What is Animation?

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What is Animation?
Animate: to bring to life.
Animation: bringing sequential images to life.
Animation is a technique used to fool the eye into thinking that motion is occurring. It uses a series of still

pictures flashed in sequence very quickly. If the pictures are properly designed to flow from one to the

next, the eye sees the series as one continuous, smooth motion: movement.

Since the advent of film 100 years ago, animators have concocted a variety of methods to create

animation. These include: paper cut-outs, clay models, puppets, computer-generated 3-D art and

traditional cel animation.

All animation is enabled by persistence of vision.

When sequential still images are viewed in rapid succession, they are perceived as a continuous


For images that are designed with patterns or character poses that progress logically in

sequence, our minds “fill in the blanks” and logical motion or action is perceived.

The animator’s job is to design sequential images that create motion illusions that express

desired cinematic, emotional or pedagogical effects.

All animation is a “trick”, enabled by technology and perception.
Frames per second: the rate at which sequential frames are displayed under a given display system

Feature films are projected at 24 fps.
NTSC video is displayed at 30 fps (actually 60 intelaced fields per second).

PAL video is displayed at 25 fps (actually 50 interlaced fields per second).






Early approaches to motion in art
Five images sequence from a vase found in Iran.
Evidence of artistic interest in depicting figures in motion can be seen as early as Paleolithic cave

paintings. Animals in these paintings were often depicted with multiple sets of legs in superimposed

positions. Because these paintings are prehistoric they could be explained a number of ways, such as the

artist simply changing their mind about the leg’s position with no means of erasing, but it’s very likely that

they are early attempts to convey motion.

Another example includes a 5,200-year old earthen bowl found in Iran in Shahr-e Sukhteh. The bowl has

five images painted along the sides, showing phases of a goat leaping up to nip at a tree.

An Egyptian mural, found in the tomb of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, at the Beni Hassan cemetery

includes a sequence of images in temporal succession. The paintings are approximately 4000 years old

and show scenes of young soldiers being trained in wrestling and combat.

Seven drawings by Leonardo da Vinci (c. 1510) extending over two folios in the Windsor

Collection, Anatomical Studies of the Muscles of the Neck, Shoulder, Chest, and Arm, show detailed

drawings of the upper body with a less-detailed facial image. The sequence shows multiple angles of the

figure as it rotates and the arm extends. Because the drawings show only small changes from one image

to the next, the drawings imply motion in a single figure.

Even though some of these early examples may appear similar to an animated series of drawings, the

lack of equipment to show them in motion causes them to fall short of being true animation. The process

of illustrating the passing of time by putting images in a chronological series is one of the most important

steps in creating animation so historic instances of this practice are definitely notable.


Animation before film
Numerous devices which successfully displayed animated images were introduced well before the advent

of the motion picture. These devices were used to entertain, amaze and sometimes even frighten people.

The majority of these devices didn’t project their images and accordingly could only be viewed by a single

person at any one time. For this reason they were considered toys rather than being a large

scale entertainment industry like later animation. Many of these devices are still built by and for film

students being taught the basic principles of animation.

The magic lantern (c. 1650)
The magic lantern is an early predecessor of the modern day projector. It consisted of a translucent oil

painting and a simple lamp. In a darkened room, the image would appear projected onto an adjacent flat

surface. It was often used to project demonic, frightening images in order to convince people that they

were witnessing the supernatural. Some slides for the lanterns contained moving parts which makes the

magic lantern the earliest known example of projected animation. The origin of the magic lantern is

debated, but in the 15th century the Venetian inventor Giovanni Fontana published an illustration of a

device which projected the image of a demon in his Liber Instrumentorum. The earliest known actual

magic lanterns are usually credited to Christiaan Huygens or Athanasius Kircher.

Thaumatrope (1824)
A thaumatrope was a simple toy used in the Victorian era. A thaumatrope is a small circular disk or card

with two different pictures on each side that was attached to a piece of string or a pair of strings running

through the centre. When the string is twirled quickly between the fingers, the two pictures appear to

combine into a single image. The thaumatrope demonstrates the Phi phenomenon, the brain’s ability to

persistently perceive an image. Its invention is often credited to Sir John Herschel. John A.

Paris popularized the invention when he used one to illustrate the Phi phenomenon in 1824 to the Royal

College of Physicians.

Phenakistoscope (1831)
The phenakistoscope was an early animation device. It was invented in 1831 simultaneously by the

Belgian Joseph Plateau and the Austrian Simon von Stampfer. It consists of a disk with a series of

images, drawn on radii evenly spaced around the center of the disk. Slots are cut out of the disk on the

same radii as the drawings, but at a different distance from the center. The device would be placed in

front of a mirror and spun. As the phenakistoscope is spun, a viewer would looks through the slots at the


gay reflection of the drawings which would only become visible when a slot passes by the viewer’s eye.

This created the illusion of animation.

Zoetrope (180 AD; 1834)
The zoetrope was produced in 1834 by William George Horner and operates on the same principle as the

phenakistoscope. It was a cylindrical spinning device with several frames of animation printed along the

interior circumference. There are vertical slits around the sides through which an observer can view the

moving images on the opposite side when the cylinder spins. As it spins the material between the viewing

slits moves in the opposite direction of the images on the other side and in doing so serves as a

rudimentary shutter. The zoetrope had several advantages over the phenakistoscope. It didn’t require the

use of a mirror to view the illusion, and because of its cylindrical shape it could be viewed by several

people at once.

In China around 180 AD the prolific inventor [Ting Huan] (丁緩) invented a device similar to the modern
zoetrope. It was made of translucent paper or mica panels and was operated by being hung over a lamp

so that vanes at the top would rotate as they came in contact with the warm air currents rising from the

lamp. This rotation, if it reached the ideal speed triggered the same illusion of quick animation as a more

modern zoetrope.

Flip book (1868)
The first flip book was patented in 1868 by John Barnes Linnett as the kineograph. A flip book is just a

book with particularly springy pages that have an animated series of images printed near the unbound

edge. A viewer bends the pages back and then rapidly releases them one at a time so that each image

viewed springs out of view to momentarily reveal the next image just before it does the same. They

operate on the same principle as the phenakistoscope and the zoetrope what with the rapid replacement

of images with others, but they create the illusion without any thing serving as a flickering shutter as the

slits had in the previous devices. They accomplish this because of the simple physiological fact that the

eye can focus more easily on stationary objects than on moving ones. Flip books were more often cited

as inspiration by early animated filmmakers than the previously discussed devices which didn’t reach


quite as wide of an audience. In previous animation devices the images were drawn in circles which

meant diameter of the circles physically limited just how many images could reasonably be displayed.

While the book format still brings about something of a physical limit to the length of the animation, this

limit is significantly longer than the round devices. Even this limit was able to be broken with the invention

of the mutoscope in 1894. It consisted of a long circularly bound flip book in a box with a crank handle to

flip through the pages.

Praxinoscope (1877)
The praxinoscope, invented by French scientist Charles-Émile Reynaud, combined the cylindrical design

of the zoetrope with the viewing mirror of the phenakistoscope. The mirrors were mounted still in the

center of the spinning ring of slots and drawings so that the image can be more clearly seen no matter

what the device’s radius. Reynaud also developed a larger version of the praxinoscope that could be

projected onto a screen, called the Théâtre Optique.

Traditional animation
The silent era
A still from Fantasmagorie (1908).


Charles-Émile Reynaud’s Théâtre Optique is the earliest known example of projected animation. It

predates even photographic video devices such asThomas Edison’s 1883 invention, the Kinetsocope,

and the Lumière brothers’ 1884 invention, the cinematograph. Reynaud exhibited three of his animations

on October 28, 1892 at Musée Grévin in Paris, France. The only surviving example of these three is

Pauvre Pierrot which was 500 frames long.

After the cinematograph popularized the motion picture, the endless possibilities of animation began to be

explored in much greater depth. A short stop-motion animation was produced in 1899 by Albert E.

Smith and J. Stuart Blackton called The Humpty Dumpty Circus. Stop motion is a video technique in

which real objects are moved around in the time between their images being recorded so that when the

images are viewed as a video, they appear to be moving by some invisible force. It directly descends

from various early “trick” film techniques which used video to realistically display the impossible. A few

other films featuring the stop motion technique were released afterward, but the first to receive wide scale

appreciation was Blackton’sHaunted Mansion which baffled viewers and inspired a lot of further

development in animation. In 1906 Blackton also made the first drawn work of animation on standard

film, Humorous Phases of Funny Faces. It features faces being drawn on a chalkboard which suddenly

begin to move autonomously.

Fantasmagorie, by the French director Émile Cohl (also called Émile Courtet), is also noteworthy. It was

screened for the first time on August 17, 1908 at Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris. Cohl later went to Fort

Lee, New Jersey near New York City in 1912, where he worked for French studio Éclair and spread its

animation technique to the US. Influenced by Cohl, Russian scientist Wladyslaw Starewicz started to

create stop motion films using deadinsects with wire limbs. In 1911 he created The Cameraman’s

Revenge, a complex tale of treason, suicide and violence between several different insects. It is a pioneer

work of puppet animation, and the oldest animated film of such dramatic complexity, with characters filled

with motivation, desire and feelings. In 1914, American cartoonist Winsor McCay released Gertie the

Dinosaur, an early example of character development in drawn animation. The film was made for

McCay’s vaudeville act and as it played McCay would speak to Gertie who would respond with a series of

gestures. There was a scene at the end of the film where McCay walked behind the projection screen and

a video of him appears on the screen showing him getting on the cartoons back and riding out of frame.

This scene made Gertie the Dinosaur the first film to combine live action footage with hand drawn

animation. McCay hand drew almost every one of the 10,000 drawings he used for the film.

