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The History And Future Of Animation

2115 words - 8 pages

The word animate comes from the Latin word anima, meaning soul; the literal translation is "to give life to." Animation is exactly that -- giving life or movement, motion or even a voice to an otherwise inanimate object. For centuries people have made efforts to put motion into drawings; recently an earthen goblet approximately 5000 years old was found in Iran with drawings of a goat jumping into a tree to eat leaves. (Lealos) Similar sequential series type drawings have been found in Egyptian hieroglyphics and cave drawings.
Across time and worldwide many ideas and creations have contributed to the animations of today. Most started as toys based on optical illusion. In 1824 Peter Roget published an article telling of persistence of vision. Roget argued that the "retina holds images for a fraction of a second before being replaced by the following images." ( This perception of one image blending to the next, as in the individual frames of animation, gave the illusion of movement. Amazing really what the mind's eye might see. Following the publication of Roget's article many novelties were created to demonstrate the theory.
The thaumatrope invented in 1825 by Dr. John Paris, was first of the persistence of vision toys and the simplest to make. It consisted of a round disk with a bird drawn on one side and cage drawn on the other. The disc was held by strings on each side that when wound caused the disk to spin and the images would merge to appear as a bird in the cage.
The phenakistiscope was invented in 1832 by Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau. This is a disc fixed at its center so it can spin freely. Drawings in a sequential series went around the disk and slits were cut evenly spaced around the edge of the disc. A German inventor, Stampfer, developed a similar device around the same time, he dubbed it the stroboscope. Many other similar versions were later created. Some variations of the phenakistiscope survived into the 20th century such as the kinephone, or gramophone cinema, from the 1920s.
In 1834 William George Horner invented the zoetrope or wheel of life. The sequential images were drawn on a strip of paper and placed around the inside of a rotatable drum with viewing slits evenly spaced around the drum. Looking through the slits while the drum is spinning, causes the image inside to appear to be moving
The kineograph was invented in 1868 and is still around today – it is commonly known as the flipbook. This was the first device to show animation in a linear rather than circular form. These Victorian novelties were just the beginning, animation continued to develop through the 19th century. In 1906 the first animated film "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces" was created by Stuart Blackton. Blackton filmed a series of faces that he'd drawn on a blackboard to create the short film. "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces" can be viewed here

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