key drawings in a scene, using the character layouts as a guide. The key animator draws enough of the frames to get across the major points of the action; in a sequence of a character jumping across a gap, the key animator may draw a frame of the character as he is about to leap, two or more frames as the character is flying through the air, and the frame for the character landing on the other side of the gap.

traditional animationTiming is important for the animators drawing these frames; each frame must match exactly what is going on in the soundtrack at the moment the frame will appear, or else the discrepancy between sound and visual will be distracting to the audience. For example, in high-budget productions, extensive effort is given in making sure a speaking character’s mouth matches in shape the sound that character’s actor is producing as he or she speaks.

While working on a scene, a key animator will usually prepare a pencil test of the scene. A pencil test is a preliminary version of the final animated scene; the pencil drawings are quickly photographed or scanned and synced with the necessary soundtracks. This allows the animation to be reviewed and improved upon before passing the work on to his assistant animators, who will go add details and some of the missing frames in the scene. The work of the assistant animators is reviewed, pencil-tested, and corrected until the lead animator is ready to meet with the director and have his scene sweat boxed  or reviewed by the director, producer, and other key creative team members. Similar to the story boarding stage, an animator may be required to re-do a scene many times before the director will approve it.

1In high-budget animated productions, often each major character will have an animator or group of animators solely dedicated to drawing that character. The group will be made up of one supervising animator, a small group of key animators, and a larger group of assistant animators. For scenes where two characters interact, the key animators for both characters will decide which character is “leading” the scene, and that character will be drawn first. The second character will be animated to react to and support the actions of the “leading” character.

Once the key animation is approved, the lead animator forwards the scene on to the clean-up department, made up of the clean-up animators and the inbetweeners. The clean-up animators take the lead and assistant animators’ drawings and trace them onto a new sheet of paper, taking care in including all of the details present on the original model sheets, so that it appears that one person animated the entire film. The inbetweeners will draw in whatever frames are still missing in between the other animators’ drawings. This procedure is called tweening. The resulting drawings are again pencil-tested and sweat boxed until they meet approval.

At each stage during pencil animation, approved artwork is spliced into the Leica reel.

This process is the same for both character animation and special effects animation, which on most high-budget productions are done in separate departments. Effects animators animate anything that moves and is not a character, including props, vehicles, machinery and phenomena such as fire, rain, and explosions. Sometimes, instead of drawings, a number of special processes are used to produce special effects in animated films; rain, for example, has been created in Disney animated films since the late-1930s by filming slow footage of water in front of a black background, with the resulting film superimposed over the animation.

Video Frame Rates

There are three main frame rate standards in the TV and digital cinema business: 24p, 25p, and 30p. However, there are many variations on these as well as newer emerging standards.

24p is a progressive  format and is now widely adopted by those planning on transferring a video signal to film. Film and video makers use 24p even if their productions are not going to be transferred to film, simply because of the on-screen “look” of the (low) frame rate which matches native film. When transferred to NTSC television, the rate is effectively slowed to 23.976 FPS (24×1000÷1001 to be exact), and when transferred to PAL or SECAM it is sped up to 25 FPS. 35 mm movie cameras use a standard exposure rate of 24 FPS, though many cameras offer rates of 23.976 FPS for NTSC television and 25 FPS for PAL/SECAM. The 24 FPS rate became the de facto standard for sound motion pictures in the mid-1920s. Practically all hand drawn animation is designed to be played at 24 FPS. Actually hand-drawing 24 unique frames per second (“1’s”) are costly. Even in big budget films usually hand-draw animation shooting on “2’s”  (one hand-drawn frame is shown twice, so only 12 unique frames per second) and some animation is even drawn on “4’s” (one hand-drawn frame is shown four times, so only six unique frames per second).