Also in 1914, John Bray opened John Bray Studios which revolutionized the way animation was

created. Earl Hurd, one of Bray’s employees patented the cel technique. This involved animating moving

objects on transparent celluloid sheets which were then placed over a stationary background image and

then photographed to generate the sequence of images. This as well as Bray’s innovative use of the

assembly line method allowed John Bray Studios to create Col. Heeza Liar, the first animated series.[19] In

1915 Max and Dave Fleischer invented rotoscoping, the process of using film as a reference point for

animation and their studios went on to later release such animated classics as Ko-Ko the Clown, Betty

Boop, Popeye the Sailor Man, and Superman. In 1918 McCay released The Sinking of the Lusitania, a

wartime propaganda film. McCay did utilize some of the newer animation techniques such as cels over

paintings, but because he did all of his animation by himself, the project wasn’t actually released until just

shortly before the end of the war. At this point the larger scale animation studios were becoming the

industrial norm and artists such as McCay faded from the public eye.[18]


The first animated feature film was El Apóstol, made in 1917 by Quirino Cristiani from Argentina. He also

directed two other animated feature films, including 1931’s Peludopolis, the first feature length animation

to use synchronized sound. None of these, however, survive to the present day. In 1920, Otto

Mesmer of Pat Sullivan Studios created Felix the Cat. Pat Sullivan, the studio head took all of the credit

for Felix, a practice which was very common in the early days of studio animation. Felix the Cat was

distributed by Paramount Studios and attracted a very large audience. Felix was the first cartoon to be

merchandised, and he soon became a household name. In 1921 abstract animation was becoming

popular in Germany. Artists developing this genre include Walter Ruttman, Hans Richter, and Oskar

Fischinger, who referred to his works as “absolute animation.” The earliest-surviving animated feature is

the 1926 silhouette-animatedAdventures of Prince Achmed which used colour-tinted film. It was directed

by German Lotte Reiniger and French/Hungarian Berthold Bartosch.

Animation did not happen instantly. Many people contributed to make animation what it is today. In 1824,

Peter Roget discovered the vital principle,’ the persistence of vision.’ This principle rest on the fact that

our eyes temporarily retain the image of anything they’ve just scene. If this wasn’t so, we would never get

the illusion of an unbroken connection in a series of images, and neither movies nor animation would be

possible. Many people don’t realize that movies don’t actually move, and that they are still images that

appear to move when they are projected in a series. This principle was quickly adapted to develop a

series of gadgets, such as the Zoetrope and phenakitstoscope.

The Phenakistoscope: Two discs mounted on a shaft-the front disc has slits around the edge and the rear

disc has a sequence of drawings. Align the drawings with the slits, look through the openings and as the

discs revolve we have the illusion of motion.

The wheel of life’ or the Zeotrope: Appeared in the USA in 1867 and was sold as a toy. Long strips of

paper with a sequence of drawings on them were inserted into a cylinder with slits in it. Spin the cylinder,

look through the slits and the creature appears to move.

The flipper book: In 1868 a novelty called ‘the flipper book’ appeared worldwide and it remained the

simplest and the most popular device. It’s just a pad of drawing bound like a book along one edge. Hold

the book in one hand along the bound edge and with the other hand flip the pages and see them move.

Today the classical animator still flips his drawing the same way as a flipper book before testing it on the

video or film camera.

The illustration medium was obviously the first choice for creating these sequences depicting movement.

In 1906, J.Stuart Blackton made the first animated film called ‘humorous phases of funny faces’. Following

this in 1908,Winsor Mc Cay produced an animation sequence using his comic strip character ‘Little Nemo’

and followed it up with a cartoon called ‘Gertie the Trained Dinosaur. He was the first man to present

animation as an art form. Credited frequently as the father of animation industry, during the period

between 1911 and 1921,McCay nursed animation from a simple camera trick to a full -blown character

animation that would take 20 years to be surpassed. Mc cay animated his films single handedly. From

inception to execution each cartoon was his and his alone.

Though he extensively influenced the development of animation as a new art form, the medium was in

serious need of technological up gradation, which was essential to free the medium from the total

dependence on brilliant individuals and to ensure large volume output.

Almost all earlier attempts in animation were a series of images drawn on paper. In the initial stages,

animation was done by directly photographing images from paper. This restricted the use of backgrounds

since it was to be drawn along with the characters on the same sheet of paper. In late1914,Bray

animation studio employee, Earl Hurd invented the process of inking the animator’s drawing onto


transparent pieces of celluloid and then photographing them in succession over a single painted


The highly labour intensive nature of animation was proving to be a serious deterrent to large quantity

output. Naturally, animation adapted itself to an industrial framework. The art of animation was no longer

the work of one man : it was a streamlined, assembly-line process in the best Henry Ford tradition. Even

before Mc Cay had shown the world the true potential of the animated cartoon, the first animation studios

were already around, trying to exploit the medium for what they could. This transformation of animation

from a fine art to an industry has had serious repercussions on both the quality and quantity of output. On

the positive side animation became highly popular through the huge quantity output and exposure. This

opened up a whole range of production options and segregation of the talent base into specialize

categories such as background artist, key animator, in-betweeners, cleanup artists, ink & paint artists, etc.

In the twenties Felix the cat became as popular as Charlie Chaplin. These short Felix cartoons were

visually inventive, doing what a camera can’t do. The Felix cartoon led straight to the arrival of Walt

Disney. The most influential studio, both from an artistic as well as a commercial standpoint, in the history

of animation is the Walt Disney studio. In 1923, Walt Disney entered the animation industry with the film

“Alice’s Wonderland”. In 1928, Mickey Mouse took off with his appearance in Steamboat Willie- the first

cartoon with synchronized sound track and Disney continues to dominate the field to this very day. It is at

Disney that we see the studio system’s best effects on the development of animation as an art form. Walt

was the one who steered cartoons away from the ‘rubber hose style of the silent era and encouraged his

artists to develop a realistic, naturalistic style of animation in the early 1930’s. He was the moving force

behind such ground breaking films such as ‘Snow white and the seven Dwarfs” (1937), the first full length

animated feature and “Pinocchio” (1940), a film who’s intricate levels of technical brilliance many

animators feel has never been surpassed. Disney came out with a series of releases including films such

as ‘Lady and the tramp’, ‘The jungle book’, and the experimental film ‘Fantasia’ each surpassing the

predecessor in quality and finesse. Warner’s artists used their creative freedom to take the medium in

new directions. Directors Tex Avery and Bob Clampett broke from the Disney tradition and imbibed their

films with highly exaggerated slapstick comedy.

It was when animation finally made the leap to television that the art truly began to suffer for business

sake. Though television brought animation to the homes, its voracious requirement of quantity started

affecting the industry adversely. People genuinely interested in making quality cinema had manned the

great Hollywood studios of the thirties, forties and fifties. The denizens of the TV animation houses of the

sixties, seventies and eighties only cared that the product was there to the market. The quality of the

writing was poor and the animation itself was so limited, that it barely qualified as animation at all. A crop

of studios including Hanna-Barbara, Filmation and DIC came into being to cater to this huge market.

Desperate to conquer as much airtime as possible, the studios churned out series after series without

any regard to aesthetic. The budget restraints and hurried deadlines of the television industry simply

prohibited artists from crafting the kind of art their cinematic predecessors achieved.

Back on the big screen, the medium faced a different set of problems. Since the advent of television,

people were no longer spending all day at movies and short duration films were gradually loosing appeal

among audience. While animation never completely disappeared from theaters, by the 1960’s most

studios has closed down. The once that didn’t, suffered from severe declines in quality. Only Disney

retained it’s level of short films by the mid-fifties, earlier than anyone else.

Animation entered a dark period during the sixties and seventies until the early eighties, when the

principal medium of animation transformed from movies to television. But an interesting development

during the period was the emergence of computer as potential tool for animation.






In the initial stages of development, computer as an animation tool was restricted mainly to 3D model

animation for research and development applications. By the mid eighties, the potential of computers as

an animation tool was also recognized by the Cel animation industry. A large amount of simplicity was

brought about in conventional Cel animation by adopting it to the computer medium. Instead of

cellophane paper, finished illustrations were generated on ordinary paper and scanned into computer.

The later stages of production such as colouring, composting, sound synchronization, etc were executed

in the computer as this reduces the workload substantially.

Backed by the immense potential of computers as a production tool, the two big studios, Disney and

Warner Bros, re-entered the market. Creations like Disney’s ‘Duck Tales’ (1986) and Warner’s ‘Tiny Toon

Adventures’ (1989) were considerably better than anything their competitors were producing.

The new generations of Disney artist breathed life back into animation with films like ‘Who Framed Roger

Rabbit?’ (1988) and ‘The Little Mermaid’ (1989). In the nineties, they came out with technical

masterpieces such as ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Pocahontas’, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Tarzan’.

These well crafted cartoons were celebrations of animation’s glory days and the public proved just as

nostalgic as the artists themselves. The use of computers elevated them to a whole new level of

sophisticated. The new Disney crew proved that the studio system was still capable of turning out great


This is one of the most important principles of animation. Based on the rigidity of a animated body or

character, the effect of movement is emphasized by a change in shape. The basis of squash and stretch

is that the visual volume remains constant. While the height increases, width decreases and when width

increases height decreases.

Anticipation can be considered as advice for pre-informing the audience about the action that is about to

happen. This is one of the prime considerations while preparing the storyboard and later on when an

action is planned. In storyboards, anticipation is incorporated by the inclusion of a shot; anticipating the

action that is about to happen. For example including a shot of the character looking up in horror, just

before something heavy falls on him would make the incident much more clearer to the audience.

This is rather general term, which has its origin from the theatre. In essence, it means how an action is

presented so that it is completely and unmistakably clear. Staging includes a variety of factors such as

the camera distance, camera angle, camera movements, lightning and atmosphere settings, type of

background, etc.

Lightning: this is commonly employed in Disney animation films, where a well lit of action is defined by

surrounding it with lessor lit areas, thus creating a spot lit effect.

Layout: The elements in the background are arranged so that attention is concentrated to the central


Perspective: this is mostly used in scenes which have an architectural background. The strong

perspective lines funnels the concentration to the main character.

Line of sight: this is used when the stage character is very small. Though the eye first goes to the bigger

character, it’s line of sight redirects attention to the staged action.

Posture: characters postures should be clear and defined. The best method would be to analyze the

pose in silhouette to verify the clarity of representation.


When a character is animated, if all it parts start moving together and stop together, the action would look

mechanical. This is because, in nature, different objects have different speeds of movement. For


example, when a character turns, all its limbs do not start moving simultaneously. Probably the head

moves first, followed by the limbs, then the trunk and then the legs. Similarly they stop moving at different

frames. This is overlapping action.

Force in movements is brought about by this factor. This Ensures uneven speed of motion. In animation,

the sequence of frames is generated by first generating the key postures and then generating the in-

between postures. The in-between postures are not equally spaced between the key positions. This

would create a uniform speed of action and hence would result in a ‘mechanical’ movement. Variations in

the spacing of postures. An object starting from rest would not start with its maximum speed. It slowly

gains speed, comes to the maximum speed and then before the final position, starts reducing the speed

and finally comes to rest. As a thumb rule, When the postures are close together, movement is slow and

when they are spaced out, movement is fast.

