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Animation Techniques

A presentation about various techniques used in the Animation industry as well as some history on the subject.
by

Chelsea Tucker

on 24 October 2012

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Transcript of Animation Techniques

Animation history Animation The Persistence of Vision is the theory that the human brain retains the image that the eye has just seen for a fraction of a second, thus filling the gaps in our vision during the time that we are blinking.

Persistence of Vision is very important in animation as our brains automatically fill in the gaps between the frames.

Below is an example of how this works. The Horse in Motion is a series of images, each a little different to the last. Stop Frame Animation and
Persistence of Vision When all of these images are strung together and played, the outcome is this. This is because your brain is remembering the previous image for a split second The frame rate refers to the number of images shown within one second of any moving image.

The more frames per second the smoother the motion. If there are not enough frames in a second the motion will appear jumpy, causing the animation to look unprofessional.

A good example of a successful stop motion animation is Wallace and Gromit, which is so advanced that only thirty frames on average can be shot per day. Which is only about one second worth of footage. Frame Rates Please note that you do not have to watch the whole video. Anitmation Machines:
Phenakitoscope Invented in 1832 by Joseph Plateau, the Phenakitoscope featured two discs which spin together on an axis. One of the discs had the frames of the animation at even intervals around the outer edge. The other disc had evenly spaced slits which are placed around each image. Using the persistence of
vision, when the wheel spins, the short animation can be watched through the slits. The Phenakitoscope is significant to the development of moving images as it taught us more about the theory of the persistence of vision. The idea of animation had already been explored previously by Isaac Newton but the Phenakitoscope was planned in 1829 and invented in 1832. The invention had shown people that we can fool the human eye and brain into thinking that a still image is moving, which naturally opened up many doors for future animators and film-makers. Joseph Plateau 1832 Animation Machines:
Zoetrope 1833 The Zoetrope follows on from the idea of Plateau's Phenakitoscope. The original idea of the Zoetrope was thought up around 180AD but wasn't explored any further until 1833 when the modern Zoetrope was invented by William Horner. This was seen as a more compact version of the Phenakitoscope as the reel of images were glued along the inner edge of a cylinder. You can see the animation through the slits on the cylinder. As an adaption to the Phenakitoscope, we can see the history of animation evolving. William Horner Animation Machines:
Praxinoscope 1877 The Praxinoscope again was an adaption of the Phenakitoscope and the Zoetrope and used the idea of using a number of similar images lining the inside of a cylinder. A smaller cylinder lined the inside of the larger one and was lined with narrow mirrors. When the wheels begin to spin, each picture is reflected in the narrow mirrors for a fraction of a second, showing a projected animation for as long as the wheels spin. The Praxinoscope was invented by Emile Reynaud in 1877 and was the precursor to modern moving images. At this stage, animation was becoming easier and easier to watch and more and more accessible to people. It was the Praxinoscope that inspired the projector. Charles Emile Reynaud 1879 Animation Machines:
Zoopraxiscope Animation Machines:
Kinetoscope 1888 In 1879, Eadweard Muybridge adapted the idea of animation even further by allowing the images to be projected, meaning that more and more people could enjoy them at the same time. This follows the same principle of the Phenakitoscope but is adapted to connect to a reflective mirror which projects the images up onto a screen.

This inspired the modern projector, used in cinemas and often in schools and colleges. The horse you'd have seen previously in this presentation is an example of what an animation made by Zoopraxiscope would look like. Eadweard Muybridge Thomas Edison really moved animation along its path. He invented something originally intended as a toy, named the Kinetoscope. Unlike the previous machines we have looked at, this was far more advanced as the moving image was created by actual photographs, taken in quick succession, giving the image a life-like appearance, as opposed to the usual hand drawn pictures and silhouettes. The machine worked by having a reel of film and a bright light which would reflect through the film, allowing one person at a time to watch a short motion through a peephole in the top of the box. This invention changed the way we viewed animation as we learned that we could make real life motion pictures that would one day become the movies and TV shows we watch today.

