Introduction: Inthis assignment, I will be discussing the development of animation. I will dothis by explaining how technological advancements throughout history have pavedthe way for new techniques to be founded that have shaped the way that we seeanimation to this day. The hypothesis I will be delving into is the idea thattechnology can enhance how creative a piece of work can be, but creativity mustalways come first for it to be successful.Techniques:Traditional2-D:Traditional 2-D animation was first used at the start of 20th century and isstill used to this day. Although the technology has been built upon to increaserealism or speed up production times, the concept is the same. The concept beingthat each frame should be drawn by hand, with each frame differing a tinyamount to give the illusion of a moving image. This concept is sometimesreferred to as persistence of vision, which was first popularised by the ‘zoetrope’made by William Horner.
Techniques like rotoscoping and cel animationallowed traditional 2D animation to advance in terms of accuracy and realism.FlickBook:Flick book animation is very simple, and can be used by almost everyone. Thisis one of the oldest animation method since the technology it requires is non-existent.This method is very time consuming, as creators must redraw a frame severaltimes, sometimes over 100 or a 1000 per creation. It also requires a hugeamount of skill for it to look professional. Also, it is very difficult forflick book animations to be mass produced due to the fact each page would haveto be photocopied hundreds of times, consuming both time and money. Furthermore,the field is very limited as elements like sound can’t be introduced, limitingits realism.
CelAnimation: Cel animation is a type of animation that consists of a’cel’ which is short for celluloid on which objects are drawn on fortraditional animation. The process for cel animation is each drawing is inkedand coloured onto cels, which are photographed and sequenced on top of apainted background. This technique means that the animation remains constant,something that was previously impossible as backgrounds had to be redrawn witheach new frame, causing the background to partially change as the animationprogressed.Rotoscoping:Rotoscoping is a technique in animation which allows for greater continuitybetween frames when realism is required. Rotoscoping is a technique whereanimators trace over motion picture footage frame by frame. This allows forrealistic interpretations of things like explosions and facial movement. Thismade animation much easier to do, and less time consuming.
Consequentially,animation became much more popular since you didn’t have to be so talented tomake a realistic looking animation. This led to rushed and uncreativeproductions, examples of which will be explored further in the section, historyof 2D animation.Drawnon film: This is when footage is produced directly onto film. Thisbypasses cel animation completely, as instead animators would use either blank(undeveloped) or black (developed) film and lay the film reel across a worksurface with it fixed in place.
The animator can then create their own image,frame by frame, onto their film. This process works with very small images, soa talented animator is required to pull it off. A great deal of precision isaccuracy is needed to make the animation look good. Often, the images willappear scribbly and wobbly, an effect often associated with drawn on filmanimation. However, there are many advantages to using this process in that itis relatively cheap and cheaper in the regard that it doesn’t require cameraarrays, expensive cels or software. The technique also forces animators to becreative and original, with no two drawn on films animations being alike.Digital techniques: Inthe last 30 years, digital techniques have advanced so much that they havetaken over the animation industry. With software like Adobe Animate, anybodycan make an animation from their own home with relative ease and showcase themto the world.
Stopmotion (Claymation): Stop motion is a simple, yet effective, formof advertising that has been popularised by production companies like Aardmananimations who have made productions including Wallace and Gromit and ChickenRun. These productions are beloved my many and prove that Claymation is alegitimate, good way of making productions. However, most production companiesfavour traditional digital techniques of animation, since it is very timeconsuming to sculpt the models required for Claymation productions. History:CavePaintings: The first evidence of narrative imagery dates back tocave paintings.
Narrative imagery,simply put, is pictures everyone can understand. Narrative imagery can also bedated back the Roman times with specific pottery being patterned with narrativeimagery. not only has narrative been said to be as far back as the cavepaintings, but also sequential narrative imagery, which is when a series ofpictures can be put together to tell a story An example of sequential narrative imagery was the Bayeux tapestry. Birth of photography: Therewere little advancements in terms of sequential imagery throughout historyuntil the birth of photography, which used technology to enhance the effect ofnarrative sequential imagery. This was because it allowed artists to producemore accurate, true to life imagery. An example of this is when, in 1878,Eardweard Muybridge discovered, using technology, that horses jumpfully in the air when they run. He did this by taking a series of sequentialphotos of the horse and examining them.