In nature most of the movements, follow an arc. A probable reason could be that most of the joints are

through single point pivots. For example, the fingers are pivoted at its base to the palm. The palm in turn

is pivoted at the wrist to the forearm, and the forearm at the elbow to the upper arm. The upper arm is

connected to the trunk through a ball and socket joint. All these individual points move in arcs, and

combined movement results in complicated arcs. There certainly are exceptions to this, yet on the whole,

smooth movement requires movement along arcs.

This is device for strengthening an action. For example, suppose the script specifies that the character

turns away in disgust. The element of disgust may be amplified by the use of say an animated scowl on

his face along with a disapproving nod of the head. In character animation, the turning action is the

principle action, which is strengthened by the secondary actions i.e. the scowl and the nod.

In animation terminology, timing implies controlling the speed and nature of an action by controlling the

number frames used to create it. In addition to the number of frames, how they are spaced is also crucial

in deciding the nature of a movement. For example, violent actions require lesser in-betweens and slower

movements require more in-betweens. The point is to arrive at the correct combination of number of

frames and spacing to convey the action. Other aspects of the character, such as the size , weight and

the nature of action are all decided by the timing assigned to it.

This can be considered as the basic of animation. In principle, this is enhancing the essence of an idea

via the design and the action. But exaggeration is not just distorting a character beyond its physical limits.

It should be acceptable to the totality of the scene and the type of action depicted. Exaggeration as a

principle has various levels of consideration. At the most preliminary level, the basic concept of the film,

the amount of realism, the overall design and treatment of the characters of the film itself would decide

the amount of exaggeration adopted in the film. In normal circumstances, the exaggeration level of the

film. An overtly exaggerated animation sequence would look out of place in a moderately exaggerated

story and background treatment. A classic example of a positive use of this oddity is the central character

of the film “The Mask’.

All physical objects have weight. The simulation of weight is of prime importance while depicting any

character action. This is achieved in animation mainly through timing or the speed of the animation. For

example, a simple sphere can represent a shot put, a solid rubber ball, a balloon or a bubble through

animation. In characters, huge and bulky characters are given a lumbering gait to enhance its weight.

What does it requires to be an animator?






Well, first you need to have good drawing ability with visualization skills. Creating things needs you to

have a good imagination. Secondly, you need to have excellent observation powers. Do you see how

different people walk differently? Thirdly, you must have a lot of patience. Be it traditional or CGI,

patience is the name of the game. Fourthly, a penchant for communicating. Your work has to be

understood by people. Combine this with ability to work in a team and the sky is the limit for growth of

your career in the field of animation.

Story Boarding
Storyboards are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the
purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture,animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence.
The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at the Walt Disney Studio during

the early 1930s, after several years of similar processes being in use at Walt Disney and other animation


The storyboarding process can be very time-consuming and intricate. Many large budget silent films were

storyboarded but most of this material has been lost during the reduction of the studio archives during the

1970s. The form widely known today was developed at the Walt Disney studio during the early 1930s. In

the biography of her father, The Story of Walt Disney (Henry Holt, 1956), Diane Disney Miller explains

that the first complete storyboards were created for the 1933 Disney short Three Little Pigs. According to

John Canemaker, in Paper Dreams: The Art and Artists of Disney Storyboards (1999, Hyperion Press),

the first storyboards at Disney evolved from comic-book like “story sketches” created in the 1920s to

illustrate concepts for animated cartoon short subjects such as Plane Crazy and Steamboat Willie, and

within a few years the idea spread to other studios.

According to Christopher Finch in The Art of Walt Disney (Abrams, 1974), Disney credited animator Webb

Smith with creating the idea of drawing scenes on separate sheets of paper and pinning them up on a

bulletin board to tell a story in sequence, thus creating the first storyboard. The second studio to switch

from “story sketches” to storyboards was Walter Lantz Productions in early 1935,[1] by 1936 Harman-

Ising and Leon Schlesinger also followed suit. By 1937-38 all studios were using storyboards.

Gone with the Wind (1939) was one of the first live action films to be completely storyboarded. William

Cameron Menzies, the film’s production designer, was hired by producer David O. Selznickto design

every shot of the film.

Storyboarding became popular in live-action film production during the early 1940s, and grew into a

standard medium for previsualization of films. Pace Gallery curator, Annette Micheloson, writing of the

exhibition Drawing into Film: Director’s Drawings, considered the 1940s to 1990s to be the period in which

“production design was largely characterized by adoption of the storyboard”. Storyboards are now an

essential part of the creation progress.




A film storyboard is essentially a large comic of the film or some section of the film produced beforehand

to help film directors, cinematographers and television commercial advertising clients visualize the scenes

and find potential problems before they occur. Often storyboards include arrows or instructions that

indicate movement.

In creating a motion picture with any degree of fidelity to a script, a storyboard provides a visual layout of

events as they are to be seen through the camera lens. And in the case of interactive media, it is the

layout and sequence in which the user or viewer sees the content or information. In the storyboarding

process, most technical details involved in crafting a film or interactive media project can be efficiently

described either in picture, or in additional text.

Some live-action film directors, such as Joel and Ethan Coen, use storyboard extensively before taking a

pitch to their funders, stating that it helps them to get the support they require, since they can show

exactly where the money will be used. Alfred Hitchcock’s films were strongly believed to have been

extensively storyboarded to the finest detail by the majority of commentators over the years, although

later research indicates that this was exaggerated for publicity purposes. Akira Kurosawa was known,

particularly in his later years, for painstaking detail in his storyboarding, to the degree that the storyboard

paintings for Ran (for which he storyboarded every shot) are regarded as fine works of art in themselves.

Other directors storyboard only certain scenes, or none at all. Animation directors are usually required to

storyboard extensively, sometimes in place of writing a script.

In animation and special effects work, the storyboarding stage may be followed by simplified mock-ups

called “animatics” to give a better idea of how the scene will look and feel with motion and timing. At its

simplest, an animatic is a series of still images edited together and displayed in sequence with a

rough dialogue and/or rough sound track added to the sequence of still images (usually taken from a

storyboard) to test whether the sound and images are working effectively together.

This allows the animators and directors to work out any screenplay, camera positioning, shot list and

timing issues that may exist with the current storyboard. The storyboard and soundtrack are amended if

necessary, and a new animatic may be created and reviewed with the director until the storyboard is

perfected. Editing the film at the animatic stage can avoid animation of scenes that would be edited out of

the film. Animation is usually an expensive process, so there should be a minimum of “deleted scenes” if

the film is to be completed within budget.


Often storyboards are animated with simple zooms and pans to simulate camera movement (using non-

linear editing software). These animations can be combined with available animatics, sound effects and

dialog to create a presentation of how a film could be shot and cut together. Some feature

film DVD special features include production animatics.

Animatics are also used by advertising agencies to create inexpensive test commercials. A variation, the

“rip-o-matic”, is made from scenes of existing movies, television programs or commercials, to simulate the

look and feel of the proposed commercial. Rip, in this sense, refers to ripping-off an original work to

create a new one.

Comic books
Some writers have used storyboard type drawings (albeit rather sketchy) for their scripting of comic

books, often indicating staging of figures, backgrounds and balloon placement with instructions to the

artist as needed often scribbled in the margins and the dialogue/captions indicated. John

Stanley and Carl Barks (when he was writing stories for the Junior Woodchuck title) are known to have

used this style of scripting.

Pre-production or In Production is the process of preparing all the elements involved in a film, play, or
other performance. Pre-production ends when the planning ends and the content starts being produced.
In Film
In filmmaking and video production, pre-production formally begins once a project has been greenlit. At

this stage, finalizing preparations for production go into effect. Financing will generally be confirmed and

many of the key elements such as principal cast members, director and cinematographer are set. By the

end of pre-production, the screenplay is hopefully finalized and satisfactory to all the financiers and other


During pre-production, the script is broken down into individual scenes and all the locations, props, cast

members, costumes, special effects and visual effects are identified. An extremely detailedschedule is

produced and arrangements are made for the necessary elements to be available to the film-makers at

the appropriate times. Sets are constructed, the crew is hired, financial arrangements are put in place and

a start date for the beginning of principal photography is set. At some point in pre-production there will be

a read-through of the script which is usually attended by all cast members with speaking parts, the

director, all heads of departments, financiers, producers, and publicists.

Even though the writer may still be working on it, the screenplay is generally page-locked and scene-

numbered at the beginning of pre-production to avoid confusion. This means that even though additions

and deletions may still be made, any particular scene will always fall on the same page and have the

same scene number.

Post-production is part of filmmaking and the video production process. It occurs in the making
of motion pictures, television programs, radio programs,advertising, audio recordings, photography,


and digital art. It is a term for all stages of production occurring after the actual end of shooting and/or

recording the completed work.

Post-production is, in fact, many different processes grouped under one name. These typically include:



Video editing the picture of a television program using an edit decision list (EDL)

Writing, (re)recording, and editing the soundtrack.

Adding visual special effects – mainly computer-generated imagery (CGI) and digital copy from

which release prints will be made (although this may be made obsolete by digital-

cinema technologies).



Sound design, Sound effects, ADR, Foley and Music, culminating in a process known as sound re-

recording or mixing with professional audioequipment.

Transfer of Color motion picture film to Video or DPX with a telecine and color grading (correction) in

a color suite.

Typically, the post-production phase of creating a film takes longer than the actual shooting of the film,

and can take several months to complete because it includes the complete editing, color correction and

the addition of music and sound. The process of editing a movie is also seen as the second directing

because through the post production it is possible to change the intention of the movie. Furthermore

through the use of color correcting tools and the addition of music and sound, the atmosphere of the

movie can be heavily influenced. For instance a blue-tinted movie is associated with a cold atmosphere

and the choice of music and sound increases the effect of the shown scenes to the audience.

Post-production was named the one of the ‘Dying Industries’ by IBISWorld.[1] The once exclusive service

offered by high end post houses or boutique facilities have been eroded away by video editing

software that operates on a non-linear editing system (NLE). However, traditional (analogue) post-

production services are being surpassed by digital, leading to sales of over $6 billion annually.

The digital revolution has made the video editing workflow process immeasurably quicker, as practitioners

moved from time-consuming (tape to tape) linear video editing online editing suites, to computer

hardware and video editing software such as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Avid, Sony

Vegas and Lightworks.

Traditional animation
Traditional animation, (or classical animation, cel animation, or hand-drawn animation) is

an animation technique where each frame is drawn by hand. The technique was the dominant form of

animation in cinema until the advent of computer animation

Traditionally-animated productions, just like other forms of animation, usually begin life as

a storyboard, which is a script of sorts written with images as well as words, similar to a giant comic strip.