ag_video_frame_rates_low_res

25p is a progressive format and runs 25 progressive frames per second. This frame rate derives from the PAL television standard of 50i (or 50 interlaced fields per second). Film and Television companies use this rate in 50 Hz regions for direct compatibility with television field and frame rates. Conversion for 60 Hz countries is enabled by slowing down the media to 24p then converted to 60 Hz systems using pull down. While 25p captures half the temporal resolution or motion that normal 50i PAL registers, it yields a higher vertical spatial resolution per frame. Like 24p, 25p is often used to achieve “cine”-look, albeit with virtually the same motion artefacts. It is also better suited to progressive-scan output (e.g., on LCD displays, computer monitors and projectors) because the interlacing is absent.
30p is a progressive format and produces video at 30 frames per second. Progressive (non interlaced) scanning mimics a film camera’s frame-by-frame image capture. The effects of inter-frame judder are less noticeable than 24p yet retains a cinematic-like appearance. Shooting video in 30p mode gives no interlace artefacts but can introduce judder on image movement and on some camera pans. The widescreen film process Tood-AO used this frame rate in 1954–1956.
48p is a progressive format and is currently being trailed in the film industry. At twice the traditional rate of 24p, this frame rate attempts to reduce motion blur and flicker found in films. Director James Cameron stated his intention to film the two sequels to his film Avatar at a higher frame rate than 24 frames per second, in order to add a heightened sense of reality. The first film to be filmed at 48 FPS was The Hobbit, a decision made by its director Peter Jackson. At a preview screening at CinemaCon, the audience’s reaction was mixed after being shown some of the film’s footage at 48p; with some arguing that the feel of the footage was too lifelike (thus breaking the suspension of disbelief).

 
50i is an interlaced format and is the standard video field rate per second for PAL and SECAM television.
60i is an interlaced  format and is the standard video field rate per second for NTSC television (e.g., in the US), whether from a broadcast signal, DVD, or home camcorder. This interlaced field rate was developed separately by Farnsworth and Zworykin  in 1934, and was part of the NTSC television standards mandated by the FCC in 1941. When NTSC color was introduced in 1953, the older rate of 60 fields per second was reduced by a factor of 1000/1001 to avoid interference between the chroma subcarrier and the broadcast sound carrier. (Hence the usual designation “29.97 fps” = 30 frames(60 fields)/1.001)

Frame Rate DV
50p/60p is a progressive format and is used in high-end HDTV systems. While it is not technically part of the ATSC or DVB broadcast standards yet, reports suggest that higher progressive frame rates will be a feature of the next-generation high-definition television broadcast standards. In Europe, the EBU considers 1080p50 the next step future proof system for TV broadcasts and is encouraging broadcasters to upgrade their equipment for the future.
72p is a progressive  format and is currently in experimental stages. Major institutions such as Snell  have demonstrated 720p72 pictures as a result of earlier analogue  experiments, where 768 line television at 75 FPS looked subjectively better than 1150 line 50 FPS progressive pictures with higher shutter speeds available (and a corresponding lower data rate). Modern cameras such as the Red one  can use this frame rate to produce slow motion replays at 24 FPS.Douglas Trumbull, who undertook experiments with different frame rates that led to the Show scan  film format, found that emotional impact peaked at 72 FPS for viewers. 72 FPS is the maximum rate available in the WMV video file format.
120p (120.00 Hz exactly) is a progressive  format and is standardized for UHDTV by the ITU-RBT.2020 recommendation. It will be the single global “double-precision” frame rate for UHDTV (instead of using 100 Hz for PAL-based countries and 119.88 Hz for NTSC-based countries).
300 FPS, interpolated 300 FPS along with other high frame rates, have been tested by BBC Research   for use in sports broadcasts. 300 FPS can be converted to both 50 and 60 FPS transmission formats without major issues.

Persistence of Vision

Persistence of vision

persistence-vision-1Before we get on to the nitty-gritty of animation timing it might be useful to briefly cover the principle that underpins film and animation, and to understand how the illusion of movement is achieved where none is actually present. This marvellous phenomenon is known as the persistence of vision and it is through this that we experience moving images made up of individual frames on a film strip.The secret of this illusion is to be found in the remarkable capability of a part of the human eye, the retina, of momentarily retaining any image it receives. Imagine, if you will, a light being shown into the eye only briefly and appearing on the retina as a bright spot. This bright image would appear to remain for a brief period even after the light had been turned off. It’s this slight period of retention or delay that allows for separate sequential images, if seen in quick succession, to appear as a moving image, and it’s upon this principle that film and video projection works. Although this phenomenon had been observed in ancient times, it wasn’t until the systematic experiments in 1765 by the Frenchman, Chevalier Darcy  that it was established that this retention period was approximately one-tenth of a second. The early optical devices that were developed and began to appear in the first half of the nineteenth century clearly demonstrated this effect. What started out as serious scientific investigation soon found a practical application for entertainment through the use of such devices as the thaumatrope, the zoetrope, Joseph Plateau’s phenakistoscope and Emile Reynaud’s praxinoscope. Variations of these quickly began to appear as popular parlour toys in the homes of the upper classes throughout Europe.

