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AnimexampleAnimation is the optical illusion of motion created by the consecutive display of images of static elements. In film and video production, this refers to techniques by which each frame of a film or movie is produced individually. These frames may be generated by computers, or by photographing a drawn or painted image, or by repeatedly making small changes to a model unit (see claymation and stop motion), and then photographing the result with a special animation camera. When the frames are strung together and the resulting film is viewed, there is an illusion of continuous movement due to the phenomenon known as persistence of vision. Generating such a film tends to be very labour intensive and tedious, though the development of computer animation has greatly sped up the process.

Graphics file formats like GIF, MNG, SVG and Flash (SWF) allow animation to be viewed on a computer or over the Internet.


A phenakistoscope disc by Eadweard Muybridge (1893)
A phenakistoscope disc by Eadweard Muybridge (1893)

The major use of animation has always been for entertainment. However, there is growing use of instructional animation and educational animation to support explanation and learning. Animation is also celebrated as an artform (sometimes it receives government funding; this was especially common in Eastern Europe in the Communist era), and is showcased in many film festivals worldwide.

The “classic” form of animation, the “animated cartoon”, as developed in the early 1900s and refined by Ub Iwerks, Walt Disney and others, requires up to 24 distinct drawings for one second of animation.

Because animation is very time-consuming and often very expensive to produce, the majority of animation for TV and movies comes from professional animation studios. However, the field of independent animation has existed at least since the 1910s (ex. the pioneering stop-motion animator Ladislas Starevich in the Russian Empire), with animation being produced by independent studios (and sometimes by a single person). Several independent animation producers have gone on to enter the professional animation industry. Bill Plympton is one of the most well-known independent animators today. Today, with the rise of inexpensive animation programs like Macromedia Flash and free distribution channels such as Newgrounds, being an independent animator and getting your work seen by (potentially) millions of people is much easier than it used to be.

Limited animation is a way of increasing production and decreasing costs of animation by using “short cuts” in the animation process. This method was pioneered by UPA and popularized by Hanna-Barbera, and adapted by other studios as cartoons moved from movie theaters to television.

Animation studios

Animation Studios, like Movie studios, may be production facilities or financial entities. In some cases, especially in Anime they have things in common with artists studios where a Master or group of talented individuals oversee the work of lesser artists and crafts persons in realizing their vision.

Further reading

  • Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, Disney animation: The Illusion Of Life, Abbeville 1981
  • Walters Faber, Helen Walters, Algrant (Ed.), Animation Unlimited: Innovative Short Films Since 1940, HarperCollins Publishers 2004
  • Trish Ledoux, Doug Ranney, Fred Patten (Ed.), Complete Anime Guide: Japanese Animation Film Directory and Resource Guide, Tiger Mountain Press 1997

Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses materials from the Wikipedia.

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