Animation as an Art Form

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Animation or in some people’s better understanding just a bunch of cartoon shows that use to air every Saturday morning. Well animation visually comes in many forms from different channels airing on the television, from different countries, different art styles or just the genre of the animated film. It is quite impressive the more you think about it that there are so many animated films in our present days with impressive qualities that some don’t wonder how it use to look like when it all started. Well for starters what is animation, well animation is a type of film produced by either hand drawn or digitally drawn and it would be in a series of frame where each frame would involve a small moevemnet of a person or moving object. It’s almost like a flip book where if you were to draw a stick figure doing a cartwheel each page would slowly move the character until you have a full book where once flip looks as if the character is moving.

An animation film has to have a a storyboard before it all begins and has to go through various of steps in order for one to be completed. It is challenging but not impossible and once completed it will come out quite beautifully. Now the first thing that was considered close to animation was in 1871 where comic strips would be found in newspapers. Though not really a film it was believed that this was the birth of the art of animation. Leaping six years later in 1877 a man named Charles Emile Reynaud would create a device called the praxinoscope. This device was almost like a lamp but without the light bulb in the center an instead there would be a panels of small mirrors. There would be an outer layer with frames of a little girl playing with a jump rope now when spinning the outer layer the mirror panels would also spin and it spinned fast enough the mirror would reflect the frames fast enough so that it seemed as if the girl was actually moving. Charles would also invent a device called the Theatre Optique which would be a much larger device that would use a similar concept to the praxinoscope but would contain hand cranes, lights and a projector that would project the film on a screen. This lore in various folks who wanted to experience a glimpse at an animated film.

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One of the films that was projected was titled Le Clown et Ses Chiens which was fifteen minutes long. Each film was hand drawn and since this was a bigger device it contains more frames which would extend the time to make a film but enlarge the minutes of that film. As time went on new faces step up to produced animated films using this device and during these times films such as The Humpty Dumpty Circus, Matches: An Appeal and The Enchanted Drawing hit the screens in theaters. Now though it was a big hit seeing an animated films during this era at the time animated films would be in the no sound and no color age where it was difficult for films to produce an color film or with sound that would be in sync with each film, though later on the years that would change. Because in 1912 the first ever short animated film that was colored was called Golliwog Land and though it was a considered a lost film it is known to be the very first ever color animated film in history.

In 1919 Otto Messmer and Pat Sullivan would create a character that would be a known mascot through its golden years. The mascot was Felix the Cat and it was indeed a huge success as the feline would star in over hundred and fifty films making theaters fill with the noise of laughter. Though like all things Felix didn’t last long as he would be surpassed later on 1929 though he did get surpassed the feline earned its right to be the first and oldest known character. Soon there would be a competition of who was truly the best at not only mastering animated films but who would surpass who. The two were Walt Disney’s Studio and The Fleischer’s Brothers Studio. Disney at the time was working on some films and at the time he was working alongside Ub Iwerks, Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, Carmen Maxwell, and Friz Freleng. The group would work together to create various films such as The Laugh-O-Grams Logo, The Little Red Riding Hood, The Four Musicians of Bremen and Alice’s Wonderland. He would soon go through obstacles such as bankruptcy in 1923 but that didn’t stop him as he would continue on. Soon after that incident Ub Iwerks would create Oswald the Lucky Rabbit his designs was similar to Felix the Cat but instead he would be a rabbit.

However Walt Disney Studio would lose the right to keep him and was told to give the character to George Winkler Productions. In 1928 the studio would create Mortimer Mouse a crude drawing of a mouse like character. It went through various stages until it has reach a point where the name was given to this mouse as Mickey Mouse. His first debut was a short film called Plane Crazy until his iconic and well known debut in Steamboat Willie where the mouse would be whistling while spinning the wheel of the boat. Now during the same time as this was happening Max Fleischer would be creating revolutionary arts of animation. In 1915 Max invented the rotoscope where it would help him have a huge advantage many of his films. Max was well known for his greatest production Out of the Inkwell that was in theater in 1919 where it would feature Koko the Clown. What made this film special was that it was half animated half live people or in better terms it was if both real and fictional characters shared the screen together almost as if interacting with each other.

Max was also considered that he was the first to have sound in his films while Disney was way behind with his films. Max was not only popular with those two success he was popular for the characters Bimbo, Popeye the Sailor Man, Betty Boop and Koko the Clown as those characters would not only entertain but fill the seats with folks laughing and in awe at what a simple man can create. Now Max would often use more adult humor in his films while Disney tended to avoid those boundaries and at the end of this race we all known who surpassed who. Though Disney may have won I truly believe that even though Max isn’t well known by many people he will always be the best person who not only invented great characters but a man who innovated the art of animation.

As years went on Disney Studios would still be making 2D style animated movies for example in 1950 the movie Cinderella would be shown throughout theaters. This went on until around the 1960’s while switching the channels on your television box the Flintstones would air. This was the first animation series to be put on television and of course another huge success. Sooner or later technology would improve and computers would be brought up in the animator’s desk. During this time a new style of art was created known as the third dimension or 3D. They took this new style and in 1995 the first fully computer animated film was shown in theaters the title of this film was Toy Story where both Pixar and Disney work together to make this great masterpiece. Because of this a new animation style was added in the list. Of course this was just the beginning as newer films would be made both 2D and 3D from Dinosaurs, Lilo and Stitch, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo and etc. Because of this studios grew and animators were needed to make not only movie films but as well as cartoons for television.

Newer devices and programs would be made for the sole purpose of not only improving animation quality but make it easier as well. For example Wacom tablets would make digital drawing easier for animation and programs like Adobe Flash would be used to produce films. As years go on we are taken to now where young folks would watch these cartoons and not only be entertain but inspired to create such animated films. The best part is that animation is not only just for younger audience but for adults audience as well it aims to entertain everyone. From Adult Swims shows such as Rick and Morty to Disney XD shows like Gravity Falls. For some animation is considered just silly cartoons for kids but in reality animation is part of our history. It was our childhood to group up watching these films for the sole purpose to entertain our childhood to make some people days better with jokes and art. That was the sole person of making not only animation but art in general from comic books to painting entertaining the people’s lives. To inspire them people to be creative and inspire people that where ever you come from, whatever art style if you can entertain people lives you are doing your job.

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Animation as an Art Form. (2022, May 16). Retrieved from

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