The images allow the animation team to plan the flow of the plot and the composition of the imagery.


The storyboard artists will have regular meetings with the director, and may have to redraw or “re-board”
a sequence many times before it meets final approval.
Voice recording
Before true animation begins, a preliminary soundtrack or “scratch track” is recorded, so that the

animation may be more precisely synchronized to the soundtrack. Given the slow, methodical manner in

which traditional animation is produced, it is almost always easier to synchronize animation to a pre-

existing soundtrack than it is to synchronize a soundtrack to pre-existing animation. A completed cartoon

soundtrack will feature music, sound effects, and dialogue performed by voice actors. However, the

scratch track used during animation typically contains only the voices, any vocal songs the characters

must sing along to, and temporary musical score tracks; the final score and sound effects are added

in post-production.

In the case of most pre-1930 sound animated cartoons, the sound was post-synched; that is, the sound

track was recorded after the film elements were finished by watching the film and performing the

dialogue, music, and sound effects required. Some studios, most notably Fleischer Studios, continued to

post-synch their cartoons through most of the 1930s, which allowed for the presence of the “muttered ad-

libs” present in many Popeye the Sailor and Betty Boop cartoons.

Often, an animatic or story reel is made after the soundtrack is created, but before full animation begins.

An animatic typically consists of pictures of the storyboard synchronized with the soundtrack. This allows

the animators and directors to work out any script and timing issues that may exist with the current

storyboard. The storyboard and soundtrack are amended if necessary, and a new animatic may be

created and reviewed with the director until the storyboard is perfected. Editing the film at the animatic

stage prevents the animation of scenes that would be edited out of the film; as traditional animation is a

very expensive and time-consuming process, creating scenes that will eventually be edited out of the

completed cartoon is strictly avoided.

Advertising agencies today employ the use of animatics to test their commercials before they are made

into full up spots. Animatics use drawn artwork, with moving pieces (for example, an arm that reaches for

a product, or a head that turns). Video storyboards are similar to animatics, but do not have moving

pieces. Photomatics are another option when creating test spots, but instead of using drawn artwork,

there is a shoot in which hundreds of digital photographs are taken. The large amount of images to

choose from may make the process of creating a test commercial a bit easier, as opposed to creating an

animatic, because changes to drawn art take time and money. Photomatics generally cost more than

animatics, as they require a shoot and on-camera talent.

Design and timing
Once the animatic has been approved, it and the storyboards are sent to the design

departments. Character designers prepare model sheets for all important characters and props in the film.

These model sheets will show how a character or object looks from a variety of angles with a variety of

poses and expressions, so that all artists working on the project can deliver consistent work. Sometimes,

small statues known as maquettes may be produced, so that an animator can see what a character looks

like in three dimensions. At the same time, the background stylistswill do similar work for the settings and


locations in the project, and the art directors and color stylists will determine the art style and color
schemes to be used.
While design is going on, the timing director (who in many cases will be the main director) takes the

animatic and analyzes exactly what poses, drawings, and lip movements will be needed on what frames.

An exposure sheet (or X-sheet for short) is created; this is a printed table that breaks down the action,

dialogue, and sound frame-by-frame as a guide for the animators. If a film is based more strongly in

music, a bar sheet may be prepared in addition to or instead of an X-sheet. Bar sheets show the

relationship between the on-screen action, the dialogue, and the actualmusical notation used in the score.

Layout begins after the designs are completed and approved by the director. The layout process is the

same as the blocking out of shots by a cinematographer on a live-action film. It is here that the

background layout artists determine the camera angles, camera paths, lighting, and shading of the scene.

Character layout artists will determine the major poses for the characters in the scene, and will make a

drawing to indicate each pose. For short films, character layouts are often the responsibility of the


The layout drawings and storyboards are then spliced, along with the audio and an animatic is formed

(not to be confused by its predecessor the leica reel). The term “animatic” was originally coined by Disney

animation studios.

Once the Animatic is finally approved by the director, animation begins.
In the traditional animation process, animators will begin by drawing sequences of animation on sheets of

transparent paper perforated to fit the peg bars in their desks, often using colored pencils, one picture or

“frame” at a time. A peg bar is an animation tool that is used in traditional (cel) animation to keep the

drawings in place. The pins in the peg bar match the holes in the paper. It is attached to the animation

desk or light table depending on which is being used. A key animator or lead animator will draw the key

drawings in a scene, using the character layouts as a guide. The key animator draws enough of the

frames to get across the major points of the action; in a sequence of a character jumping across a gap,

the key animator may draw a frame of the character as he is about to leap, two or more frames as the

character is flying through the air, and the frame for the character landing on the other side of the gap.

Timing is important for the animators drawing these frames; each frame must match exactly what is going

on in the soundtrack at the moment the frame will appear, or else the discrepancy between sound and

visual will be distracting to the audience. For example, in high-budget productions, extensive effort is

given in making sure a speaking character’s mouth matches in shape the sound that character’s actor is

producing as he or she speaks.

While working on a scene, a key animator will usually prepare a pencil test of the scene. A pencil test is a

preliminary version of the final animated scene; the pencil drawings are quickly photographed or scanned

and synced with the necessary soundtracks. This allows the animation to be reviewed and improved upon

before passing the work on to his assistant animators, who will go add details and some of the missing

frames in the scene. The work of the assistant animators is reviewed, pencil-tested, and corrected until

the lead animator is ready to meet with the director and have his scene sweatboxed, or reviewed by the


director, producer, and other key creative team members. Similar to the storyboarding stage, an animator

may be required to re-do a scene many times before the director will approve it.

In high-budget animated productions, often each major character will have an animator or group of

animators solely dedicated to drawing that character. The group will be made up of one supervising

animator, a small group of key animators, and a larger group of assistant animators. For scenes where

two characters interact, the key animators for both characters will decide which character is “leading” the

scene, and that character will be drawn first. The second character will be animated to react to and

support the actions of the “leading” character.

Once the key animation is approved, the lead animator forwards the scene on to the clean-up

department, made up of the clean-up animators and the inbetweeners. The clean-up animators take the

lead and assistant animators’ drawings and trace them onto a new sheet of paper, taking care in including

all of the details present on the original model sheets, so that it appears that one person animated the

entire film. The inbetweeners will draw in whatever frames are still missing in between the other

animators’ drawings. This procedure is called tweening. The resulting drawings are again pencil-tested

and sweatboxed until they meet approval.

At each stage during pencil animation, approved artwork is spliced into the Leica reel.
This process is the same for both character animation and special effects animation, which on most high-

budget productions are done in separate departments. Effects animators animate anything that moves

and is not a character, including props, vehicles, machinery and phenomena such as fire, rain,

and explosions. Sometimes, instead of drawings, a number of special processes are used to produce

special effects in animated films; rain, for example, has been created in Disney animated films since the

late-1930s by filming slow-motion footage of water in front of a black background, with the resulting film

superimposed over the animation.

Pencil test
After all the drawings are cleaned-up, they are then photographed on an animation camera, usually on

black and white film stock. Nowadays, pencil tests can be made using a video camera, and computer


While the animation is being done, the background artists will paint the sets over which the action of each

animated sequence will take place. These backgrounds are generally done in gouacheor acrylic paint,

although some animated productions have used backgrounds done in watercolor, oil paint, or

even crayon. Background artists follow very closely the work of the background layout artists and color

stylists (which is usually compiled into a workbook for their use), so that the resulting backgrounds are

harmonious in tone with the character designs.

Traditional ink-and-paint and camera
Once the clean-ups and in-between drawings for a sequence are completed, they are prepared for

photography, a process known as ink-and-paint. Each drawing is then transferred from paper to a thin,

clear sheet of plastic called a cel, a contraction of the material name celluloid (the original

flammable cellulose nitrate was later replaced with the more stable cellulose acetate). The outline of the


drawing is inked or photocopied onto the cel, and gouache or a similar type of paint is used on the

reverse sides of the cels to add colors in the appropriate shades. In many cases, characters will have

more than one color palette assigned to them; the usage of each one depends upon the mood and

lighting of each scene. The transparent quality of the cel allows for each character or object in a frame to

be animated on different cels, as the cel of one character can be seen underneath the cel of another; and

the opaque background will be seen beneath all of the cels.

When an entire sequence has been transferred to cels, the photography process begins. Each cel

involved in a frame of a sequence is laid on top of each other, with the background at the bottom of the

stack. A piece of glass is lowered onto the artwork in order to flatten any irregularities, and the composite

image is then photographed by a special animation camera, also called rostrum camera. The cels are

removed, and the process repeats for the next frame until each frame in the sequence has been

photographed. Each cel has registration holes, small holes along the top or bottom edge of the cel, which

allow the cel to be placed on corresponding peg bars before the camera to ensure that each cel aligns

with the one before it; if the cels are not aligned in such a manner, the animation, when played at full

speed, will appear “jittery.” Sometimes, frames may need to be photographed more than once, in order to

implement superimpositions and other camera effects. Pans are created by either moving the cels or

backgrounds one step at a time over a succession of frames (the camera does not pan; it only zooms in

and out).

As the scenes come out of final photography, they are spliced into the Leica reel, taking the place of the

pencil animation. Once every sequence in the production has been photographed, the final film is sent for

development and processing, while the final music and sound effects are added to the soundtrack. Again,

editing in the traditional live-action sense is generally not done in animation, but if it is required it is done

at this time, before the final print of the film is ready for duplication or broadcast.

Among the most common types of animation rostrum cameras was the Oxberry. Such cameras were

always made of black anodized aluminum, and commonly had 2 pegbars, one at the top and one at the

bottom of the lightbox. The Oxberry Master Series had four pegbars, two above and two below, and

sometimes used a “floating pegbar” as well. The height of the column on which the camera was mounted

determined the amount of zoom achievable on a piece of artwork. Such cameras were massive

mechanical affairs which might weigh close to a ton and take hours to break down or set up.

In the later years of the animation rostrum camera, stepper motors controlled by computers were attached

to the various axes of movement of the camera, thus saving many hours of hand cranking by human

operators. A notable early use of computer cameras was in Star Wars (1977), using the Dykstra system

at Lucas’ Sun Valley facility. Gradually, motion control techniques were adopted throughout the industry.

While several computer camera software packages became available in the early 1980s, the Tondreau

System became one of the most widely adopted.

