The History of 3D animation (Post Three Early Animation)

For some animation was just a dream a simple flicker book, but for others it was something that was yet to be ventured into. Animation has been around for over one hundred years, starting off with a simple cave painting but when did the illusion of movement that make up todays animation start. The very first animated film was projected  over a century ago only a few years after the Lumiere brothers publicly screen live action films on paris 1895. Ever since then animation has change over the years and has become more advance as other technologies have, giving animators more tools to created animation. There have been many early attempts of creating the illusion of movement in the thirteenth century an english monk Roger Bacon Made talking heads out of bronze, Around 1641 a german inventer called Athanasius Kircher know for his inventions of ‘magic machines’ invented a dancing female figure that would perform on stage surrounded by mirrors, the mirrors gave the impression it was surrounded by many others. Automated toy have been around since the 18th century there were walking and speaking dolls mass marketed in the the USA, this technologie to be use in simular concept for more modern 3d clay animation. Tomas Edison Mass produce the taking doll soon after the invention of the sound recording device, his dolls were not that succsessfull as his sound recording device war down making it useless. Around that time Thomas Edison invented may other technologies making him a fortune including the invention of the Motion Picture.

Thaumatrope – At first it took someone to understand the principle of the human eye and how we process images to understand how to create an illusion of movement. It was Frenchman called Paul Roget, the inventor of the Thaumatrope that first achieved this in 1828. The Thaumatrope is a circular disc with a piece of string attached to both sides, one of the sides had a picture of a bird on it and the other side had a picture of an empty cage. When the disk was spun fast enough it gave the illusion that the bird was inside the cage.

Phenakistoscope – It cannot be said that there is a particular founder of animation, as there were various people working on different animation ideas. Around about the same time a man called Joseph Plateau was working on a device called the Phenakistoscope; it was a reel of sequential pictures placed in a cylinder with slits around the edges. This was then spun to give the impression the object was moving, this was later developed in 1860 by a man called Pierre Desvignes.

For many year people studied the motion of movement in  1872 Etienne – jules Marey created a device that monitored the movement of a person walking, it worked out each point of the foot though the walk cycle. so moment its self had been very well document by the time of animation, he also developed a camera that took pictures of a bird in flight that captured a picture of each sequence of the flight and each stage of the wings flapping.

Stop Motion – In the early 19 hundreds animators such as Stuart Blackton started using a technique called ‘stop motion’ this is the combination of images or “cells” depicting a scene, each scene would contain a number of cells (frames) that would create a moving image. Each of these frame have 1 image.  He began the process by drawing a face on a blackboard, he would then capture this in a photo and the original image would be erased thus creating one cell, to create the illusion of movement the process would then be replicated and the expression on the face would be slightly altered this would be done several times and when the cells were combined on film you would have an animation of a man changing his expression. This technique is very similar to modern day method of clay animation.

Flicker Book – This is a book with a different picture on each page. The pages are in chronological order an each page is a slightly different to the last I.E the mans leg has slightly been moved. Once compilations of pages have been put together you hold the spine of the book and flick thought the pages. Just like a modem day computer it flicks though a series of picture in a matter of a second creating an illusion of movement.

So by the early 20th century people understood the use of frames and that you had to see the same frame in the same place with a slight change in movement to create the illusion of real moment, but what use is a three second animation and how would this develop.


(2008, The Animation Bible, Maureen Furniss)

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