This was huge because, since then,horses have often been illustrated with all four legs in the air while running.This shows how technology enhances creativity, as it allows art to be morerealistic which in turn means an artist can increase elements of fantasy.Muybridge was advancing on the work done by William Horner, whoinvented the Zoetrope around the time 1833-34. The zoetrope isa cylinder with holes in the side and a series of sequential images inside.When spun, the cylinder gives the effect of a moving image. This effect iscalled the persistence of vision. This effect would prove to be the basis ofanimation as we see it today, and it started with the zoetrope.
Gertiethe Dinosaur (1914): The next advancement came from WinsorMcCay who created the first stop motion animation for mass audiences.Arguably, this legitimized animation for the mass audiences, showing that iswas possible. Gertie was the first character created specifically foranimation, with some arguing that it paved the way for characters like MickeyMouse, Bugs Bunny and Bambi.SteamboatWillie (1928): Disney and a company called Iwerksworked together to produce this feature in 1928. The reason this was such anadvancement was because it was the first sound synchronised animation. This washuge, and showed the potential animation had. Animation was able to synchronisesound into their productions before film.
This is another example of how theadvancements in technology have enhanced creativity. This is because theintroduction of sound into animations makes them more accurate, allowingcreators to make their productions more fantasy. Walt Disney himself explainsthis by saying “All cartoon charactersand fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasyand fable.”1In 1914-1918, there was a massiveadvance in technology founded by Max Fleischer, rotoscoping. Rotoscopingwas massive because it meant artists could essentially trace over real photosin order to make their animations.
This drastically increased realism as itallowed things like timing and anatomy to be more accurate. rotoscoping allowed animators to make muchmore realistic images. However, it was still almost impossible to make humanslook lifelike. Over the next hundred years, animators would try and animatehumans as little as possible, with animals being preferred. The reason for thiscan be summarised perfectly by the famous animator Shamus Culhane using aquote from his book, ‘Animation: from script to screen'”The big problem that one has toface is the fact that everybody in the audience is going to be an expert on howhumans move. This makes it pointless to attempt to use rotoscope or any otherdevice to imitate human action.
I believe the answer lies somewhere in workingout a mode of movement that is edited action, just the way that the animals inBambi and the dwarfs in Snow White were. An audience will accept anyconvention, any point of view, as long as it is carried out consistently”This adds onto the idea that animators can be as creative as they want, andmake whatever they want, no matter how unrealistic, as long as the animation isconsistent and the small details are respected. Rotoscoping would prove to havemany other negatives, especially during the next 50 years or so.
SnowWhite: Disney created the first celanimated, cinematic film in 1937, with Snow White and SevenDwarfs. This further legitimized the idea of feature length animation filmsbeing monetized, which is something Disney capitalized on over the next 50years allowing Disney to become the conglomerate they are today. Snow White wascritically acclaimed and made a huge profit, and Disney wanted to make moreanimated features. However, cel animation was very time consuming. Rotoscopingoffered a solution to this problem.However, there was some controversy that came with theadvancements of 2D animation. Specifically, Ralph Bakshi received a hugeamount of criticism for his work in the animation industry.
Bakshi felt thatanimation had more potential than to be just for kids, he believed there wasmore to animation. Between 1969-72, Bakshi created ‘Fritzthe cat’ which dealt with more ‘mature’ themes. This caused outrageamong some who believed it to be distasteful and not in line with whatanimation represented. However, that wasn’t the only Bakshi production that wassurrounded by controversy, his feature With Apologies Coonskin (1973-75)challenged racial stereotypes and was criticised heavily for it.The rise of rotoscoping greatly improved the quality ofanimation, and allowed animators to be more creative.
However, it also meant productionswere rushed and rotoscoping was overused. Another Bakshi production, Wizards(1977), overly used rotoscoping due to time constraints. Another one of his productions, LordOf The Rings (1978), also had the same problem and in some casesfootage of real actors were used with the solarised effect.It wasn’t also Bakshi criticised for overuse ofrotoscoping, Disney has also been seen to have recycled scenes in their movies.
In the 1960’s, Disney was huge due to their earlier work on Snow White and otherproductions. The fact Disney was so successful meant they released moreproductions. Between 1967 and 1977, Disney released 4 productions. Animationtakes time, and Disney were under a busy schedule. In order to release theirproductions in time, Disney were forced to rely heavily on rotoscoping.
Thiscan be seen in their productions as there are countless examples of recycledscenes in Disney productions.Animation transformed as we know it in 1986, when JohnLasseter made Luxo Jr. This short showcased a lampmoving, appearing alive.
