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History of Animation. A forerunner of today's comic strip can be found in an Egyptian wall decoration circa 2000 B.C. In successive panels it depicts the actions of two wrestlers in a variety of holds. Early comic strip.

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early comic strip

A forerunner of today's comic strip can be found in an Egyptian wall decoration circa 2000 B.C. In successive panels it depicts the actions of two wrestlers in a variety of holds.

Early comic strip
early animation

Since the beginnings of time, human beings have tried to capture a sense of motion in their art. From the eight-legged boar in the Altamira caves of Northern Spain to paintings alongside the remains of long-dead pharohs, this quest for capturing motion has been a common theme throughout many of mankind's artistic endeavors.

Early animation
animation definition

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.

Animation definition
animation example
Animation example

These 6 slides when played

At a rate of 10 frames per second will produce the following image:

early animations

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. 

Early animations

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.

How Do You Make a Cartoon?

walt disney

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. 

Steamboat Willie

In 1937, he produced the first full length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Walt disney
computers in animation

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. 

Computers in animation

Claymation uses artist's clay, a digital camera, a computer, and video software to make a movie.

Will Vinton is the 'Godfather' of claymation. His entire production company turned the entire face of clay animation and changed its history permanently. His most famous creations are the California Raisins- Commercial (1986)


Finch, Christopher. The Art of Walt Disney, 1973.

Laybourne, Kit.  The Animation Book, 1998.

Locke, Lafe.  Film Animation Techniques, 1992