Still Life With Animated Dogs

navigation






Animation
Pages: 1 | 2

storyboard
storyboard from Still Life with Animated Dogs

What is Animation?
Animation is the process of moving a sequence of still images to produce the illusion of unbroken motion. Creating an animated film first involves developing a concept and then storyboarding it. Storyboarding means sketching major events in a story with panel-like drawings, much like a comic strip. Next, the animation artist must write a dialogue track, time the dialogue and record it, and then synch, or match the action to fit the dialogue.

cave painting
cave painting


Greek vase
Greek vase


zoetrope
zoetrope


A Trip to the Moon
George Melies'
A Trip to the Moon


Gertie the Dinosaur
Gertie the Dinosaur


Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat


Betty Boop
Betty Boop
Early History
Though animation wasn't always so sophisticated, humans have endeavored to capture a sense of motion in art since the beginning of time. Paintings drawn inside caves as early as 18,000 BC gave the illusion of movement when the flickering light of a fire was reflected on the walls. The image of the eight-legged boar found in the Altamira caves (left) and Greek figures drawn on vases as early as 2,000 BC, are examples of the dawn of animation.

Thousands of years later, optical toys became the precursors to cinematic animation. These 19th century devices, including the thaumatrope, phenakisticope and the zoetrope, demonstrate a key principle of why animation works: the persistence of vision. This theory proposes that the brain retains an image for a fraction of a second after the image has passed. If the eye sees a series of still images in too rapid a succession to process, the images will appear to move because the eyes have been tricked into thinking that they have seen motion.

Animation in the Movies
Animation has been around since the beginning of cinema in the late 1800s. At that time, the French filmmaker Georges Méliès demonstrated stop-motion or stop-action animation, whereby the camera was stopped and an object removed or added to a shot before filming was resumed. In 1907, J. Stuart Blackton made the animated film Humorous Phases of Funny Faces using the stop-motion technique filming a blackboard of drawings. A year later, French newspaper cartoonist Emile Cohl created a series of cartoon films. The first American artist to draw for film was also a well-known newspaper cartoonist named Winsor McCay, who created Gertie the Dinosaur in 1914. The most famous cartoon personality before Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, however, was Felix the Cat, created by Australian cartoonist Pat Sullivan and animated by Otto Mesmer.

One of the milestones of efficient animation production was the patenting of a cel (or cellulose acetate) animation production process by Earl Hurd in 1914. Because cels were clear, different drawings of moving parts could be laid over a single static image, reducing the number of times an image had to be redrawn. Cels were not widely used for some time, though, largely because of the cost of licensing the process. Most early animators used methods such as the slash-and-tear system, in which an artist would draw moving images on one sheet of paper and tear away the excess paper surrounding the images.

Experience the animation process for yourself

Frustrated by the limitations of cel animation, Max Fleischer invented the rotoscope, which projected live action footage onto the animator's drawing board. By tracing the shape, the animator could create a smooth, realistic action that predated Walt Disney's work by 15 years. Fleischer also developed the personalities of such famous characters such as Betty Boop, Popeye, and Superman.





Czech Animators Czech Animation Resources The Filmmakers Speak! Dog Tales Postcards from the Hedge Fido Facts Wag the Dog The Story