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We kick things off with a silent film by J. Stuart Blackton, who some call the father of animation. An actor essentially does a bit of prop work and a cartoon man drawn on an easel occasionally changes expression thanks to some basic stop motion photography. Without any live action actor this time, J. Stuart Blackton returns with this, the first animation recorded on standard picture film. Humorous Phases begins with an artist drawing portraits on a blackboard in chalk, before they begin to animate and interact with each other.
Made from drawings, each double-exposed, this 2 minute long film is the earliest example of what became known as traditional animation. With his characters morphing and transforming throughout, Cohl wanted to really demonstrate the fantastical, reality-defying possibilities of animation with his production. These all became part of standard industry practice for traditional animation production for decades to come. He was a bit of a pop culture icon as well, having dolls, toys, watches, ceramics, postcards and more made in his image.
We all know this one! It was, however, the first animated film to both popularise Mickey and to be fully scored. Although not as we know her… Back then, she was some kind of terrifying dog-human hybrid. Sorry for the nightmares. Flowers and Trees was also the first animated film shot with a three-strip Technicolor camera, a process so costly that it almost ruined Disney financially. Luckily the cartoon was a smash hit — phew! Widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time — King Kong earns its spot in the history of evolution for including the most advanced and convincing stop motion animated characters yet seen.
Probably the first animation on this timeline that still holds up nowadays, which speaks volumes of its polish, Snow White was the first ever full length animated feature film. Amongst its long list of accolades and achievements, did you know that Fred and Wilma were also the first married couple to ever be shown in bed together on TV? Remember that one, might come up in a pub quiz one day! This one is on the animation timeline because it was the first full feature animated film Disney made using xerography.
This is a process that eliminates hand-inking the outlines of the characters on each cel. Instead, the drawings were printed directly onto the cels, saving a massive amount of time and labour. Keep an eye out for the clear, bold lines in Dalmatians — a direct result of this process. Roger Rabbit is also a major milestone in animated history because of the sheer of characters and assets from different studios that made an appearance.
Where else can you get Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse in the same scene?! Jurassic Park mixed animatronics, stop-motion and CGI to create the most photo-realistic animated creatures ever before seen on screen. Toy Story was also the first animated film nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay, showing how animation was beginning to be recognised and respected as entertainment, rather than just for animation-related accolades.
Whilst the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park were highly accomplished elements that looked right at home alongside live-action stars, Gollum was the first real character that showed the world what motion capture and CGI was capable of. A fully computer generated character could appear alongside actors and it looked amazing. Check out our pieces on Andy Serkis and mocap for more technical info and trivia about Gollum and motion capture!
Avatar blew audiences away with its advanced CGI and motion capture techniques, bringing the lush, alien world of Pandora to life in both 2 and 3 dimensions. Stop motion has come a long way! Us Brits, having grown up with the likes of Pingu , Bagpuss , The Magic Roundabout , Wallace and Gromit , and Creature Comforts on our screens, tend to have an especially soft spot for the medium as well. ParaNorman by studio LAIKA represents some of the most advanced stop-motion and modelling techniques in animation to date.
It was the first to make use of mass 3D printing for its models — creating over 31, individual face parts during production. This technique is why the puppets in ParaNorman are so expressive and versatile — over unique faces were used for one character to create a single shot lasting only 27 seconds. Flashy, endearing and high-impact visuals are becoming available not just in entertainment, but in business animation as well. Content Producer. Jamie is responsible for keeping our prospects, clients, friends and followers updated through our Journal and Fudge Labs articles.
When he's not writing or editing, you can find Jamie playing video games and dreaming about VR. The evolution of animation — a timeline — The Enchanted Drawing We kick things off with a silent film by J. Jamie Content Producer.Monocle popping out gif
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