Animation: Where it came from and where will it be
Animation in the past fifty years has taken large steps in improvements to what it is today. It has changed in many ways from techniques to their usage in entertainment. It has opened opportunities for new employment in companies. It has allowed us to see things we could only imagine. It has also changed the way of life.
To animate, according to the New World Webster Dictionary, is to make something alive or to give it motion. An animator according to Animators from Chronicle Guidance Publications is animators create moving illustrations for motion pictures, television, direct-to-video commercials interactive video games, and the Internet. Create a series of sequential drawings of characters of other subjects, which when photographed and projected at specific speeds become animated. (Animators np)
Animation’s history can go back all the way to three thousand years ago in Eastern Asia with shadow puppets. In that place and time, it was one of the more popular forms of entertainment.In the past one hundred and fifty years there were devices called zoetropes that were wheels with pictures inside them with little slits dividing the pictures. The person would then spin the wheel, and if they were to look through the slits they could see the pictures moving, like a little never ending cartoon.
A man named Winsor McCay created one of the first lengthy cartoons. He experimented with a cartoon called “Gertie the Dinosaur.” In this cartoon he and his neighbor had to draw all the pictures themselves. Making it even harder to do is that he had to draw the background repeatedly again instead of using the cel animating method (A Brief History of Gertie the Dinosaur 1). This cartoon came about 80 years before the movie Jurassic Park. Then after about ten to fifteen years, because it took much time and money to make an animated picture, others started to arise. Favorites were Felix the Cat (“Concise History of Animation” np), Mickey Mouse, and later Loony Toons (“Chuck Jones History” np). Nevertheless, probably the big star back then was Felix the Cat created by Otto Messmer (“Concise History of Animation” np).
With the help increased of technology and just plain modern ingenuity animation has evolved into a highly technological tool to bring life on a screen. In this world there are many ways of creating animation such as key framing, cel animating, and rotas coping.In key framing many artists, or animators, draw key frames of the product then hires junior animators to fill in the rest of the story. This technique saves time and money, but usually lacks quality. Using the technique of cel animation, animators use clear sheets of paper, called cels, to draw the moving parts of the scene while the background is placed behind it. Again this method saves time and money, but unlike key framing, it has good quality. Cel animating is the primary technique used by animators. Rotas coping is when you copy images from previous scenes and use them over again. This way is cheaper and saves time, but it lacks quality (“Traditional Methods” np). There are a few more techniques used, but these are the most popular methods.
One of the most popular types of animation today is computer animation. The advances in animation have allowed us to do spectacular life-like creations. Computer animation is being used almost everywhere from motion picture movies to local news broadcasts to the field of education. It has allowed animators to make three-dimensional objects in order to recreate a disaster or event. Computer animators have used it to recreate plane crashes to see what went wrong so they can fix it and prevent it from happening again. They even used it to recreate the sinking of the Titanic. The technology of animation has allowed the world to view images that we would not usually see. For example, we would never be able to see a Tyrannosaurus Rex in real life; nevertheless, thanks to computer animation we were allowed to see one in the movie Jurassic Park. The ability to use animation also allows artists to copy animated objects so they can fill empty spaces or make a more detailed crowd. Utilizing this technique saves animators time and cost. The stampede scene in Disney’s motion picture The Lion King is an example of the building a crowd when one is not actually there. Computer animation also allows animators to visualize three-dimensional objects or worlds. An example would be if an architect were to design a building and wanted to see it in 3D.The architect would give his design to a computer animator to create it in the computer and make it come to life.
In some old animated movies where the technology of computer animation was not used, a person could see the difference in reality compared to what there is today. Today quality, using computer animation, has improved stupendously. The detail in animation now is really amazing. Animations created by computer animators are so detailed one could not tell the difference between what is real and what is not. Just go to the movies today and wonder is it real or computer animation! Computer animation also allows the computer animator to take out imperfections in a movie or television show. For an example, in real life an actor, or actress, falls and scratches his or hers face, using computer animation the animator is able to take out the scratch. Therefore, it is not seen in the final product (Feature Animation, 2).
There are some real advantages utilizing the techniques of animation, but there are also some pitfalls too. The disadvantage to computer animation is it takes a long time just to make a little bit of film. For about thirty seconds of footage it takes about two to three days of working nonstop…?(Fry, 1). In addition to taking a long time it also cost a lot in computer equipment to run the programs necessary to animate. In addition to both of these disadvantages is that it also cost a lot to pay a good animator. But even though there are some disadvantages, computer animation is an amazing way to bring pictures to life.
Computer animation may sound difficult, but there are only a few simple steps in creating an animated object. When making a computer animated cartoon or figure, a person must first have an idea on what to animate. Then that person puts that image into the computer and flexes it around a computer made skeleton. After that, that person would fill it in with the basic colors and effects. Next the animator would put in the details and put it in its background. In a short overview, leaving the animator with a finished computer animated object (Animators, 1-2).
Animation in the future is headed into using the computer a lot more than now…? (Fry, 1). Regardless, the need for classic animation will also be in demand. So the combination of the two will most likely happen more than it does now. Also the time it takes to make an animated film will decrease along with the need for so many animators. People in the future, most of the time will not be able to tell the difference between animation and the real thing. Actors will not be needed for movies so much because animation could replace them. As far as the eye can see, animation will be needed, wanted, and improved more in the future.
In a career in animation there are certain skills needed according to Becky Fry from Golden Dome Productions…Patience, lots of patience! You also need art skills. You need to enjoy drawing. It does not hurt to know how to use the computer. But companies before they hire you look at your art then, if they like it, teach you to use a computer.
Major industries of animation are basically film animators and independent animators. The one more successful are the film animators because they know they are always going to have a job. But the independent animator takes on unwanted projects the big industries do not want to do or ask too much to make it. Major companies involved in animation are Disney, Warner Brothers, and Dreamcast.
Animation is used today for many things, to show action, to express all kinds of emotions, or simply to encourage laughter. Another use, though most people do not think of this right away, is in making arcade games. Animation has also been used in commercials on television; in fact around twenty percent of televised advertisements have used cartoons (Animators 1). Animation is also being used for medical purposes to teach future surgeons how to do a certain operations without using a real patient to operate on. Basically, animation has been used to entertain and educate, leading to a better future for the world.