To animate is to infuse life into something that is inanimate or without life. Manjit Jhita explain how an animation film breathes life into painted or sketched characters. The hero and heroines are not real life movie stars or animals and birds.
Animation films involve the quick display of a series of images to give the illusion of movement. It is a kind of optical illusion of movement. The phenomenon is known as vision persistence.
Animation effects began long time ago and not some new invention of the movie world. In the cave paintings of the Old Stone Age the animals were having many legs on superimposed positions in an attempt to capture movement. In the 1800 flip books became popular when by rapidly thumbing through these special books the viewer got the impression of movement. However it was not until the debut of motion picture films that animation films really took off. No one person can be credited to be the creator of animation films. It involved several people in several projects.
Georges Melies was the first one to dabble with special effects in movies by using animation techniques. Accidentally he discovered it – the stop-motion animation, when his camera happened to break down. He was shooting a bus. But when he fixed the camera a horse came in the view and the net result was that the bus changed into a horse! J. Stuart Blackton came to combine the techniques of hand-drawn animation and stop-motion for the first time at the turn of the 20th century. Blackton is often referred to as the first successful animator.
French artist Emile Cohl made a film from hand painted cartoon strips name Fantasmagorie in 1908. The film depicted a stick moving and meeting other objects like a wine bottle that becomes changed into a flower. Sometimes the hands of the animator entered the scene. Each frame was drawn on paper and then each was shot on to a negative film that gave a blackboard effect. Thus it can be said that Fantasmagorie was the first animated film to make its debut.
Soon many other artists began to experiment. One was newspaper cartoonist Winsor McCay who began to work with a team. He came to produce some noted films like Little Nemo and Gertie the Dinosaur. In the 1910`s cartoon animated films began to rule the scene. The technique came to known as cel-animation.
Warner Bros and Walt Disney studio came to be legendary names associated with full animation industry in the film world. Limited animation uses less detail. Japan and United Productions of America produced animated films using this method. Another popular technique is rotoscoping. In 1917 Max Fleischer patented it. Here the animators copy frame-by-frame live actions.
The other methods are stop-motion-animation, clay-animation (using clay figures), cutout-animation (using paper and cloth), silhouette-animation, graphic-animation, model-animation, object-animation and puppet animation. In pixilation human beings are used in stop motion roles. This allows for surreal effects like disappearances and appearance. The latest technique of computer animation includes many kinds of techniques. These are made digitally on a computer machine.
Thus we find that in animated films drawings and or paintings are photographed individually by stop-frame cinematography. One frame is slightly different from the other thus giving the illusion of movement. These are moved in rapid succession – about 24 frames in each second. Animation can be regarded as a film technique and not a distinct category of film. These films were ideal for depicting fairy tales and captured the hearts of children for all times to come. It is difficult to find an adult who will not admit enjoying animation films.