 

Frames per second
All animators, irrespective of what discipline they work in (2D classical animation, stop-frame animation or computer animation)24 Frames and despite what work they undertake (commercial, studio-based or experimental animation), all use the same basic raw material to create their work – time. They use this in much the same way as a painter uses paint or a sculptor uses stone, and while this raw material shapes and defines their work, what they choose to do with it is another matter. The use of time varies from animator to animator, just as paint does with a painter, and it’s this varied approach and use of time that helps make the variations in stylistic execution of animation, be it funny or tragic, naturalistic, cartoon or abstract. The basic unit of time we deal with as animators and film-makers is determined by the recording and projection rate of the individual film frame or video image. This rate is commonly known as frames per second (fps).

While this playback or projection rates have varied since the development of cinematography, the standard recording and playback rate for film and video usually equates to:

● Film – 24 frames equals 1 second.

● Video – 25 frames equals 1 second (PAL).

● Video – 30 frames equals 1 second (NTSC).

These figures become critical in achieving the illusion of motion. As we have already established, the persistence of vision retention rate is around one-tenth of a second – much longer than the fps projection rates for film or video. If the projection rate was below that of the retention rate on the retina, the sequence of images would appear jerky and as individual images, and the illusion of movement would be lost. Because animators determine the speed of action of all they animate by creating animation timing, rather than recording movement as in live action, it is possible to achieve all of the variable animation timings they could desire. Working within these normal fps rates does not constrain the creative potential for animation, other than on purely technical issues, and is generally not noticeable to the eye. By comparison, live action film-making depends upon ‘recorded’ time as opposed to ‘constructed’ time. The timing of action is recorded not ‘created’ and is an automated process dictated by the film equipment; therefore, it is often necessary to use other techniques involving variable fps rates to achieve the desired effect. By recording/filming at one speed and playing back or projecting at another, it is possible to achieve slow motion or speeded-up actions.

History of Animation

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Studio System in the Production of an Art Form

“Animation should be an art….what you fellows have done with it is
making it into a trade….not an art, but a trade….bad luck”

– Winsor McCay (Father of the animated cartoon)

Thus Winsor McCay, father of the animated cartoon, pronounced the doom of the very industry he had inadvertently helped create.

From 1911-21 McCay nursed animation from a simple camera trick to full Winsor_McCayblown character animation that would take 20 years to be surpassed. McCay animated his films almost single-handed; from inception to execution each cartoon was his and his alone. He took the time to make his films unique artistic visions, sometimes spending more than a year to make a single five-minute cartoon. But the burgeoning world of cinema could not wait so long for so little, and so the modern animation studio came into being. The art of animation was no longer the work of one man; it was a streamlined, assembly-line process in the best Henry Ford tradition. But was the art of the animated cartoon sacrificed for the trade’s sake? That, of course, depends on the studios themselves.

Through the years several institutions have proven McCay’s prophecy at least partly false; indeed, without such positive collaborations of talent the art of animation would not have advanced to the level of sophistication it enjoys today. But who exactly was it “bad luck” for: the art, or the artists themselves?

Even before McCay had shown the world the true potential of the animated cartoon in his landmark film “Gertie the Dinosaur” (1914), the first animation studios were already around, trying to exploit the medium for what they could. Raoul Barre’ opened the first animation house in 1913, and within five years a new industry was born as more and more studios began to pop up around the New York metropolitan area.

Arguably the most successful and certainly the most influential of these early studios was the John Bray Studio. Bray created the first successful cartoon series, Col. Heeza Liar, in 1914. Future studio heads Max Fleischer and Walter Lantz honed their skills here. But the studio’s most important contribution to the medium was the introduction of cels. The process of inking the animator’s drawings onto clear pieces of celluloid and then photographing them in succession on a single painted background was invented by Bray employee Earl Hurd in late 1914. In the first of what was to be many such incidents, the studio swallowed all the credit and most of the revenue for its underling’s contribution to the art form. Hurd lent his patent to boss John Bray, whocharged royalties for other studios to use the process….an understandable business practice. Yet from an artistic standpoint this was as if Picasso had demanded exclusive rights to Cubism. It was a relatively moot point, however; the patent expired in 1932 and was not renewed. The only real loser, it seems, was Earl Hurd.

Like Hurd, Otto Messmer was another studio employee who never got due credit for his innovations. But whereas Hurd’s contribution to animation was a technical one, Messmer’s was an artistic creation that is still recognized the world over 80 years after its inception. Otto Messmer was employed by the Pat Sullivan Studio in 1916. Three years later he created Felix the Cat; it was a milestone in the development of animation as an artform. Not since Gertie the Dinosaur had a cartoon character exhibited such a degree of personality animation as Felix’s brooding, ponderous walk. But unlike Gertie, Felix was a studio character, which meant audiences could look forward to seeing him again and again, while affording Messmer and his co-workers the opportunity to explore the possibilities of ongoing character development in animation. Meanwhile, studio head Pat Sullivan took sole credit for the creation of Felix, earning millions of dollars in royalties over the years. Messmer continued to receive his usual salary. A quiet and unassuming man, Messmer never challenged Sullivan’s claim to be the father of Felix, even after Sullivan’s death in 1933. Indeed, Messmer probably would have taken the secret to his grave had not animation historian John Canemaker tracked him down in 1976 (the revelation produced quite a stir in animation circles….twenty years later the story was lampooned on an episode of “The Simpsons”).

