Animation has been a part of cinema history from the time motion pictures were created in the late 1800s. Early animated films were done by well-known newspaper cartoonists. Although three-dimensional animation techniques were attempted in the early years of filmmaking, major motion-picture studios decided that two-dimensional animation was the most efficient technique. In fact, this is very true, as two-dimensional animation is best suited for their "assembly-line" filmmaking.
Key Figures in Animation History
One of the milestones of efficient animation production was the patenting of the now widely used cel animation process. This process was developed by American animator Earl Hurd in 1914. This involved the use of clear cels to reduce the number of times an image had to be redrawn by allowing different drawings of moving parts to be laid over a single static image. However, they were not widely used for some time due to the licensing costs. Today, cel animation has become an industry standard.
One animation studio that influenced animation all over the world is known as the Walt Disney Company. The founder, Walt Disney, eventually created the most famous animated character in history: Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney is also famous for his "Silly Symphony" cartoons in the 1930s which were venues for experimentation with new technologies (such as incorporating the Technicolor film system into cartoons) and for exploration of relationships between visual images and music. These short cartoons were also precursors to his full-length animated film Fantasia (1940), which was well known for having animated images interpreting well-known symphonic music. He is also known for his studio's release of the first feature-length animated film ever, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera are well known as creators of some of the first successful animated television series. Among their most famous works are Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, and The Jetsons.
The Japanese are known worldwide for their animation. Known as anime, it first blossomed after World War II ended in 1945 and became highly successful with their short films, feature-length films, and more recent television series.
Current Trends in Animation
Traveling animation festivals worldwide screen short works from a wide variety of animators, mostly noncommercial ones. Additionally, the advent of home video and laser disks have made distribution of these works much more widespread following the festivals. These festivals and home entertainment mediums have brought recognition to talented independent animators worldwide. Many previously unknown animators have been showcased by these mediums; for example, animators from the United Kingdom such as Joanna Quinn, David Anderson, Candy Guard, and Barry Purves are currently known as some of the most innovative artists in the modern world! Many other animators, mainly from other parts of Europe, have gained fame from the greater exposure allowed by videos and laser disks.
A parallel interest in feature-length, mainstream animation grew up during the mid-1980s within the commercial motion-picture industry. The Walt Disney Company created many successful animated films in the early 1990s as a result of this boom, which included The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994). Other animation studios soon followed with similar successes in the later part of the 1990s.
Animated television shows have become great hits on some networks. For example, in 1990, Fox's hit The Simpsons (1990- ) by American animator Matt Groening paved the way for the network's sudden animation boom in the late-1990s. The newer hits, such as King Of The Hill, Family Guy, The PJs, and Groening's second hit, Futurama bring in huge ratings that much of their live-action programming lacks. Also, the Nickelodeon cable network has had great successes with their original animated shows, such as Doug, Rugrats, Rocko's Modern Life, and Canadian-born animator John Kricfalusi's controversial yet very popular series The Ren and Stimpy Show.
New technologies in animation, which were often shunned in earlier years, have become widely accepted in modern years by major animation studios worldwide. The Pixar animation studios are well known for their breakthroughs in computer animation. American animator John Lasseter, who began work for Pixar in 1986, created the highly acclaimed film Luxo, Jr., which was one of the first computer-animated shorts to depict a character with a very human-like personality. He also won an Academy Award for his first computer-animated short film Tin Toy, a forerunner of the popular Pixar/Disney film Toy Story (1995), the first entirely computer-animated feature film, which Lasserter directed.
Though many techniques have been used throughout animation's history, it is one of the rare fields in which older animation techniques do not die out as a result of newer ones. In fact, animation may truly be called one of the greatest arts of modern society.
h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated
are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries
have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's
House Rules, please
register a complaint.
For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."