Fred Ott's Sneeze (shown on the right) was the first ever identifiable motion picture. Georges was a French professional magician and a film maker. He stumbled upon the 'stop-trick' by mistake in 1896 when he was filming traffic in Paris. A stop-trick works by filming (using a tripod) then pausing, ensuring that everyone and everything stays where they were, except one change, for example there's a YouTube clip of George Méliès' 'The Vanishing Lady'. Georges Méliès Fantasmagorie is considered to be the first hand drawn animation ever made. The film worked by with hand drawn lines that would move ever so slightly for each frame. To give the film an effect of chalk board Emile Cohl simply inverted the whole piece. This piece had influence on all hand drawn animation that would ever be made again, whether it be directly or through a 'snowball effect', say where Fantasmagorie influence Gertie the Dinasour, then Gertie influenced Micky Mouse. Fantasmagorie Cameraman's revenge was the first animation to feature puppets as the characters, dead insects were used to tell the story of a cheating beetle. The use of puppets in animation is still used even to this day. Wallace & Gromit use clay puppets to tell their story's which is an effective way of used animation as you can manipulate the clay to make anything that your imagination wants to create. Cameraman's Revenge Gertie showed us that the audience could grow a bond with an animated character, which would open for later animations to really explore what could be done with animated charcaters, such as Micky Mouse, which was the first animation do this, Micky went through a few changes over the years before he settled on his current look. Windsor WcKay hand drew every single frame, hence why the entire piece is quite jolty. Layering in animation came along a few years later. Hand drawn animation is still used, the early episodes of The Simpson's and Family Guy were hand drawn but were phased into computer animations as the software become more advanced. Gertie The Dinosaur Earl Hud and John Bray invented the use of layering in hand drawn animation in 1916 with Bobby Bumps. The use of layering is quite simple, the background is only drawn once, and the rest is drawn on separate see-through sheets then positioned on the background to give the piece a much more fluid feel to it. The first fully animated feature film to ever be made was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which was made by Disney in 1937. The animated worked by building up layers of drawnings to give it a feel of realism in an animated world. Bobby Bumps Starts A Lodge The Simpsons is an example of a television show that uses animation to entertain its viewers. Simpsons is one of many animations which has adapted over the years to modernise its production. The Simpsons was originally hand drawn as line animation in which each episode was sketched in black and white and shot under a camera, then strung together with the recorded audio (voices, soundeffects etc.) and then sent to Korea. In Korea, labor is cheaper and so after the quick draft is sent over to the, the frames are drawn out neatly and inked to make the images smoother. This is where the episode is finalised. The style of The Simpsons is well suited to the type of animation used because things can be accentuated to make the comedy more humorous. An example of this is Homer's belly. We can see that he is a middle aged man with a beer belly which is film would be very still, whereas with animation, Homer's belly wobbles when he walks, and dances. Maggie's dummy/pacifier is another thing which in real life would not move very much, whereas in the Simpsons, when Maggie has the dummy in her mouth it makes big movements and loud noises which we all associate with this action. The Simpsons Secondary actions help realise movements of characters; such as a character might have long hair, so the animator will have is sway slightly while they're walking, this isn't made to be obvious, it's there to give the animation an element of realism. Secondary Animation A good example of this is when Carl is being lifted up into the air while in his house in this trailer. In 2002 The Simpsons switched to Digital Ink which is a much quicker way of producing the episodes meaning that they would be able to make more money in the long run because the episodes are quicker to make, but the same amount a year are still being released.

The style that the Simpsons used really suited The Simpsons, because the programme is relatable to real life, but because it's either hand drawn or made using digital ink the audience knows that some of their actions, such as when Homer strangles Bart is not to be copied. When scenes such as this happen it's shot in an over the top way which is made to be humorous and not serious. The Simpsons A clip from the early shorts of The Simpsons. As you can see, the drawings were originally very flat and two dimensional. This is due to the hand drawn element of the show. The colours were very dull and the animation was no where near as smooth as the episodes shown on the television today. The transformation from line animation to using digital ink not only meant that episodes looked more aesthetically pleasing, but they were also able to be produced a lot quicker and on a lower budget, meaning that Fox and the production team are able to make more money at a quicker pace. The origins of shows such as The Simpsons are animations like Mickey Mouse, which was hand drawn, frame by frame. The characters are animals but they are humanised by giving them characteristics of people. The Simpsons being yellow resembles the child-like feel of this type of animation as often when a child is drawing they will colour somebody with a light skin tone in with a yellow or pink pen. The stop trick is still used today. In The Smashing Pumpkins music video of 'Tonight, Tonight' the stop trick is used when the lady hits the creatures an umbrella at 2:08 in the video to the left.
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