For the first time a studio produced what may be considered true art, but in doing so took the credit usually given to the artist.

Hands Down the most influential studio (from an artistic as well as a commercial standpoint) in the history of animation is the Walt Disney Studio, which exploded onto the scene in 1928 with Mickey Mouse in “Steamboat Willie” and continued to dominate the field to this very day. It is at Disney that we see the studio system’s best and worst effects on the development of animation as an art form.

Without Disney’s streamlined organization of talent and creative collaboration the animated cartoon could never have advanced as rapidly or as beautifully as it has….yet, as at the Bray and Sullivan studios, in the process many of the men responsible for the studio’s achievements remain anonymous and forgotten. Had Disney animators Vladimir Tytla and Freddie Moore been alive during the renaissance their names might well have been numbered among Da Vinci and Michelangelo? For all their accomplishments, however, they remain totally eclipsed by the titanic figure of Walt Disney.

Walt Disney’s first important contribution to animation was to move his studio to Hollywood in 1923. Los Angeles had become the centre of live-action filmmaking, but the animation industry remained rooted in New York (with a few studios scattered throughout the Midwest, like Disney’s). Accompanying him on his move from Kansas City were Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising, who would eventually found the Warner Bros. and MGM animation houses. These three studios were to become the leaders of the animation industry. Disney’s decision to move to California was a pivotal turning point in the development of animation as a business.

Disney Studio’s artistic achievements derived from a sort of symbiotic relationship between Walt and his employees. Like other studio heads, Walt received all the public attention and praise for the studio’s work, but unlike many of his fellow producers he was at least partly responsible for the studio’s accomplishments. He was certainly a cinematic visionary, and can be justly credited for introducing the latest innovations in sound and color.

Walt was the one who steered cartoons away from the “rubber hose” style of the silent era (dubbed thus because of the way characters moved without regard to anatomy, as if all their limbs were rubber hoses) and encouraged his artists to develop a realistic, naturalist style of animation in the early 1930s. History 5He was the moving force behind such groundbreaking films as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937), the first full-length animated feature, and “Pinocchio” (1940), a film whose intricate levels of technical brilliance many animators feel have never been surpassed. But it was up to the studio artists to make Disney’s ideas reality.  It was Freddie Moore who led the movement towards realistic motion in cartoons with his re-definition of Mickey Mouse in such films as “The Band Concert” (1935).  Disney features like “Lady and the Tramp” (1955) and “The Jungle Book” (1967) could never have succeeded without the polished character animation of Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas, Eric Larson, and others. Vladimir Tytla’s rendering of the demon Chernabog in the Night on Bald Mountain sequence of “Fantasia” (1940) might well be the greatest work of animation ever. These extraordinarily talented men, in alliance with the vision of their leader, accomplished what Winsor McCay had deemed impossible: high art in a studio setting.

The downside to all this was of course, once again, the studio head received all the recognition for his artist’s work. In Disney’s case, however, it doesn’t seem to be attributable to greed on the executive’s part. Walt certainly didn’t mind all the attention, but he seems to have recognized his artist’s importance to his success. Yet to this day the Disney staff remain unknown to the public at large (do you know that David Hand directed “Snow White”?). It seems to be an unfortunate side effect in the development of animation studios that individual contributions to the medium should go uncredited.

The men behind Warner Bros. cartoon juggernaut “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” have managed to beat the odds and achieve a degree of prominence in the public eye. Then again, maybe that’s because they have such unusual and distinct monikers like Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones. But to claim thus would be to belittle their accomplishments, and for once in the history of animation’s Golden Age the names of the artists outshine the name of the producer.

“Looney Tunes” began in 1930 when Disney vets Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising teamed with producer Leon Schlesinger to make cartoons, to be distributed by Warner Bros. Three years later Harman and Ising left to form the MGM cartoon studio, and Schlesinger and his artists continued on their own. Unlike other studio heads who craved the limelight, Schlesinger (and his successor Eddie Selzer) seems to have been concerned only with making money. He left it to his directors and animators to meet the press, and  gave them complete artistic freedom at the office….so long as it was under budget.