Digital ink and paint processes gradually made these traditional animation techniques and equipment


Digital ink and paint
The current process, termed “digital ink and paint,” is the same as traditional ink and paint until after the

animation drawings are completed; instead of being transferred to cels, the animators’ drawings

are scanned into a computer, where they are colored and processed using one or more of a variety of

software packages. The resulting drawings are composited in the computer over their respective


backgrounds, which have also been scanned into the computer (if not digitally painted), and the computer

outputs the final film by either exporting a digital video file, using a video cassette recorder, or printing

to film using a high-resolution output device. Use of computers allows for easier exchange of artwork

between departments, studios, and even countries and continents (in most low-budget animated

productions, the bulk of the animation is actually done by animators working in other countries,

including South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, andIndia).

The last major feature film to use traditional ink and paint was Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke (1997);

the last major animation production to use the traditional process is Cartoon Network’sEd, Edd n

Eddy (1999–2009), although it was forced to switch to digital paint in 2004.[1] Minor productions such

as Hair High (2004) by Bill Plympton have used traditional cels long after the introduction of digital

techniques. Digital ink and paint has been in use at Walt Disney Feature Animation since 1989, where it

was used for the final rainbow shot in The Little Mermaid. All subsequent Disney animated features were

digitally inked-and-painted (starting with The Rescuers Down Under, which was also the first major

feature film to entirely use digital ink and paint), using Disney’s proprietary CAPS (Computer Animation

Production System) technology, developed primarily by Pixar (the last Disney feature using CAPS

was Home on the Range). Most other studios use one of a number of other high-end software packages

such as Toon Boom Harmony, Toonz Bravo!, Animo, and even consumer-level applications such

as Adobe Flash, Toon Boom Studio, TVPaint and Toonz Harlequin.

Computers and digital video cameras
Computers and digital video cameras can also be used as tools in traditional cel animation without

affecting the film directly, assisting the animators in their work and making the whole process faster and

easier. Doing the layouts on a computer is much more effective than doing it by traditional methods.

Additionally, video cameras give the opportunity to see a “preview” of the scenes and how they will look

when finished, enabling the animators to correct and improve upon them without having to complete them

first. This can be considered a digital form of pencil testing.

The cel is an important innovation to traditional animation, as it allows some parts of each frame to be

repeated from frame to frame, thus saving labor. A simple example would be a scene with two characters

on screen, one of which is talking and the other standing silently. Since the latter character is not moving,

it can be displayed in this scene using only one drawing, on one cel, while multiple drawings on multiple

cels will be used to animate the speaking character.

For a more complex example, consider a sequence in which a boy sets a plate upon a table. The table

will stay still for the entire sequence, so it can be drawn as part of the background. The plate can be

drawn along with the character as the character places it on the table. However, after the plate is on the

table, the plate will no longer move, although the boy will continue to move as he draws his arm away

from the plate. In this example, after the boy puts the plate down, the plate can then be drawn on a

separate cel from the boy. Further frames will feature new cels of the boy, but the plate does not have to

be redrawn as it is not moving; the same cel of the plate can be used in each remaining frame that it is

still upon the table. The cel paints were actually manufactured in shaded versions of each color to


compensate for the extra layer of cel added between the image and the camera, in this example the still

plate would be painted slightly brighter to compensate for being moved one layer down.

In very early cartoons made before the use of the cel, such as Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), the entire

frame, including the background and all characters and items, were drawn on a single sheet of paper,

then photographed. Everything had to be redrawn for each frame containing movements. This led to a

“jittery” appearance; imagine seeing a sequence of drawings of a mountain, each one slightly different

from the one preceding it. The pre-cel animation was later improved by using techniques like the slash

and tear system invented by Raoul Barre; the background and the animated objects were drawn on

separate papers. A frame was made by removing all the blank parts of the papers where the objects were

drawn before being placed on top of the backgrounds and finally photographed. The cel animation

process was invented byEarl Hurd and John Bray in 1915

Limited animation
In lower-budget productions, shortcuts available through the cel technique are used extensively. For

example, in a scene in which a man is sitting in a chair and talking, the chair and the body of the man

may be the same in every frame; only his head is redrawn, or perhaps even his head stays the same

while only his mouth moves. This is known as limited animation. The process was popularized in

theatrical cartoons by United Productions of America and used in most television animation, especially

that of Hanna-Barbera. The end result does not look very lifelike, but is inexpensive to produce, and

therefore allows cartoons to be made on small television budgets.

“Shooting on twos”
Moving characters are often shot “on twos”, that is to say, one drawing is shown for every two frames of

film (which usually runs at 24 frames per second), meaning there are only 12 drawings per second. Even

though the image update rate is low, the fluidity is satisfactory for most subjects. However, when a

character is required to perform a quick movement, it is usually necessary to revert to animating “on

ones”, as “twos” are too slow to convey the motion adequately. A blend of the two techniques keeps the

eye fooled without unnecessary production cost.

Animation for television is usually produced on tight budgets. In addition to the use of limited animation

techniques, television animation may be shot on “threes”, or even “fours”, i.e. three or four frames per

drawing. This translates to only eight or six drawings per second.

Animation loops
Creating animation loops or animation cycles is a labor-saving technique for animating repetitive motions,

such as a character walking or a breeze blowing through the trees. In the case of walking, the character is

animated taking a step with his right foot, then a step with his left foot. The loop is created so that, when

the sequence repeats, the motion is seamless. However, since an animation loop essentially uses the

same bit of animation over and over again, it is easily detected and can in fact become distracting to an

audience. In general, they are used only sparingly by productions with moderate or high budgets.

Ryan Larkin’s 1969 Academy Award nominated National Film Board of Canada short Walking makes

creative use of loops. In addition, a promotional music video from Cartoon Network’s Groovies featuring

the Soul Coughing song “Circles” poked fun at animation loops as they are often seen in The


Flintstones,in which Fred and Barney (along with various Hanna-Barbera characters that aired on

Cartoon Network), supposedly walking in a house, wonder why they keep passing the same table and

vase over and over again.

Multiplane camera
The multiplane camera is a tool used to add depth to scenes in 2D animated movies, called the

multiplane effect or the parallax process. The art is placed on different layers of glass plates, and as the

camera moves vertically towards or away from the artwork levels, the camera’s viewpoint appears to

move through the various layers of artwork in 3D space. The panorama views in Pinocchio are examples

of the effects a multiplane camera can achieve. Different versions of the camera have been made through

time, but the most famous is the one developed by the Walt Disney studio beginning with their 1937

short The Old Mill. Another one, the “Tabletop”, was developed by Fleischer Studios. The Tabletop, first

used in 1934’s Poor Cinderella, used miniature sets made of paper cutouts placed in front of the camera

on a rotating platform, with the cels between them. By rotating the entire setup one frame at a time in

accordance with the cel animation, realistic panoramas could be created. Ub Iwerks and Don Bluth also

built multiplane cameras for their studios.

Applied to animation by Ub Iwerks at the Walt Disney studio during the late 1950s,

the electrostatic copying technique called xerography allowed the drawings to be copied directly onto the

cels, eliminating much of the “inking” portion of the ink-and-paint process. This saved time and money,

and it also made it possible to put in more details and to control the size of the xeroxed objects and

characters (this replaced the little known, and seldom used, photographic lines technique at Disney, used

to reduce the size of animation when needed). At first it resulted in a more sketchy look, but the technique

was improved upon over time.

The xerographic method was first tested by Disney in a few scenes of Sleeping Beauty, and was first fully

used in the short film Goliath II, while the first feature entirely using this process wasOne Hundred and

One Dalmatians (1961). The graphic style of this film was strongly influenced by the process. Some hand

inking was still used together with xerography in this and subsequent films when distinct colored lines

were needed. Later, colored toners became available, and several distinct line colors could be used, even

simultaneously. For instance, in The Rescuers the characters outlines are gray. White and blue toners

were used for special effects, such as snow and water.

The APT process
Invented by Dave Spencer for the 1985 Disney film The Black Cauldron, the APT (Animation Photo

Transfer) process was a technique for transferring the animators’ art onto cels. Basically, the process was

a modification of a repro-photographic process; the artists’ work were photographed on high-contrast

“litho” film, and the image on the resulting negative was then transferred to a celcovered with a layer of

light sensitive dye. The cel was exposed through the negative. Chemicals were then used to remove the

unexposed portion. Small and delicate details were still inked by hand if needed. Spencer received

an Academy Award for Technical Achievement for developing this process.


Cel overlay
A cel overlay is a cel with inanimate objects used to give the impression of a foreground when laid on top

of a ready frame. This creates the illusion of depth, but not as much as a multiplane camera would. A

special version of cel overlay is called line overlay, made to complete the background instead of making

the foreground, and was invented to deal with the sketchy appearance of xeroxed drawings. The

background was first painted as shapes and figures in flat colors, containing rather few details. Next, a cel

with detailed black lines was laid directly over it, each line drawn to add more information to the

underlying shape or figure and give the background the complexity it needed. In this way, the visual style

of the background will match that of the xeroxed character cels. As the xerographic process evolved, line

overlay was left behind.

Computers and traditional animation
The methods mentioned above describe the techniques of an animation process that originally depended

on cels in its final stages, but painted cels are rare today as the computer moves into the animation

studio, and the outline drawings are usually scanned into the computer and filled with digital paint instead

of being transferred to cels and then colored by hand. The drawings are composited in a computer

program on many transparent “layers” much the same way as they are with cels, and made into a

sequence of images which may then be transferred onto film or converted to a digital video format.

It is now also possible for animators to draw directly into a computer using a graphics tablet, Cintiq or a

similar device, where the outline drawings are done in a similar manner as they would be on paper.

The Goofy short How To Hook Up Your Home Theater (2007) represented Disney’s first project based on

the paperless technology available today. Some of the advantages are the possibility and potential of

controlling the size of the drawings while working on them, drawing directly on a multiplane background

and eliminating the need of photographing line tests and scanning.

Though traditional animation is now commonly done with computers, it is important to differentiate

computer-assisted traditional animation from 3D computer animation, such as Toy Story and Ice

Age. However, often traditional animation and 3D computer animation will be used together, as in Don

Bluth’s Titan A.E. and Disney’s Tarzan and Treasure Planet. Most anime still use traditional animation

today. DreamWorks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg coined the term “tradigital animation” to describe films

produced by his studio which incorporated elements of traditional and computer animation equally, such

as Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.

