Walt Disney: A Biography Essay

1917 words - 8 pages

There were many different entrepreneurs in the animation industry. From ancient times, animation has been a goal of artists. Since then, many different inventions and developments have been made to further improve the portrayal of animation. It is arguably said that there is one person who stands above the rest of them in the art of animation. That man is Walt Disney.Since the beginning of time, artists have been trying to depict motion in their art. The earliest recorded illustration that portrayed motion can be found on an Egyptian wall decoration circa 2000 B.C.C. (Chew 24) It is similar to today's comic strips, in that its successive panels depict the actions of two wrestlers in a variety of holds. Prehistorically, the attempt to depict action in art was very evident. In cave drawings around the globe there are drawings of animals with eight legs, representing the animal running (Chew 29).Without first understanding a fundamental principle of the human eye, true animation cannot be achieved. This principle is the persistence of vision. This idea was first demonstrated in 1828 by Paul Roget, who invented the thaumatrope. This device was a disk attached to a stick or pole, with an image of a bird on one side and an image of a cage on the other. The bird appeared to be in the cage when the disc was twirled. This apparatus proved that the eye retains images when it is exposed to a series of pictures, one at a time (Chew 40).Two other inventions that helped to further the cause of animation were the phenakistoscope and the zerotrope. The phenakistoscope was created by Joseph Plateau in 1826. It was a circular card with slits around the edge. The viewer held the card up to a mirror and peered through the slits as the card rotated. Through a sequence of drawings around the circumference of the card, the viewer saw a progression of images resulting in a moving object. The same technique was applied to the zerotrope, which was invented by Pierre Desvignes in 1860. Desvignes inserted a strip of paper containing drawings on the inside of a drum like cylinder. The cylinder rotated on a rod, and the viewer gazed through slots, where were cut at the top of the drum. The figures on the inside seemed to come to life, eternally looping in an acrobatic feat (Chew 45).The first real practical means of making animation was provided with the development of the motion camera and projector by Thomas A. Edison and others. The animation was still done in the simplest of means. The entrepreneur Stuart Blackton issued a short film in 1906 titled Humourous Phases of Funny Faces where he drew comical faces on a blackboard, photographed them, and the erased it to draw another stage of the facial expression. Audiences were astonished that this "stop-motion" effect made drawings comes to life (Chew 49).Popularity of the animated cartoon was on the decline in the early twenties and movie exhibitors were looking elsewhere for alternative entertainment media. Because the...

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