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Animation Techniques

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Ben Campbell

on 12 March 2015

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Transcript of Animation Techniques

Flip book
A flick book or flip book is a book in which a sequences of images are drawn on each page so that when the pages are flicked at a rapid speed, it looks like the images are moving as one whole image. It was originally called the kineograph and after it was patented by John Barnes Linnett in 1868, it became very popular and developed around the world.
Cel Animation
The invention technique of cel animation was founded by Earl Hund who then went on to patent the process in 1914. A cel is a transparent sheet of plastic upon which final animations are hand drawn onto the front. On the back they are then painted in and when laid onto a static background, it means they won’t have to redraw the image for every single frame.
Rotoscoping was invented by Max Fleischer, who used it in his series ‘Out of the ink well’ in 1915. He then went on to patent the method in 1917. Rotoscoping was used in China’s very first animated film, Princess Iron Fan and also in Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Assignment 1, task 1
Digital Animation
Digital animation can be described as bringing images to life by using computer graphics. Early digital computer animation was created in the 1960s at Bell Telephone Laboratories.
The Zoetrope
The zoetrope is a device designed to give an illusion of motion and was invented in 1834 by William George Horner. Originally called The daedalum, meaning the wheel of the devil, the American inventor William F. Lincoln came along and reinvented it after it failed to become popular during the 1860s. He renamed it the zoetrope, meaning the wheel of life.

The Kinetoscope
The kineotoscope is a closed cabinet in which the film was rolled. A user opens up the top and looks through a small hole. If he film was moved across rollers at the right speed, a backlight would illuminate it so the user could see each picture, momentarily giving the impression of a moving motion.
by Ben Campbell
This is what the zoetrope looks like.

The zoetrope is a cylinder shaped drum with slits cut vertically down the side at equal length. On the inside, a strip of sequenced photos are placed at the bottom. To create the illusion, the cylinder then needs to be spun at quite a fast speed whilst a user looks through the slits towards images placed inside. This should give the affect as if the series of images is one moving image.
Here's how the zoetrope works!
Animation Techniques
The kinetoscope is an early motion picture device which was one of the first devices widely developed and distributed. Thomas Edison became the first person to successfully demonstrate moving pictures to the public and it was he who was the brains behind the kinetoscope. In 1888, Edison, who had a strong interest in motion pictures described his ideas for the device as ‘doing for the eye what a phonograph does for the ear’. Edison then gave the task of designing and building the kinetoscope to his assistant William Kennedy Laurie Dickson in 1889. Come 1891, a prototype of the device was then shown at a convention.
The inside of a kinetoscope.
How you would use a kinetoscope.
An animation of how Edison's kinetoscope works.
Flip books are often like a small notebook and contain a variety of hand drawn images or photos that are part of a short, brief story.
If presented in a swift enough way, a flip book will fool the eye into thinking it’s an illusion of actual motion. Nowadays, they are often used for children or in animation courses to teach the basics of animation before moving onto more advanced techniques. It is important that when creating a flip book with hand drawn images, you are able to see through the paper just to get an idea of where to draw the image compared to the previous one drawn.
This is how a flip book works.
Here's a video to show you the process when making a hand drawn cel animation.
Cel animation takes a lot of patience and time and has nowadays been phased out for computer generated graphics. Each drawing is one frame of a scene and to create a full length cartoon or animation, you would require a million or more hand drawn images.
This is what a rotoscoping animation looks like in one image.
Rotoscoping is a technique used by animators to capture real life human movement and trace over the footage, frame by frame. Originally, film images were projected onto a frosted glass panel before being drawn over by the animator, but this has now been replaced by computers.
Here's a video of a rotoscoping animation.
With speed being the key, digital animation is broken down into two categories. Computer generated animation is where the animation itself is developed on just a computer system using both 2D and 3D software. Computer assisted animation is when the animator draws an object either by hand or on a computer system and places the drawn object in key frames. The computer then fills in the gaps between the frames which is called tweening.
The first full length movie to be designed and created by computerized animation was Toy Story in 1995. Computerized animation has since gone on to be able to create such films as Avatar, Shrek, and Life of Pi.
Claymation stands for clay animation and is one of the many forms of stop motion. It’s a type of animation using clay. It’s been around since 1897 and in 1908. Some of the very first claymation films were being produced around the United States, where Edison Manufacturing released a trick film named ‘The Sculptor’s Welsh Rarebit Dream’.
Wallace and Gromit is a clay animation.
Claymation involves using backgrounds, objects and/or characters made from clay and taking a sequence of still pictures, moving the object or character slightly for every picture. Replaying them back at a fast speed will then create an illusion of movement and make it seem like the clay figures are moving in real life. To make sure the objects or characters can make slight movements during each frame, artists use wire molds underneath the clay to help support it in each small movement. Like every form of animation, there will need to be a background for the clay figures to be set up against. A character may also need to be re-sculped hundreds of times depending on the length of the production. Despite having its own look, the production of a full length claymation film can be costly.
Stop Frame
Similar to claymation, stop frame or stop motion animation is a technique used to bring still objects to life on screen. Stop motion has a long history in film and was often used to show objects movement as if it was by magic.
The first traces of the stop motion technique can be credited to Albert E. Smith for ‘The Humpty Dumpty Circus’ in 1897.
It’s done by taking a picture of real life objects, re-positioning them slightly every minute and taking another picture continuing this pattern to get a sequence of images, whilst all of it is being filmed frame by frame. This creates an illusion of motion and the feel as if the object or objects are actually moving.
Here's an example of a stop frame video.
Films such as the old King Kong and Star Wars made good use of the stop motion technique using miniatures and puppets, as it was the only way to bring large objects that cannot move by themselves to life on screen.
Photographic stills are used for animations like Stop motion and claymation. A photograph is taken, then an object and/or character is moved slightly and another photo is taken. This is taken until a sequence of photos have been taken. When played at a rapid speed, it makes it look like the object is moving. A lot of the time, objects and clay are used in this type of animation as they’re easy to move.
Photographic Stills


Cel animation.

Digital animation.


Stop frame.
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