Development in animation
Before animation within film there was many different types of devices that the motion picture could be shown. Many of these devices that were made often to be shown to people, which would amaze them, entertain and even frighten people at points. This would scare many people at this time as there was nothing ever invented like the ‘magic lantern’ that showed moving images. The Magic Lantern was invented around 1650, it is an extremely early version of the first kinds of projectors. The Magic Lantern consisted of a transparent oil painting. It was placed in a darkened room and projected on a flat surface using a form of light. People often judged this device as demonic and frightening. People even were convinced this was a witnessing of the supernatural. The early known magic lanterns are credited towards Christiaan Huygens or Athansius Kricher.
After the magic lantern there were many other dvices that were created by pioneers in the animation world. Such as William George Horner and his ‘Zoetrope’ device, it I similar to the Phenakistoscope device (which I shall explain later) The Zoetrope was created in 1834. This was a circular spinning device that had several frames of animated prints around the circumference of the circle. Next to each print had a small coin like slot on the material, which was placed there in order for the person using this device to be able to see the images through on the other side when it is spinning at a quick rate. The slits move in the opposite direction of the way the Zoetrope is spinning to create an optical illusion. The Phenakistioscope created before the Zoetrope in 1831 was almost identical to Zoetrope, so as you can see William Horners design was most defiantly influenced by Joseph Plateau’s Phenakistoscope.
Another Pioneer of animation named Emile Reynaud from France then deiced to create the ‘Praxinoscope’ in 1877. This device combined the circular design of the Zoetrope however mirrors were placed around the images that were drawn, this was done in order to show the drawn animated images in a clearer way than the Zoetrope did. Reynaud then decided to make an enlarged version of this device named the Theatre Optique which could projected onto a screen.
The next device that was then generated was named the Zoopraxiscope which was created by Eadweard Muybridge in 1879. This device was ‘considered’ the first movie projector. This device consisted of rotating glass disks with hand painted images on them. These disks were moved in a rapid fashion in order to create an optical illusion of motion. The ‘Zoo’ part of the name was placed in as it showed mostly images of animals in motion like the picture below.
In 1888 the animation world started to change greatly, especially when Thomas Edison decided to generate another device named the Kinetoscope. This was a very early motion picture exhibition device. What this device allowed was for short animation films to be able to be viewed by an individual at one time. This was done by looking through a small window hole. This illusion worked by the movement of conveying a strip of perforated film holding sequential images over a light source with a high speed shutter. As you an see this is much more advanced than the other devices at this time, which made it a breakthrough in the world of animation.
There was another massive breakthrough in photography and film after this, the Lumiere brothers worked out how to project film onto a screen and also created the first motion picture camera in 1895. This quite literally would have been the most shocking and exciting moment in cinematography history as no one had ever thought something like this could be made (similar thoughts as when the Magic Lantern was created) You can see that from this point the cinematography and the animation world had developed up to such a high standard from all of the past inventions from the other pioneers
After the Lumiere brothers another man who changed the animation world was George Pal a Hungarian film producer. Pal was mostly well known for his creation of the animated films called ‘The Puppetoons’ these cartoons films were memorable in the sense of using the replacement animation technique or Stop Motion animation. This was also seen as a person who pioneered animation as during the 1930s it would have been unheard of to create animation films. However Walt Disney must’ve found some inspiration to create his first full-length feature animation film by watching these Puppetoons films, when he made his Snow White and the Seven Dwarves animation film.
Willis O’Brien was a pioneer in stop motion animation who was well known for the animation work that he generated within a film called ‘The Lost World’ (1925) and the very well known ‘King Kong’ (1933) Especially in 1933 there was no way near as much technology to generate such pictures as these and so this is why O’Brien became a pioneer as he was able to create these animated images that shocked audiences within the cinema world, it was most likely similar to the feelings that audiences got to the magic lantern as they had never seen things like this.
Another pioneer within this animation world was Ray Harruasuen who was another stop motion animation pioneer who was most famously known for his first color film ‘the 7th Voyage of Sinbad’ and Jason and the Argonuaghts which contained his famously created scene ‘the fight with the skeleton warriors’ this scene was extremely well known as it contained actual moving skeletons having a sword fight with the main character. This was seen as amazing to audiences world wide as they were full 3 dimensional stop motion characters the had facial expressions and body movements.
The next pioneer within animation I shall talk about is Jan Svankmajer. He was born in Prague and was fascinated by puppetry. Some of his greatest known work is his own film ‘The Last Trick’ (1964) Jan was a pioneer due to his technique in stop motion. He was able to generate very surreal and hilarious pictures. His work included funny exaggerated sounds. One of the most noticeable ones was during eating scenes within his productions. Jan’s work was usually only made using stop motion. He also used clay animation similar to how Aardman studios (Wallace and Gromit) make their films.
The last considered pioneer of the animation world is Tim Burton. Tim burton was most known for many of his films such as Corpse Bride and Nightmare Before Christmas these were hugely popular claymation films. He has produced 12 films and directed 16. I feel that this person would be a pioneer in the animation industry due to his own style of gothic animation/claymation. Corpse bride is a very good example of this style in a gothic nature. Not many animators were combining this kind of style within their animation and so this made Tim Burton have his own unique style of stop motion animation which has become largely popular around the world.
Another piece of contemporary work would be the The Brothers Quay. They are two Polish brothers who work and reside in England as directors. Their style of animation often involves puppets or doll parts that are actually made out of organic materials. This shows a much more creative approach towards animation and also very original. Another strange aspect that is also looked at strongly from their work is the dialogue. Their productions often contain no meaningful spoken dialogue which again shows a much more different style of animation that people are used to. It is mainly multilingual spoken gibberish in the background of their pieces, with pre-recorded music placed over the top of it. This may seem rather strange to typical animation techniques, however for many of their films they have been nominated for awards for them.