Interestingly, many modern video games such as Viewtiful Joe, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind

Waker and others use “cel-shading” animation filters or lighting systems to make their full 3D animation

appear as though it were drawn in a traditional cel style. This technique was also used in the animated

movie Appleseed, and cel-shaded 3D animation is typically integrated with cel animation in Disney films

and in many television shows, such as the Fox animated series Futurama.

Rotoscoping is a method of traditional animation invented by Max Fleischer in 1915, in which animation is

“traced” over actual film footage of actors and scenery. Traditionally, the live action will be printed out

frame by frame and registered. Another piece of paper is then placed over the live action printouts and

the action is traced frame by frame using a lightbox. The end result still looks hand drawn but the motion

will be remarkably lifelike. Waking Life is a full-length, rotoscoped animated movie, as is American


Pop by Ralph Bakshi. The popular music video for A-ha’s song “Take On Me” also featured rotoscoped

animation, along with live action, in addition, Kanye West’s music video for his song Heartless, in homage

to American Pop is fully rotoscoped. In most cases, rotoscoping is mainly used to aid the animation of

realistically rendered human beings, as in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, and Sleeping


A method related to conventional rotoscoping was later invented for the animation of solid inanimate

objects, such as cars, boats, or doors. A small live action model of the required object was built and

painted white, while the edges of the model were painted with thin black lines. The object was then filmed

as required for the animated scene by moving the model, the camera, or a combination of both, in real

time or using stop-motion animation. The film frames were then printed on paper, showing a model made

up of the painted black lines. After the artists had added details to the object not present in the live-action

photography of the model, it was xeroxed onto cels. A notable example is Cruella de Vil’s car in

Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians. The process of transferring 3D objects to cels was greatly

improved in the 1980s when computer graphics advanced enough to allow the creation of 3D computer

generated objects that could be manipulated in any way the animators wanted, and then printed as

outlines on paper before being copied onto cels using Xerography or the APT process. This technique

was used in Disney films such as Oliver and Company (1988) and The Little Mermaid (1989). This

process has more or less been superseded by the use of cel-shading.

Related to rotoscoping are the methods of vectorizing live-action footage, in order to achieve a very
graphical look, like in Richard Linklater’s film A Scanner Darkly.
Live-action hybrids
Similar to the computer animation and traditional animation hybrids described above, occasionally a

production will combine both live-action and animated footage. The live-action parts of these productions

are usually filmed first, the actors pretending that they are interacting with the animated characters, props,

or scenery; animation will then be added into the footage later to make it appear as if it has always been

there. Like rotoscoping, this method is rarely used, but when it is, it can be done to terrific effect,

immersing the audience in a fantasy world where humans and cartoons co-exist. Early examples include

the silent Out of the Inkwell (begun in 1919) cartoons by Max Fleischer and Walt Disney’s Alice

Comedies (begun in 1923). Live-action and animation were later combined to successful effect in features

such as The Three Caballeros (1944), Anchors Aweigh (1945), Song of the South (1946), Mary

Poppins (1964), Bedknobs
Broomsticks(1971), Heavy
Traffic (1973), Coonskin (1975) Pete’s
Dragon (1977), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Rock-a-Doodle (1992), Cool World (1992), The

Pagemaster (1994) Space Jam (1996), andLooney Tunes: Back In Action (2003). Other significant live-

action hybrids include the music video for Paula Abdul’s hit song “Opposites Attract” and numerous

television commercials, especially for breakfast cereals marketed to children. This technique was also

recently used for the Geico commercial starring Foghorn Leghorn.

Special effects animation
Besides traditional animated characters, objects and backgrounds, many other techniques are used to

create special elements such as smoke, lightning and “magic”, and to give the animation in general a

distinct visual appearance.

Notable examples can be found in movies such as Fantasia, Wizards, The Lord of the Rings, The Little

Mermaid, The Secret of NIMH and The Thief and the Cobbler. Today the special effectsare mostly done


with computers, but earlier they had to be done by hand. To produce these effects, the animators used

different techniques, such as drybrush, airbrush, charcoal, grease pencil, backlit animation or, during

shooting, the cameraman used multiple exposures with diffusing screens, filters or gels. For instance,

the Nutcracker Suite segment in Fantasia has a fairy sequence where stippled cels are used, creating a

soft pastel look.

Computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of computer graphics to create or contribute to

images in art, printed media, video games,films, television programs, commercials, simulators and

simulation generally. The visual scenes may be dynamic or static, and may be 2D or 3D, though the term

“CGI” is most commonly used to refer to 3D computer graphics used for creating scenes or special

effects in films and television.

The term computer animation refers to dynamic CGI rendered as a movie. The term virtual world refers to
agent-based, interactive environments.
Computer graphics software is used to make computer-generated imagery for movies, etc. Recent

availability of CGI software and increased computer speeds have allowed individual artists and small

companies to produce professional-grade films, games, and fine art from their home computers. This has

brought about an internet subculture with its own set of global celebrities, clichés, and technical


Static images and landscapes
Not only do animated images form part of computer-generated imagery, natural looking landscapes,

such as fractal landscapes are also generated via computer algorithms. A simple way to generate

fractal surfaces is to use an extension of the triangular mesh method, relying on the construction of

some special case of a de Rham curve, e.g. midpoint displacement. For instance, the algorithm may

start with a large triangle, then recursively zoom in by dividing it into 4 smaller Sierpinski triangles,

then interpolate the height of each point from its nearest neighbors. The creation of a Brownian

surface may be achieved not only by adding noise as new nodes are created, but by adding

additional noise at multiple levels of the mesh. Thus a topographical map with varying levels of height

can be created using relatively straightforward fractal algorithms. Some typical, and easy to program

fractals used in CGI are the plasma fractal and the more dramatic fault fractal.

A large number of specific techniques have been researched and developed to produce highly

focused computer-generated effects, e.g. the use of specific models to represent the chemical

weathering of stones to model erosion and produce an “aged appearance” for a given stone-based



Architectural scenes
Modern architects use services from computer graphic firms to create 3-dimensional models for both

customers and builders. These computer generated models can be more accurate than traditional

drawings. Architectural animation (which provides animated movies of buildings, rather than interactive

images) can also be used to see the possible relationship a building will have in relation to the

environment and its surrounding buildings. The rendering of architectural spaces without the use of paper

and pencil tools is now a widely accepted practice with a number of computer-assisted architectural

design systems.

Architectural modelling tools allow an architect to visualize a space and perform “walk-throughs” in an

interactive manner, thus providing “interactive environments” both at the urban and building

levels. Specific applications in architecture not only include the specification of building structures such as

walls and windows, and walk-throughs, but the effects of light and how sunlight will affect a specific

design at different times of the day.

Architectural modelling tools have now become increasingly internet-based. However, the quality of

internet-based systems still lags those of sophisticated inhouse modelling systems.

In some applications, computer-generated images are used to “reverse engineer” historical buildings. For

instance, a computer-generated reconstruction of the monastery at Georgenthal in Germany was derived

from the ruins of the monastery, yet provides the viewer with a “look and feel” of what the building would

have looked like in its day

Anatomical models
Computer generated models used in skeletal animation are not always anatomically correct, however,

organizations such as the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute have developed anatomically

correct computer-based models. Computer generated anatomical models can be used both for

instructional and operational purposes. To date, a large body of artist produced medical images continue

to be used by medical students, such as images by Frank Netter, e.g.Cardiac images. However, a

number of online anatomical models are becoming available.

A single patient X-ray is not a computer generated image, even in the case of digitized x-rays. However,

in applications which involve CT scans a three dimensional model is automatically produced from a large

number of single slice x-rays, producing “computer generated image”. Applications involvingmagnetic

resonance imaging also bring together a number of “snapshots” (in this case via magnetic pulses) to

produce a composite, internal image.

In modern medical applications, patient specific models are constructed in “computer assisted surgery”.

For instance, in total knee replacement, the construction of a detailed patient specific model can be used

to carefully plan the surgery. These three dimensional models are usually extracted from multiple CT

scans of the appropriate parts of the patient’s own anatomy. Such models can also be used for

planning aortic valve implantations, one of the common procedures for treating heart disease. Given that

the shape, diameter and position of the coronary openings can vary greatly from patient to patient, the

extraction (from CT scans) of a model that closely resembles a patient’s valve anatomy can be highly

beneficial in planning the procedure


Generating cloth and skin images
Models of cloth generally fall into three groups: the geometric-mechanical structure at yarn crossings,

secondly the mechanics of continuous elastic sheets and thirdly the geometric macroscopic features of

cloth. To date, making the clothing of a digital character automatically fold in a natural way remains a

challenge for many animators.

In addition to their use in film, advertising and other modes of public display, computer generated images

of clothing are now routinely used by top fashion design firms.

The challenge in rendering human skin images involves three levels of realism: photo realism in

resembling real skin at the static level; physical realism in resembling its movements and functional

realism in resembling its response to actions.

Interactive simulation and visualization
Interactive visualization is a general term that applies to the rendering of data that may vary

dynamically and allowing a user to view the data from multiple perspectives. The applications areas

may vary significantly, ranging from the visualization of the flow patterns in fluid dynamics to

specific computer aided design applications. The data rendered may correspond to specific visual

scenes that change as the user interacts with the system, e.g. simulators such as flight

simulators make extensive use of CGI techniques for representing the world.

At the abstract level an interactive visualization process involves a ‘data pipeline in which the raw

data is managed and filtered to a form that makes it suitable for rendering. This is often called the

“visualization data”. The visualization data is then mapped to a “visualization representation” that can

be fed to a rendering system. This is usually called a “renderable representation”. This representation

is then rendered as a displayable image. As the user interacts with the system, e.g. by using joystick

controls to change their position within the virtual world, the raw data is fed through the pipeline to

create a new rendered image, often making real-time computational efficiency a key consideration in

such applications.

Computer animation
While computer generated images of landscapes may be static, the term computer animation only applies

to dynamic images that resemble a movie. However, in general the term computer animation refers to

dynamic images that do not allow user interaction, and the term virtual world is used for the interactive

animated environments.

Computer animation is essentially a digital successor to the art of stop motion animation of 3D models

and frame-by-frame animation of 2D illustrations. Computer generated animations are more controllable

than other more physically based processes, such as constructing miniatures for effects shots or

hiring extras for crowd scenes, and because it allows the creation of images that would not be feasible

using any other technology. It can also allow a single graphic artist to produce such content without the

use of actors, expensive set pieces, or props.


To create the illusion of movement, an image is displayed on the computer screen and repeatedly

replaced by a new image that is similar to the previous image, but advanced slightly in the time domain

(usually at a rate of 24 or 30 frames/second). This technique is identical to how the illusion of movement

is achieved with television and motion pictures.

