3D CGI animation is created on the computer using software programs that allow people to use detailed modeling techniques, shaders, and textures to create realistic looking characters. Many studios have already taken character realism to a different level by sensoring how actual muscles work using real people or animals in order to create a realistic, mimiced effect in their characters.
Following the Silent Era, The Golden Age began for animation after cel animation was perfected and put to use. Through cel animation, a figure that was going to be animated was first drawn and painted onto celluloids (transparent sheet on which objects are drawn or painted), placed over a background, and photographed frame by frame. Many famous animated cartoon characters originated from this technique, including; Mickey Mouse, Bambi, Fantasia, Pinnochio, and Snow White. Another important aspect of this era was the syncronization of sound to animated films.
Projected animations began The Silent Era. Charles Reyaud's Theatre Optique is the earliest known device capable of projected animation and even predates Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope (1883). The device combined the ideas of the zoetrope and the magic lantern. Through several mirrors, and the help of a projector (magic lantern technique), an image was able to be cast on a surface using 2 spools of lenghthy ribbon that contained the images that would be wound or unwound in order to project the image across the differently angled mirrors and onto the surface.
The zoetrope was created using the principles of the phenakistoscope except it doesn't require a mirror to operate and multiple people can view it at once. It is created using a cylindrical spinning device with multiple frames along the interior so that when it is spun, the viewer can look through the slots on the outside and view the inside as the frames spin and pass through the additional slots creating an animated effect.
Magic Lantern Shows – the Victorian entertainment that led to the movies – recreated by The American Magic-Lantern Theater, a traveling company.
Brian Bouwman's insight:
The Magic Lantern, invented in the 1650's, is an old relative of the modern day projector. It acquired its name from showmen who would use it to project simple images of goblins or devils on the wall in order to frighten people. Transluscent oil paintings were projected onto a surface using a double-lens contraption that was lit by limelight. The limelight is created when oxygen and hydrogen are applied to a piece of limestone, which in return, creates a lighting effect similar to that of a modern movie projector. The slides used to project the images usually changed on 30 second increments. However, the slides could be tweaked and sped up to create animated special effects
Animation is the recording of an image that goes through changes over time in order to mimic a motion effect. Animation can be linked as far back as the Paleolothic Era. 30,000 year old cave drawings in France illustrated animals performing simple actions such as a horse moving its head forward or a bull moving its tail.
Once the computer became a recognized tool for creating animation, flash animation became a mainstream technique in creating and distributing animated shorts. Using adobe flash or other animation programs, the user could describe the image as a series of lines and shapes, which would then be recorded as mathematical values. These values could then be altered to create a less hands-on drawing experience when creating animation shorts. Flash animation was spread using the internet and is still a popular technique used today.
The stop motion technique followed the invention of Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope. An inanimate object is moved around during the intervals of each recorded slide so that it looks as if it is moving by an invisible force. This trick film technique was first exemplified by Albert Smith in his short stop animation, The Humpty Dumpty Circus (1898).
Most commonly known as the flip book, this simple creation consists of a stack of drawings going through sequential movements in time. The stack is held together by a single binding that allows the pages to be flipped a ta fastt rate in order to create the illusion of motion. The flip book was patented by Henry Van Hovenbergh in 1882 and was one of the strongest influences in creating early projected animations.
The Phenakistoscope was invented by Joseph Plateau in 1831. The device consists of two discs mounted on the same axis. The first disk has evenly spaced slots around the edge, and the second has a series of drawings around the circle portraying an object performing an action over time. The illusion is created if the disk is spun in front of a mirror while the viewer looks through a slot.
The thaumatrope is one of the earliest animation devices that holds the form of a very thin disk which has two different, correlated images drawn on each side. Two strings are attached on opposite sides of the disk to allow it to be wound up. Once the disc is wound up, the spinning motion that occurs from the unwinding of the strings allows for the images to appear to be superimposed. Credit to the device has been given to astronomer John Herschel (1824) who made it a popular toy but early demonstrations of this technique can be linked all the way back to the paleolithic era.
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