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Cinematic Animation History

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Cinematic animation constitutes a pre-history of animation that was to emerge in a televisual context. The advent of cinema per se was preceded by the development of various devices with such classically intoned names as thaumatrope, phenakistoscope, and kinetoscope. In the United States, Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith stumbled upon the technique of stop-action animation, in which three-dimensional objects or drawings are shot frame-by-frame, slightly adjusting the position of the object between frames – thus creating the illusion of motion. As an example of the latter, Winsor McCay, an early American animator, serves as a transitional figure, since he drew on both of the primary sources of early American animation: vaudeville and a newspaper-based…show more content…
Of them all, it was Disney’s shorts that proved to be the most influential ones and later led Disney Studios to shape both the form and industry in ways that continue to reverberate. One of the fundamental changes brought about by the practices of the studio was the full industrialization of the production process – compartmentalization, the standardization of characters’ features and traits and the movement away from visual excess and toward narrative clarity. (Stabile and Harrison 2003:…show more content…
Patented by Earl Hurd in 1914, cel animation exploded one of the main barriers to rapid, assembly-line-style production. The use of overlapping cellophane sheets allowed the artist to draw a particular background once, superimposing the character over that background. While cels had been in use for some time, it was Disney that established them as an industry standard along with an attendant division of tasks among colorers, buffers, “in-betweeners”, and various other levels of animators. In short, Disney brought the constraints and devices of drama and narrative to bear on the field of animation, containing the exuberance of earlier examples of the form by privileging story and character over the inherent plasticity of the form. (Stabile and Harrison 2003: 5; Bendazzi 1994: 18) Together with the precedents set by Disney Studios, Disney’s style of animation became the standard and is now synonymous with “classic animation”. Cinematic production of animation continued after the ascendancy of the Disney style. The contours of the industry were to change radically, however, in response to the rise of television, the art of animation and its mode of production necessarily responded to the emergent needs and economies of media. Because of this, a genre central both to television and television animation has been created: the
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