The History of Animation

Animation, contrary to what many people think, has a long and illustrious history of its own. Ancient Egyptian excavations reveal that the Egyptians did extensive wall decoration way back in 2000 B.C. Even the Greek, in their ancient paintings and drawings reveal a fascinating sense of imagination. Leonardo Da Vinci has used some form of animation in his famous illustrations. The Japanese have used scrolls to tell stories from ancient times. The ideas behind animation are not a recent phenomenon and have existed for centuries now. With the increasing impact of technology, the face of animation has been revolutionized.

It has been mankind’s quest from the beginning of time to capture the sense of motion in art. This gave rise to ancient paintings which could be found in caves. One has heard of such drawings associated with several civilizations of the past. A Frenchman named Paul Roget invented something known as the thaumatrope, which was a disc with a string attached to both sides. One side of the disc had the drawing of a bird and the other side an empty cage. When the disc was twirled using the strings, the bird appeared as if it was inside the cage. Such early inventions were forerunners to the present day animation.

Later, an instrument called the henakristoscope was invented by Joseph Plateau, which was a circular card with slits around the edge. The viewer had to hold the card up to a mirror and peer through the slits as the cards whirled. A series of drawings would be present around the circumference of the card. What the viewer would see was the optical illusion of a moving picture. Plateu introduced this to the US in 1826. Decades later, the advent of computers and software literally changed the way animation was done. Now literally nothing is impossible as far as animation goes. Using current animation software, one can create mind boggling animation. Hollywood is full of animation pioneers. In fact, who can forget Walt Disney’s innumerable animated characters, which have become American icons. Animations have become more realistic in the sense that one can virtually duplicate real life situations using state-of-the-art animation software.