This effect is called anthropomorphism, which is wheninanimate objects appear alive. The production made use of recent digitaltechniques an consequentially Luxo Jr. was the most realistic animation todate, which paved the way for companies like Pixar to work with Disneyto produce films like Toy Story and Monsters Inc.MotionCapture and Performance Capture:This leap made techniques like motion and performancepossible. Motion consists of movement of the body. It involves a suit withsilver balls which allow recording of the z-axis which allows running andmovement to be recorded.
This allowed the game and film industry to converge interms of how they were produced. Performance capture regards acting done on theface, examples of where this technique have been used are for the Lordof the Rings trilogy, specifically used for actor Andy Serkis for hisportrayal of Gollum. The director of these films, Peter Jackson, knew thattechnology wasn’t advanced enough in 2001 to successfully pull off performancecapture. It’s for this reason he stuck for motion capture for Gollum in FellowshipOf The Ring. In 2002, when technology had advanced, Jackson usedperformance capture to depict Gollum. Some argue that performance capture representsa new age for performers, with some going so far as to say in the future themajority of films will use performance capture.
Serkis himself said ‘Performance capture is a tool that youngactors will need in the next 10, 20 years.’ 2 However, performance actingis a very new thing, and many people don’t fully understand it, with somethinking it is easier than traditional acting. Andy Serkis also stated ‘Everybody thinks performance capture isabout thrashing around and doing lots of movement, but it’s actually aboutbeing able to contain and think and be believed in a close-up, as much asanything else’. Serkis is an incredibly creative performer who uses theadvancements in technology to further enhance his creativity.
Beawolf(2007) was a film directed by Robert Zemikis whichstrived to create a feature length motion capture film. However, the technologywasn’t advanced enough for it to look lifelike, which was the direction itwanted to take. This meant it slipped into a territory known as the ‘uncannyvalley’. This term is described when humanoid objects look almostexactly like humans, giving the feeling of eeriness. Blogger, AndrewBloom explained it as “creepierand more unsettling than anything the film actually intended to be scary. Theuncanny valley is ever present, with characters who are too exaggerated to seemlike real human beings, and too realistic to have the outsized plausibility ofa cartoon character. In fact, many of the film’s characters look likeanimatronic robots wearing stretched-out human skins, with movements that feellike the unnerved twitches of an electrified corpse.
” However, Beawolfwasn’t the only example of a film that got trapped in the uncanny valley. The2000’s represented a time of huge technological advancements, especially in theanimation industry. This resulted in many companies wanting to make use ofthis. Specifically, Warner Bros who produced The Polar Express in 2004.This backfired as many viewers felt unnerved by the look of the film,specifically the characters eyes were described as looking lifeless and empty.JamesCameron’s Avatar (2009): This film came up with a creativesolution to this restraint that technology was providing. This was by makingthe characters alien, bypassing the human element. The movie was a massivesuccess and the avatar characters are still acclaimed and considered realisticto this day.
Another example is CD PROJECTS RED’s Witcher 3(2015)which also bypassed the uncanny valley.Today, there are several successful TV shows that utilisethe benefits of animations. Animations allow stories to be told that would bealmost impossible, or at least very expensive, to make. TV shows like the Simpsonswere the first to catch on to this.
They used the benefits of animation to telljokes that other jokes couldn’t. Arguably, that is why it is to successfultoday. Other shows include FamilyGuy, Rick and Morty and South Park. ?Conclusion:In conclusion, the advancements in technology over the last100 years has changed the way animation. Due to these advancements, animationstoday are lifelike and can tell a whole range of stories. Not only that, butthey can be mass produced in a quick time. The Simpsons and FamilyGuy both have over 600 episodes with them both making more each day.
This is great with regards to the consumer, as it gives them a huge amount ofchoice of genre and style among other variables. In the future, animations willonly get more and more lifelike as well as faster to produce. Shows like Rickand Morty prove that there is still a massive market for animation in themodern day world, and many companies will try and recreate this success leadingto even more productions for consumers to watch. The advancements in technologynot only mean big companies and consumers can benefit, but so can skilledcreators. With the tools that technology have provided, any creative animatorscan make a feature and post it online for the world to see. Arguably the reasonshows like Family Guy and The Simpsons are so successful is their disregard ofmodern technology like rotoscoping.
These shows have instead relied ofcreativity to push their ideas forward, with technology just acting as a mediumto allow them to do this.