The Warners artists used their creative freedom to take the medium in new directions. Directors Tex Avery and Bob Clampett broke from the Disney tradition that the other studios had begun to mimic and imbibed their films with highly exaggerated slapstick comedy. In Avery’s “Porky’s Duck Hunt” (the first appearance of Daffy Duck, 1937) and Clampett’s “Porky in Wackyland” (1938), the characters appear at first to be of the naturalist Disney school, but History 7are constantly distorted beyond all rationality, defying every  law of physics for comedic effect. The other Warners artists immediately picked up on the style, and eventually every other studio, even Disney, adopted the method. Slapstick ultimately proved to be the theatrical genre animation was best suited for.

Like Disney, the Warner Bros. studio turned the assembly-line-art system to their advantage and collaborated their talents to take the art to a higher level. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the creation and development of Bugs Bunny, arguably the greatest cartoon character ever. It took over 10 years and 30 films for Bugs’ personality to coalesce into the suave and wily comic hero that he is today. During that period he was continually tweaked by various directors and redesigned several times by different animators, notably Bob McKimson. By 1950 Warners’ three animation units had reached a consensus as to who Bugs was and how he looked; while each unit made its own cartoons, it was the same Bugs Bunny every time. Without the tandem talents of Jones, Freleng, et.al. It is unlikely that Bugs would have been as fully fleshed-out a character as he eventually became.

It was when animation finally made the leap to television that the art truly began to suffer for business’s sake. The great Hollywood studios of the 30s, 40s, and 50s had been manned by people genuinely interested in making quality cinema. The denizens of the TV animation houses of the 60s, 70s, and 80s only cared that the product was there to market. The quality of writing was poor, and the animation itself was often so limited it barely qualified as animation at all. McCay’s prophecy had finally come to pass.

Cartoons made exclusively for television had been around since Jay Ward’s “Crusader Rabbit” in 1949, but production of TV animation didn’t really hit its stride until about 1960, when most of the cinematic cartoon studios had shut their doors. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara, former MGM directors and creators of Tom and Jerry, dominated the market almost from its inception and continued to do so through the 1970s.

 

Unfortunately, Hanna and Barbara never understood that just because something works once, that doesn’t mean the same thing will work again and again. In their 20 years together at MGM they never made anything except Tom and Jerry cartoons. But at least Tom and Jerry had been well animated and cleverly written.

The duo’s television hits are considerably lesser in quality (one gets the feeling they succeeded merely because there was nothing better on), and the myriad self-imitations of every successful show they had were downright abysmal. Despite its flat, one-dimensional characters and campy, formula tic stories, “Scooby-Doo” proved extremely popular in 1969, so Hanna-Barbara made “Speed Buggy”, “Jabber Jaw”, and “The Clue  Club”, which were all variations on the same characters and theme. “The Flintstones “begat“ The Jetsons” and “The Smurfs” begat “The Snorks” It was a process that stunted creativity, giving the artists even less of a chance to infuse life into their work.

Other TV cartoon studios like Filmation and DIC proved little better or even worse than Hanna-Barbara. Desperate to conquer as much air time as possible, the studios churned out series after series without any regard to aesthetic. The situation improved in the second half of the 1980s when the two big studios of old, Disney and Warner Bros., entered the market. Shows like Disney’s “DuckTales” (1986) and Warners’ “Tiny Toon Adventures” (1989) were considerably better than anything their competitors were producing. Yet they still fell utterly short of the great cartoons made for the movies in the first half of the century. The budget restraints and hurried deadlines of the television industry simply prohibited artists from crafting the kind of art their cinematic predecessors achieved.

Finally in the 1990s the artists in the television cartoon industry began to figure out how to work effectively with the limitations of the field. 1992 saw the debut of Warner Bros. “Batman: The Animated Series.” Despite the fact that the History 6animation was contracted to various Oriental studios (by the mid 80s the practice was almost universal in television production….it continues to be so today) the show’s creators Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Eric Radomski, and others managed to infuse the series with a distinct visual style. Combined with the deep characterizations and strong stories, “Batman” was a first-rate cartoon. While they did not attract as much publicity as Disney’s theatrical department, the Warner Bros. TV artists were just as important to the art of animation, demonstrating that even a television cartoon series was capable of artistic achievement.

