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History of Multimedia Animation

Animation is a graphic representation of drawings to show movement within those drawings. A series of drawings are linked together and usually photographed by a camera. The drawings have been slightly changed between individualized frames so when they are played back in rapid succession (24 frames per second) there appears to be seamless movement within the drawings.


Pioneers of animation include Winsor McCay of the United States and Emile Cohl and Georges Melies of France. Some consider McCay's Gertie the Dinosaur to be the first mulit media animation. To learn more about Winsor McCay and Gertie check out this page.


Early animations, which started appearing before 1910, consisted of simple drawings photographed one at a time. It was extremely labor intensive as there were literally hundreds of drawings per minute of film.

The development of celluloid around 1913 quickly made animation easier to manage. Instead of numerous drawings, the animator now could make a complex background and/or foreground and sandwich moving characters in between several other pieces of celluloid, which is transparent except for where drawings are painted on it. This made it unnecessary to repeatedly draw the background as it remained static and only the characters moved. It also created an illusion of depth, especially if foreground elements were placed in the frames.

Walt Disney took animation to a new level. He was the first animator to add sound to his movie cartoons with the premiere of Steamboat Willie in 1928. In 1937, he produced the first full length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. With the introduction of computers, animation took on a whole new meaning.

Many feature films of today had animation incorporated into them for special effects. A film like Star Wars by George Lucas would rely heavily on computer animation for many of its special effects. Toy Story, produced by Walt Disney Productions and Pixar Animation Studios, became the first full length feature film animated entirely on computers when it was released in 1995.

With the advent of personal computers, it has now become possible for the average person to create animations.


Article used with permission from: http://www.fi.edu/fellows/fellow5/may99/History/history.html

Here is a great time line on animation created by Dan McLauglin.

After you have read about the history of animation, take this short quiz.