Animation has been around since before the dawn of cinema by way of the Thaumatrope, Zoetrope, and Phénakisticope. Soon after Théâtre Optique, Stop-Motion, Kinetoscope, and hand-drawn animation came bursting onto the scene as favoured methods by many cinematic pioneers and directors including the Lumière Brothers, Georges Méliès, J. Stuart Blackton, and Walt Disney.
The first surviving feature animation film The Adventures of Prince Achmed from 1926 was created using silhouette animation created by director Lottee Reiniger. By 1930, The Tale of the Fox was released in Germany as was the first puppet animation/stop motion feature. Soon after, Walt Disney perfected hand-drawn animation with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs . By the 1950’s the first animated cartoon television show Crusader Rabbit was on the air.
Soon after animation was taking over both the film and television industry. Advancements continued throughout the century with the introduction of clay-animation, xerography, and 3D, but perhaps the biggest development was the introduction of CGI. When Toy Story was released in 1995 it was the first film to use entirely CGI and launched a new director for animated film.
Animation is a well-loved film genre with plenty of dedicated fans from all over the film world. It helped launched the industry and perfected many different animated styles still in use today. Some may argue that it’s still under-credited by way of awards and festivals, but no one should be able to deny the obvious contribution the technique has.
Animation is not just for children or niches, but can also hold strong political messages as found in Israeli director Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir or Marjane Satapi’s Persepolis . We also have an increase in R-rated animation including Seth Rogan’s Sausage Party . So if you’re an independent film maker, perhaps it’s time to give animation a shot! Mashable has many different techniques, lessons, and skills needed to get started, so check out some of these animation tools.