Back on the big screen the medium faced a different set of problems. Since the advent of television people were no longer spending all day at the movies, and short subjects were gradually dropped from the billings. While animation never completely disappeared from theatres, by the 1960s most studios had closed down; the ones that didn’t suffered from severe declines in quality. Only Disney retained its level of excellence, but Disney had ceased full-time production of short subjects by the mid-50s, earlier than anyone else. While there was the occasional Non-Disney animated feature, no other studio was producing them on a regular basis. By the 1980s no studio was producing shorts full-time, and even the Disney movies had lost their appeal.

The new generation of Disney artists breathed life back into animation with films like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” (1988) and “The Little Mermaid” (1989). These well-crafted cartoons were celebrations of animation’s glory days, and the public proved just as nostalgic as the artists themselves. The new Disney crew proved that the studio system was still capable of turning out great art. In fact, the major flaw of the studio system, lack of artist recognition, dissipated. Gone were the producer-moguls of old, and with no Walt Disney public attention finally shifted to the artists themselves. While not exactly household names, directors John Musker and Ron Clements and animators like Glen Keane and Andreas Deja certainly received more press than Disney vets like Milt Kahl or Wolfgang Reitherman did in their heyday.

It was inevitable, in spite of Winsor McCay’s warnings, that animation would become a “trade” in the form of the studio system. The complexities of bringing moving drawings to life on the screen are too time-consuming and too expensive for it to have developed otherwise. Fortunately, through the years there have been many individuals working in the field who have been careful not to let business logistics overwhelm the artistic potential of the medium. The collective nature of the studio may prevent the artists from receiving the amount of praise an artist working solo garners, but the art attained is no less great. As long as there are creative men and women behind the drawing desk, the animated cartoon will continue to be the best of both worlds: a trade and an art.

Animation before Film

 Animation before film

Numerous devices which successfully displayed animated images were introduced well before the advent of the motion picture. These devices were used to entertain, amaze and sometimes even frighten people. The majority of these devices didn’t project their images and accordingly could only be viewed by a single person at any one time. For this reason they were considered toys rather than being a large scale entertainment industry like later animation. Many of these devices are still built by and for film students being taught the basic principles of animation.

 

The magic lantern(c1650)

images (1)The magic lantern is an early predecessor of the modern day projector. It consisted of a translucent oil painting and a simple lamp. In a darkened room, the image would appear projected onto an adjacent flat surface. It was often used to project demonic, frightening images in order to convince people that they were witnessing the supernatural. Some slides for the lanterns contained moving parts which makes the magic lantern the earliest known example of projected animation. The origin of the magic lantern is debated, but in the 15th century the Venetian inventor Giovanni Fontana published an illustration of a device which projected the image of a demon in his Liber Instrumentorum. The earliest known actual magic lanterns are usually credited to Christiaan Huygens or Athanasius Kircher.

 

Thaumatrope (1824)

thaumatropeA thaumatrope was a simple toy used in the Victorian era. A thaumatrope is a small circular disk or card with two different pictures on each side that was attached to a piece of string or a pair of strings running through the centre. When the string is twirled quickly between the fingers, the two pictures appear to combine into a single image. The thaumatrope demonstrates the Phi phenomenon, the brain’s ability to persistently perceive an image. Its invention is often credited to Sir John Herschel. John A. Paris popularized the invention when he used one to illustrate the Phi phenomenon in 1824 to the Royal College of Physicians.

 

Phenakistoscope (1831)

Phenakistoscope_3g07690uThe phenakistoscope was an early animation device. It was invented in 1831 simultaneously by the Belgian Joseph Plateau and the Austrian Simon von Stampfer. It consists of a disk with a series of images, drawn on radii evenly spaced around the center of the disk. Slots are cut out of the disk on the same radii as the drawings, but at a different distance from the center. The device would be placed in front of a mirror and spun. As the phenakistoscope spun, a viewer would looks through the slots at the reflection of the drawings which would only become visible when a slot passes by the viewer’s eye. This created the illusion of animation.

 

Zoetrope (180 AD; 1834)

b82c6cafbf75f21fa4cad05741a7676f_1MThe zoetrope was produced in 1834 by William George Horner and operates on the same principle as the phenakistoscope. It was a cylindrical spinning device with several frames of animation printed along the interior circumference. There are vertical slits around the sides through which an observer can view the moving images on the opposite side when the cylinder spins. As it spins the material between the viewing slits moves in the opposite direction of the

images on the other side and in doing so serves as a rudimentary shutter. The zoetrope had several advantages over theHistory of animation 12 phenakistoscope. It didn’t require the use of a mirror to view the illusion, and because of its cylindrical shape it could be viewed by several people at once.