Stop motion
Stop motion (also known as stop frame) is an animation technique to make a physically

manipulated object appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between

individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is

played as a continuous sequence. Dolls with movable joints or clay figures are often used in stop

motion for their ease of repositioning. Stop motion animation using plasticine is called clay

animation or “clay mation”. Not all stop motion requires figures or models; many stop motion films can

involve using humans, household appliances and other things for comedic effect.

The term “stop motion”, related to the animation technique, is often spelled with a hyphen, “stop-motion”.

Both orthographical variants, with and without the hyphen, are correct, but the hyphenated one has, in

addition, a second meaning, not related to animation or cinema: “a device for automatically stopping a

machine or engine when something has gone wrong” (The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1993


Stop motion is often confused with the time lapse technique, where still photographs of a live surrounding

are taken at regular intervals and combined into a continuous film.

Stop motion animation has a long history in film. It was often used to show objects moving as if by magic.

The first instance of the stop motion technique can be credited to Albert E. Smith and J. Stuart

Blackton for The Humpty Dumpty Circus (1897), in which a toy circus of acrobats and animals comes to

life. In 1902, the film Fun in a Bakery Shop used the stop trick technique in the “lightning sculpting”

sequence. French trick film maestro Georges Méliès used true stop motion to produce moving title-card

letters for one of his short films, but never exploited the process for any of his other films[dubious discuss]. The

Haunted Hotel (1907) is another stop motion film by J. Stuart Blackton, and was a resounding success

when released. Segundo de Chomón (1871–1929), from Spain, released El Hotel Eléctrico later that

same year, and used similar techniques as the Blackton film. In 1908, A Sculptor’s Welsh Rarebit

Nightmare was released, as was The Sculptor’s Nightmare, a film by Billy Bitzer. Italian animator Roméo

Bossetti impressed audiences with his object animation tour-de-force, The Automatic Moving Company in

1912. The great European stop motion pioneer was Wladyslaw Starewicz (1892–1965), who

animated The Beautiful Lukanida (1910), The Battle of the Stag Beetles (1910), The Ant and the

Grasshopper (1911).

One of the earliest clay animation films was Modelling Extraordinary, which dazzled audiences in 1912.

December 1916 brought the first of Willie Hopkins’ 54 episodes of “Miracles in Mud” to the big screen.

Also in December 1916, the first woman animator, Helena Smith Dayton, began experimenting with clay

stop motion. She would release her first film in 1917, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and



In the turn of the century, there was another well known animator known as Willis O’ Brien (known by

others as O’bie). His work on The Lost World(1925) is well known, but he is most admired for his work

on King Kong (1933), a milestone of his films made possible by stop motion animation.

O’Brien’s protege and eventual successor in Hollywood was Ray Harryhausen. After learning under

O’Brien on the film Mighty Joe Young (1949), Harryhausen would go on to create the effects for a string of

successful and memorable films over the next three decades. These included It Came From Beneath The

Sea (1955), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad(1974) and Clash Of The

Titans (1981).

In a 1940 promotional film, Autolite, an automotive parts supplier, featured stop motion animation of its

products marching past Autolite factories to the tune of Franz Schubert’s Military March. An abbreviated

version of this sequence was later used in television ads for Autolite, especially those on the 1950s CBS

program Suspense, which Autolite sponsored.

1960s and 1970s
In the 1960s and 1970s, independent clay animator Eliot Noyes Jr. refined the technique of “free-form”

clay animation with his Oscar-nominated 1965 film Clay (or the Origin of Species). Noyes also used stop

motion to animate sand laying on glass for his musical animated film Sandman (1975).

In 1975, filmmaker and clay animation experimenter, Will Vinton, joined with sculptor Bob Gardiner to

create an experimental film called “Closed Mondays” which became the world’s first stop motion film to

win an Oscar. Will Vinton followed with several other successful short film experiments including “The

Great Cognito”, “Creation”, and “Rip Van Winkle” which were each nominated for Academy Awards. In

1977, Vinton made a documentary about this producess and his style of animation which he dubbed

“claymation” and he title the documentary “Claymation”. Soon after this documentary, the term was

trademarked by Vinton to differentiate his team’s work from others who had been, or were beginning to

do, “clay animation”. While the word has stuck and is often used to describe clay animation and stop

motion, it remains a trademark owned currently by Laika Entertainment, Inc.

Sand-coated puppet animation was used in the Oscar-winning 1977 film The Sand Castle, produced by

Dutch-Canadian animator Co Hoedeman. Hoedeman was one of dozens of animators sheltered by

the National Film Board of Canada, a Canadian government film arts agency that had supported

animators for decades. A pioneer of refined multiple stop motion films under the NFB banner was Norman

McLaren, who brought in many other animators to create their own creatively controlled films. Notable

among these are the pinscreen animation films of Jacques Drouin, made with the original pinscreen

donated by Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker.

Italian stop motion films include Quaq Quao (1978), by Francesco Misseri, which was stop motion

with origami, The Red and the Blue and the clay animation kittens Mio and Mao. Other European

productions included a stop motion-animated series of Tove Jansson’s The Moomins (from 1979, often

referred to as “The Fuzzy Felt Moomins”), produced by Film Polski and Jupiter Films.

One of the main British Animation teams, John Hardwick and Bob Bura, were the main animators in many
early British TV shows, and are famous for their work on the Trumptonshire trilogy.
Disney experimented with several stop motion techniques by hiring independent animator-director Mike

Jittlov to do the first stop motion animation of Mickey Mouse toys ever produced for a short sequence


called Mouse Mania, part of a TV special commemorating Mickey Mouse’s 50th Anniversary

called Mickey’s 50th in 1978. Jittlov again produced some impressive multi-technique stop motion

animation a year later for a 1979 Disney special promoting their release of the feature film The Black

Hole. Titled Major Effects, Jittlov’s work stood out as the best part of the special. Jittlov released his

footage the following year to 16mm film collectors as a short film titled The Wizard of Speed and Time,

along with four of his other short multi-technique animated films, most of which eventually evolved into his

own feature-length film of the same title. Effectively demonstrating almost all animation techniques, as

well as how he produced them, the film was released to theaters in 1987 and to video in 1989.

1980s to present
In the 1970s and 1980s, Industrial Light & Magic often used stop motion model animation for films such

as the original Star Wars trilogy: the chess sequence in Star Wars, the Tauntauns and AT-AT walkers

in The Empire Strikes Back, and the AT-ST walkers in Return of the Jedi were all stop motion animation,

some of it using the Go films. The many shots including the ghosts inRaiders of the Lost Ark and the first

two feature films in the RoboCop series use Phil Tippett’s go motion version of stop motion.

In 1980, Marc Paul Chinoy directed the 1st feature-length clay animated film; a film based on the

famous Pogo comic strip. Titled I go Pogo, it was aired a few times on American cable channels, but has

yet to be commercially released. Primarily clay, some characters required armatures, and walk cycles

used pre-sculpted hard bases legs.

Stop motion was also used for some shots of the final sequence of Terminator movie, also for the scenes

of the small alien ships in Spielberg’s Batteries Not Included in 1987, animated by David W. Allen. Allen’s

stop motion work can also be seen in such feature films as The Crater Lake Monster (1977), Q – The

Winged Serpent (1982), The Gate (1986) and Freaked (1993). Allen’s King Kong Volkswagen commercial

from the 1970s is now legendary among model animation enthusiasts.

In 1985, Will Vinton and his team released an ambitious feature film in stop motion called “The

Adventures Of Mark Twain” based on the life and works of the famous American author. While the film

may have been a little sophisticated for young audiences at the time, it got rave reviews from critics and

adults in general Vinton’s team also created the Nomes and the Nome King for Disney’s “Return to Oz”

feature, for which they received an Academy Award Nomination for Special Visual Effects. In the 80’s and

early 90’s, Will Vinton became very well known for his commercial work as well with stop motion

campaigns including The California Raisins.

Of note are the films of Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer, which mix stop motion and live actors. These

include Alice, an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, andFaust, a rendition

of the legend of the German scholar. The Czech school is also illustrated by the series Pat & Mat (1979–

2004). Created by Lubomír Beneš and Vladimír Jiránek, and it was wildly popular in a number of


Since the general animation renaissance headlined by the likes of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The

Little Mermaid at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, there have been an increasing

number of traditional stop motion feature films, despite advancements with computer animation. The

Nightmare Before Christmas, directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burtonwas one of the more


widely-released stop motion features. Henry Selick also went on to direct James and the Giant

Peach and Coraline, and Tim Burton went on to direct Corpse Bride.

Toward the end of the 90’s, Will Vinton launched the first prime-time stop motion television series

called The PJs, with creator Eddie Murphy. The Emmy winning show aired on Fox then UPN for 3


Another individual who found fame in clay animation is Nick Park, who created the characters Wallace

and Gromit. In addition to a series of award-winning shorts and featurettes, he won theAcademy Award

for Best Animated Feature for the feature-length outing Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-

Rabbit. Chicken Run, his first feature-length production, grossed over $100 million at the North American

box-office, and garnered critical praise. Other notable stop motion feature films released since 1990

include Fantastic Mr. Fox and $9.99, both released in 2009, andThe Secret Adventures of Tom

Thumb (1993).

Variations of stop motion
Stereoscopic stop motion
Stop motion has very rarely been shot in stereoscopic 3D throughout film history. The first 3D stop motion

short was In Tune With Tomorrow (also known as Motor Rhythm) in 1939 by John Norling. The second

stereoscopic stop motion release was The Adventures of Sam Space in 1955 by Paul Sprunck. The third

and latest stop motion short in stereo 3D was The Incredible Invasion of the 20,000 Giant Robots from

Outer Space in 2000 by Elmer Kaan and Alexander Lentjes. This is also the first ever 3D stereoscopic

stop motion and CGI short in the history of film. The first all stop motion 3D feature is Coraline (2009),

based on Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel and directed by Henry Selick. Another recent example is

the Nintendo 3DS video software which comes with the option for Stop Motion videos. This has been

released December 8, 2011 as a 3DS system update.

