A history of animation
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A HISTORY OF ANIMATION. MANY scholars write that the history of animation started over 30,000 years ago in the caves of France and Spain where Neanderthals drew running and vaulting animals to suggest “living” motion. Thanks to “Non Sequitur” writer and cartoonist Wiley Miller (who spent his

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A history of animation


A history of animation

MANY scholars write that the history of animation started over 30,000 years ago in the caves of France and Spain where Neanderthals drew running and vaulting animals to suggest “living” motion.

A history of animation

Thanks to “Non Sequitur” writer and

cartoonist Wiley Miller (who spent his

high school years in McClean,Virginia,

and who graduated from Virginia

Commonwealth University), today we

know the true story about Neanderthals

and the history of animation . . .

A history of animation

The history of animation

has also been traced

back to the early- to

mid-1700s when Dutch

scientists and brothers

Pieter and Jan van

Musschenbroek created

the forerunner of the

modern slide projector.

A history of animation

Their creation became

known as the MAGIC

LANTERN, which could

project a series of slides. This is a photo of the

oldest known existing

lantern made around

1720 by Jan van


A history of animation

The wooden case stands on a height adjustable,base. Smoke and heat from the oil burning lampescaped from a tin chimney on top of the body.

A history of animation

A concave mirror and an ingenious lens arrangement projected a image visible up to a distance of ten metres.

A history of animation

IN 1824, Peter Mark Roget published

Persistence of Vision with Regard to Moving Objects, which established four principles of animation:

A history of animation

1. The viewer’s vision must be restricted to one still picture at a time.

2. The eye blurs many images into one image if they are presented in quick succession.

3. A certain minimum speed is required to produce this blurring effect.

4. A large quantity of light is essential to create a convincing image.

A history of animation

In 1829, Belgian artist &

scientist Joseph Plateau

developed the


a series of pictures

mounted on a

spinning disc.

A history of animation

Major cities of the world offered a

hundred variations of this new “toy,”

with moving pictures of running dogs,

horses, monkeys, fish, and acrobats.

These first animation devices were

called a variety of names from


A history of animation

The PHENAKISTOSCOPE set the stage for the developmentsof the last decade of the nineteenth century: The invention of the camera (attributed to The Edison Company), the invention of film (attributed to Eastman Kodak Company), and the first successful film projection (attributed to the Lumière brothers in 1896).

A history of animation

One early version of “claymation”

using stop-camera produced by the

Thomas Edison Company in 1900

was Fun in a Bakery Shop.

A history of animation

IN 1883 IN NEW


Joseph Pulitzer

bought the

New York World,

giving it a new

flair and style.

Competition for

newsstand sales

began in earnest.

A history of animation

Another New Yorker, William Randolph Hearst bought the Journal, and started to imitate Pulitzer’s style. As competition heated up, Pulitzer sought an edge. In 1893, he bought a four-color rotary press to print famous works of art for his New York World Sunday supplement.

Though the art series was unsuccessful, Pulitzer’s Sunday editor, Morrill Goddard, talked Pulitzer into using the equipment for comic art similar to the work done in Judge, Puck, and Life, the most popular humor magazines of

the time.

A history of animation

Goddard hired Richard Outcalt,

a young American comic artist

who created the first comic

series, Down in Hogan’s Alley,

published in 1895. Hogan’s

Alley, as the series came to be

called, attempted to burlesque

current events using a group of

neighborhood characters.

A history of animation

The setting for Hogan’s Alley was

the city slums—squalid tenements

and backyards filled with dogs,

cats, and little tough guys. One of

the street kids was a nameless,

one-toothed, bald-headed boy

dressed in a long, dirty nightshirt,

the front of which was often used

for additional commentary.

A history of animation

At the time, yellow ink

had a tendency to

smudge on newsprint.

To experiment, a press

foreman arbitrarily

chose the bald-headed

kid’s nightshirt on

which to try out a

quick-drying yellow

ink. The Yellow Kid

was born, and with

him, some say, the

comic strip.

A history of animation

The Yellow Kid was so popular that the

close association of wild-headlines with

this yellow-shirted character gave rise to

the name “yellow journalism.” Many

credit Outcalt and the comic strip artists

following him as the ones who gave birth

to animated art on film. Indeed, almost all

of the early animators started as comic

strip artist and were even traded from

paper to paper like sports players.

A history of animation

Among the most famous of cartoonists was

Winsor McCay, Max Fleisher, and George

Herriman, the creator of Krazy Kat. Krazy Kat

Goes A-Wooing (1916) and the Krazy Kat film

series was animated by a different artist,

Leon Searl.

A history of animation

Many historians credit French

animator Emile Cohl with the first

animated film. American animator

and historian John Canemaker

credits J. Stuart Blackton with the

first two animated films:

The Enchanted Drawing, and

Humorous Phases of Funny Faces.

A history of animation

In The Enchanted Drawing

(1900), Blackton, then a

cartoonist for the New York

Evening World, is photographed

in Thomas Edison’s New Jersey

studio, performing a vaudeville

routine knows as the “lightening

sketch,” supplemented by stop

camera tricks that bring the

objects to life.

A history of animation

Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906)

used chalkboard sketches and then cut-outs to

simplify the process. The flickering in the film

was common to the earliest animation and

resulted from the camera operator’s failure to

achieve consistent exposure in manual

one-frame cranking.

A history of animation

Winsor McCay put his newspaper-born Little Nemo

on film in 1911. He gave us the first fluid animation,

drawing on translucent rice paper, and using crude

crossmarks for registration from frame to frame.

A history of animation

After his longtime assistant John A.

Fitzsimmons developed a cel

registration system (a forerunner of

most peg systems used today), McCay

introduced “animation cycles,” the

repeated use of a series of cels. He

used his cycle technique in How a

Mosquito Operates, and the highly

successful Gertie the Dinosaur.

A history of animation

The following fragment from Gertie on Tour

(1921) was done in collaboration with

McCay’s son John and Fitzsimmons. It may

have been released as part of the 1921

Series Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend.

A history of animation

Emile Cohl created the first animated series Phantasmagorie, a simple blackboard technique with stick figures.


Raoul Barré established the first studio capable of producing animated cartoons in quantity.

Max Fleisher filed for a patent for the Rotoscope, a device that allowed the animator to trace over live-action images

A history of animation

In Pat Sullivan’s

studio, cartoonist

Otto Messmer

created Felix the

Cat, the hottest

cartoon property

around during

the 1920s.

A history of animation

But 1927 brought two things: sound

on film, and the loss of Felix.

Wonderful Felix, who walked and

ran to piano music or whatever the

theatre musicians happened to be

playing, had a short lived career.

Sullivan, who owned him, refused to

believe that Felix needed sound

accompaniment. A new animated

animal star would take Felix’s place.

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