In China around 180 AD the prolific inventor [Ting Huan] (丁 緩) invented a device similar to the modern zoetrope. It was made of translucent paper or mica panels and was operated by being hung over a lamp so that vanes at the top would rotate as they came in contact with the warm air currents rising from the lamp. This rotation, if it reached the ideal speed triggered the same illusion of quick animation as a more modern zoetrope.

 

Flip book (1868)

flip bookThe first flip book was patented in 1868 by John Barnes Linnet. A flip book is just a book with particularly springy pages that have an animated series of images printed near the unbound edge. A viewer bends the pages back and then rapidly releases them one at a time so that each image viewed springs out of view to momentarily reveal the next image just before it does the same. They operate on the same principle as the phenakistoscope and the zoetrope what with the rapid replacement of images with others, but they create the illusion without any thing serving as a flickering shutter as the slits had in the previous devices. They accomplish this because of the simple physiological fact that the eye can focus more easily on stationary objects than on moving ones. Flip books were more often cited as inspiration by early animated filmmakers than the previously discussed devices which didn’t reach quite as wide of an audience. In previous animation devices the images were drawn in circles which meant diameter of the circles physically limited just how many images could reasonably be displayed. While the book format still brings about something of a physical limit to the length of the animation, this limit is significantly longer than the round devices. Even this limit was able to be broken with the invention of the mutoscope in 1894. It consisted of a long circularly bound flip book in a box with a crank handle to flip through the pages.

 

Praxinoscope (1877)

The praxinoscope, invented by French scientist Charles-Émile Reynaud, combined the cylindrical design of the zoetrope with the viewing mirror of the phenakistoscope. The mirrors were mounted still in the center of the spinning ring of slots and drawings so that the image can be more clearly seen no matter what the device’s radius. Reynaud also developed a larger version of the praxinoscope that could be projected onto a screen, called the TheatreOptique.

Techniques

Traditional animation

1Traditional 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, which 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 onto motion picture film against a painted background by a rostrum camera.

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 colour 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 Akira (Japan, 1988). Traditional animated films which were produced with the aid of computer technology include The Lion King (US, 1994) Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (Japan, 2001), and Les Triplettes de Belleville (France, 2003).

Full animation refers to the process of producing high-quality traditionally animated films, which regularly use detailed drawings and plausible movement. Fully animated films can be done 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 ‘cartoony’ styles of those produced by 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, when combining hand-drawn characters into live action shots. One of the earlier uses of it was Koko the Clown when Koko was drawn over live action footage. Other examples would include Who Framed Roger Rabbit (USA, 1988), Space Jam (USA, 1996) and Osmosis Jones (USA, 2002).

 

Stop motion

imagesA stop-motion animation of a moving coin 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.

Puppet animation typically involves stop-motion puppet figures interacting with each other in a constructed environment, in contrast to the real-world interaction in model animation. The puppets generally have an armature inside of them to keep them still and steady as well as constraining them to move at 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 abbreviated as claymation, 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 of them, 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 2-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 which 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.

 

Computer animation

2A short gif animation of Earth 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 than previous traditional animation.

2D animation

2D animation figures are created and/or edited on the computer using 2D bitmap graphics or created and edited using 2Dvector graphics. This includes automated computerized versions of traditional animation techniques such as of, 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.

 

3D animation

3D animation is digitally modeled and manipulated by an animator. To manipulate a mesh, it is given a digital skeletal structure that can be used to control the mesh. This process is called rigging. Various other techniques can be applied, such as mathematical functions (ex. gravity, particle simulations), simulated fur or hair, effects such as fire and water and the use of motion capture to name but a few, these techniques fall under the category of 3D dynamics. Well-made 3D animations can be difficult to distinguish from live action and are commonly used as visual effects for recent movies. Toy Story (1995, USA) is the first feature-length film to be created and rendered entirely using 3D graphics.

Introduction of Animation

Introduction of Animation

 

What is Animation?

 Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions to create an illusion of movement. The effect is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in several ways. The most common method of presenting animation is as a motion picture or video program, although there are other methods.

Etymology

From Latin animātiō, “the act of bringing to life”; from animō (“to animate” or “give life to”) + -ātiō (“the act of”).

Early examples

Five images sequeSnapShotnce from a vase found in IranEarly examples of attempts to capture the phenomenon of motion drawing can be found in  paleolithic  cave paintings, where animals are depicted with multiple legs insuperimposed positions, clearly attemptingto convey the perception of motion.

A 5,000 year old earthen bowl found in Iran in Shahr-i Sokhta has five images of a goat painted along the sides. This has been claimed to be an example of early animation. However, since no equipment existed to show the images in motion, such a series of images cannot be called animation in a true sense of the word.