Go motion
Another more-complicated variation on stop motion is go motion, co-developed by Phil Tippett and first

used on the films The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Dragonslayer (1981), and the RoboCopfilms. Go

motion involved programming a computer to move parts of a model slightly during each exposure of each

frame of film, combined with traditional hand manipulation of the model in between frames, to produce a

more realistic motion blurring effect. Tippett also used the process extensively in his 1984 short

film Prehistoric Beast, a 10 minutes long sequence depicting a herbivorous dinosaur (Monoclonius), being

chased by a carnivorous one (Tyrannosaurus). With new footage Prehistoric Beast became Dinosaur! in

1985, a full length dinosaurs documentary hosted by Christopher Reeve. Those Phil Tippett’s go motion

tests acted as motion models for his first photo-realistic use of computers to depict dinosaurs in Jurassic

Park in 1993. A lo-tech, manual version of this blurring technique was originally pioneered by Wladyslaw

Starewicz in the silent era, and was used in his feature film The Tale of the Fox (1931). The 2009

film Fantastic Mr. Fox was also entirely filmed in stop motion.


Comparison to CGI
Its low entry price, and still unique “look” and “feel” on film means stop motion is still used on some

projects such as in children’s programming, as well as in commercials and comic shows such as Robot

Chicken. The argument that the textures achieved with CGI cannot match the way real textures are

captured by stop motion also makes it valuable for a handful of movie makers, notably Tim Burton, whose

puppet-animated film Corpse Bride was released in 2005.

Stop motion in television and movies
Dominating children’s TV stop motion programming for three decades in America was Art

Clokey’s Gumby series—which spawned a feature film, Gumby I in 1995—using both freeform and

character clay animation. Clokey started his adventures in clay with a 1953 freeform clay short film

called Gumbasia (1953) which shortly thereafter propelled him into his more structured Gumby TV series.

Rankin/Bass is a very famous stop motion company. Since the 1960s it has been making many stop

motion Christmas specials such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Year Without a Santa

Claus, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and many others.

In November 1959 the first episode of Sandmännchen was shown on East German television, a children’s

show that had Cold War propaganda as its primary function. New episodes are still being produced in

Germany, making it one of the longest running animated series in the world. However, the show’s

purpose today has changed to pure entertainment.

In the 1960s, the French animator Serge Danot created the well-known The Magic Roundabout (1965)

which played for many years on the BBC. Another French/Polish stop motion animated series

was Colargol (Barnaby the Bear in the UK, Jeremy in Canada), by Olga Pouchine and Tadeusz Wilkosz.

A British TV-series Clangers (1969) became popular on television. The British artists Brian Cosgrove and

Mark Hall (Cosgrove Hall Films) produced a full length film The Wind in the Willows (1983) and later a

multi-season TV series The Wind in the Willows based on Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s book of

the same title. They also produced a documentary of their production techniques, Making Frog and Toad.

Another example is Pingu, a children’s television program about a penguin who lives with his family in
an igloo.
In the 1990s Trey Parker and Matt Stone made two original shorts and the pilot of South Park almost
entirely out of construction paper.
The animated series Robot Chicken continues to primarily utilize stop motion animation, using custom

made action figures and other toys as principal characters. Other action figures, calledStikfas, are very

popular stop motion figures and are not extremely expensive. Moral Orel is another stop motion based

show, along with Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole, both created by Dino Stamatopoulos.


Stop motion in other media
A craze on the internet is animating with clay figures on public video sites. They are often simple,

bordering on “freeform”, but effective. Some barely have a face, but the comedic or violence proportions

exceeding those of conventional clay puppets, with grisly crime scenes riddled by clay gunfire and

hapless victims falling in a sniper’s cross hairs. The comedy helps the viewer enjoy the animation without

noticing the simpleness of the clay puppet. Many younger people begin their experiments in movie

making with stop motion, thanks to the ease of modern stop motion software and online video

publishing. Many new stop motion shorts use clay animation into a new form.

Also, singer-songwriter Oren Lavie’s music video for the song Her Morning Elegance was posted on

YouTube on January 19, 2009. The video, directed by Lavie and Yuval and Merav Nathan, uses stop

motion and has achieved great success with over 15 million views, also earning a 2010 Grammy Award

nomination for “Best Short Form Music Video”.

Stop motion has occasionally been used to create the characters for computer games, as an alternative

to CGI. the Virgin Interactive Entertainment Mythos game Magic and Mayhem (1998) featured creatures

built by stop motion specialist Alan Friswell, who made the miniature figures from modelling clay and latex

rubber, over armatures of wire and ball-and-socket joints. The models were then animated one frame at a

time, and incorporated into the CGI elements of the game through digital photography. “ClayFighter” for

the Super Nintendo and The Neverhood for the PC are other examples.

Famous names of the past Animators


Tex Avery


Ub Iwerks
Ralph Bakshi

Joseph Barbera



Mel Blanc

Jules Engel

Grim Natwick

Lotte Reiniger

Émile Reynaud

Osamu Tezuka

Frank Thomas

Bill Tytla

Richard Williams

Frederico Valle

Karel Zeman

Milt Kahl

Ollie Johnston

Chuck Jones


Walt Disney

Max Fleischer

Friz Freleng



Paul Grimault

Zlatko Grgić

William Hanna



Yoshifumi Kondô



Rene Laloux

Walter Lantz

Len Lye

Don Bluth
Ivo Caprino

Bob Clampett

Émile Courtet

Quirino Cristiani



John Hubley

Winsor McCay
Arthur Babbit
Famous names of the present day Animators

Brad Bird


Terry Gilliam


Wayne Lytle








Koji Morimoto

Yuri Norstein



Michel Ocelot

Nick Park

Trey Parker

Jonti Picking

Priit Pärn

Bill Plympton

Oliver Postgate

Matt Stone

Konstantin Bronzit

Sylvain Chomet

Louis K Wang

Peter Chung

David Crognale

Gene Deitch

Andreas Deja

Jean Knoertzer

Michaël Dudok De


Matt Groening

Pierre Hébert

Don Hertzfeldt

Maddisson Hulme

Andreas Hydake

Mike Judge

Jan Svankmajer

Isao Takahata

Bruce Timm

Will Vinton

Dušan Vukotić

Wan brothers


Glen Keane
John Kricfalusi

John Lasseter

Caroline Leaf

Guionne Leroy


Koji Yamamura

Brothers Quay

Joanna Quinn

Jules Engel

Paul Fierlinger

Styles of animation

Traditional animation (hand-drawn)


Computer animation (CGI)

Cutout animation

Analog computer animation

Motion capture

Stop-motion animation







Puppet animation

Cutout animation

2D Digital Limited animation

Pinscreen animation

Drawn on film animation

Animation studios
Animation studios of the past

Bray Productions

DePatie-Freleng Enterprises


Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios

Grantray-Lawrence Animation


Hanna-Barbera Productions (now Cartoon Network Studios)

Harman-Ising Productions

Leon Schesinger Productions/Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. (a/k/a “Termite Terrace”, now known

as Warner Brothers Animation)




United Productions of America (UPA)

Van Beuren Studios

Walter Lantz Studio
Animation studios of the present era

Klasky Csupo Inc.


Mainframe Entertainment

Marathon Studios

National Film Board of








Sony Pictures Animation

Studio 4°C

Studio Ghibli

Sumo Dojo


Walt Disney Feature


Williams Street Studios

Zagreb Film

Aardman Animation

Animax Entertainment


DiC Entertainment

DreamWorks Animation

DPS Film Roman




Rhythm and Hues Studios

Rough Draft Studios

List of Animation Books
There is no substitute for knowledge. Don’t be a dumb artist when there is so much information that is

available to make you a knowledgeable artist. My advice is to buy a few Animation Books to refer to and

use as you start your journey of understanding “The Fascinating World Of Animation.”


LEMAY, BRIAN Lightfoot Ltd




SHAMUS, CULHANE 0-315-02162-3


HAHN, DON 0-7868-3072-7


MANVELL, ROGER 0-904208-88-6


ADAMSON, JOE 0-8050-1190-0


BLAIR, PRESTON 1-56010-084-2


GRAY, MILTON 0-9628444-5-4



HAMM, JACK 0-399-50803-1


JONES, CHUCK 0-374-12348-9


LEMAY, BRIAN Lightfoot Ltd


HAHN, DON 0-7868-3072-7


THOMAS, FRANK 0-89659-233-3


THOMAS, BOB 1-56282-899-1


BLITZ/MARCIA 0-517-52961-0


HOGARTH BURNE 0-8230-1367-7


HAMM, JACK 0-399-50791-4


HOGARTH, BURNE 0-8230-1375-8


HOGARTH, BURNE 0-8230-1550-5


HOGARTH, BURNE 0-8230-1575-0


HOGARTH, BURNE 0-8230-1580-7




LEVITAN, ELI 0-442-26115-2


HAMM, JACK 0-399-50802-3


LEE, STAN 0-671-22548-0


BECK, JERRY 0-8050-1644-9


MALTIN, LEONARD 0-07-039835-6


LEMAY, BRIAN Lightfoot Ltd


HAYWARD, STAN 0-240-50967-6


TAYLOR, JOHN 0-345-35407-9



BRION, PATRICK 2851083716







BRION, PATRICK 2.09.240008-8



SCHNEIDER, STEVE 0-8050-0889-6




BLANC, MEL 0-446-51244-3

LAYBOURNE, KIT 0-517-52946-7


WHITE, TONY 0-8230-0229-2


HULTGREN, KEN 0-486-27426-8


FINCH, CHRISTOPHER 0-8109-0122-6


SINYARD, NIEL 0-88665-4661


HOLLISS, RICHARD 0-7064-3040-9


LENBURG, JEFF 0-306-80919-4


TAYLOR, RICHARD 1-56138-531-X




SOLOMON, CHARLES 0-517-11859-9


THOMAS, FRANK 0-7868-6070-7


THOMAS, FRANK 0-89659-747-4


ART ABRAMS, ROBERT 0-89660-031-9


ART CANEMAKER, JOHN 0-89659-581-1


KINNEY, JACK 0-517-57057-2


VILPPU, GLENN Lightfoot Ltd.




CULHANE, JOHN 0-8109-0822-0








Make Your Own Animated

Movies and Videotapes





Preston Blair


How to Animate Film Cartoons Preston Blair


Masters of Animation

The Contemporary Animator

The Animation Book

John Halas

John Halas





Kit Laybourne Crown



Animals in Motion


The Human Figure in Motion

Animation Techniques

Experimental Animation





Roger Noake


Robert Russett De Capo

& Cecile Starr Press

The Encyclopedia of Animation Richard Taylor Running
The Animator’s Workbook
Tony White


The Illusion of Life
Frank Thomas Hyperion

& Ollie Johnston

Hopefully these tips will help you understand more about the process of animation and spark your interest

in the field of ‘The Fine Art of Animation’.



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