A Chinese  zoetrope-type device had been invented in 180 AD. The phenakistoscope,  praxinoscope, and the common  flip book  were early popular animation devices invented during the 19th century.777px-Egyptmotionseries

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.

There is no single person who can be considered the “creator” of film animation, as there were several people working on projects which could be considered animation at about the same time.

Georges Méliès was a creator of special-effect films; he was generally one of the first people to use animation with his technique. He discovered a technique by accident which was to stop the camera rolling to change something in the scene, and then continue rolling the film. This idea was later known as stop-motion animation. Méliès discoveredthis technique accidentally when his camera broke down while shooting a bus driving by. When he had fixed the camera, a hearse happened to be passing by just as Méliès restarted rolling the film, his end result was that he had managed to make a bus transform into a hearse. This was just one of the great contributors to animation in the early years.

The earliest surviving stop-motion advertising film was an English short by  Arthur Melbourne-Cooper  called Matches: An Appeal  (1899). Developed for the  Bryant and May Matchsticks company, it involved stop-motion animation of wired-together matches writing a patriotic call to action on a blackboard.

J. Stuart Blackton was possibly the first American film-maker to use the techniques of stop-motion and hand-drawn animation. Introduced to film-making by Edison, he pioneered these concepts at the turn of the 20th century, with his first copyrighted work dated 1900. Several of his films, among them The Enchanted Drawing (1900) and Humorous Phases of Funny Faces  (1906) were film versions of Blackton’s “lightning artist” routine, and utilized modified versions of Méliès’ early stop-motion techniques to make a series of  blackboard  drawings appear to move and reshape themselves. ‘Humorous Phases of Funny Faces’ is regularly cited as the first true animated film, and Blackton is considered the first true animator.

Fantasmagorie_(Cohl)Another French artist,  Émile Cohl, began drawing cartoon strips and created a film in 1908 called  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. This makes Fantasmagorie the first animated film created using what came to be known as traditional (hand-drawn) animation.

Following the successes of Blackton and Cohl, many other artists began experimenting with animation. One such artist was Winsor McCay, a successful newspaper cartoonist, who created detailed animations that required a team of artists and painstaking attention for detail. Each frame was drawn on paper; which invariably required backgrounds and characters to be redrawn and animated. Among McCay’s most noted films are Little Nemo  (1911), Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) and The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918).

The production of animated short films, typically referred to as “cartoons”, became an industry of its own during the 1910s, and cartoon shorts were produced to be shown in movie theatres. The most successful early animation producer 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.

traditional animationTraditional animation also called cel animation or hand-drawn animation or classical animation was the process used for  most animated films in 20th century. The individual frames of a traditional  animated film are photographs of drawings, which are first drawn on paper. To create the illusion of movement, each drawing differs slightly from the one before it. The animators’ drawing are traced  or photocopied onto transparent acetate sheet 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 onto motion picture film against a painted background by a rostrum camera.

rostrum

  Rostrum Camera

Rostrum camera is a specially designed camera used in television production and film making to animate still images or object.

The traditional cel animation process became obsolete by the beginning of the 21st century. Today, animator’s  drawing and the background are either scanned into or directly into a computer system. Various software program are used to color the drawing 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 animator’s work has remained essentially the same over past 70 years. Some animation producers have used term “tradigital”  to describe cel animation which make extensive use of computer technology.

Pinocchio-1940-posterExample of traditional animation movies Pinocchio (United States 1940), Animal Farm (United Kingdom,1954), and Akira (Japan,1988). Traditional animated films which were produced with the aid of computer technology include The Lion King (United  States,1994), Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (Japan,2001), and Les Triplettes de Belleville (France,2003).

. Full animation refers to the process of producing high-quality traditional animated films, which regularly use detailed drawings and  plausible movement. Fully animated films can be done in a verity of styles, from more realistically animated works such as those produce by the Walt Disney studio (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King) to the more ‘cartoony‘ style of those produced by the Warner Bros. animation studio. Many of the Disney animated features are example of full animation.

. Limited animation involve the use of less detailed and/or more stylized drawing and methods of movement. Pioneered by the artiest at the American studio United Production of America, limited animation can be used as a method of stylized artistic expression, as in Gerald McBoing Boing (US, 1951), Yellow Submariner (UK, 1968), and much of the anime produce 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 drawing, 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 (US, 1983), and Heavy Metal (1981).

.Live-action/animation is a technique,when combing hand-drawn character into live action shots. One of the earlier uses of it was Koko the Clown  when Koko was drawn over live action footage. Other example would include Who Framed Roger Rabbit (US,1988), Space Jam (US, 1996) and Osmosis Jones (US, 2002).