Animation History Research

Through the years animations has evolved, from the very basics of paper to the multi million dollar crossing films that we see today. Animation can be seen as far back as 1824, when Peter Roget produced his paper ‘The persistence of vision with regard to moving objects’. Roget was one of the first people to look into the theory of ‘afterimage’, the idea that images stay on the humans retina for about a 25th of second after.

One of the first pieces of machinery to produce animation was created by, Dr. Joseph Antoine Plateau and Dr. Simon Rittrer and was name the phenakistoscope. The concept behind this device was when spun the overlapping of the slots and images would create an animated sequence, as seen below.   tumblr_mrcplcnsSa1r9jbwno1_500

More than 40 years later two more inventions helped create a new age in animation, the praxinoscope and kinetoscope. The praxinoscope was soon taken to new levels and used in theatres with the use of a projector, as a result creating a new form of animation that could be easily accessible to audiences. The method of my stop motion watch GIF can be traced back to J. Stuart Blackton in 1906. He would use the simple, but time-consuming technique of filming one face, stopping the film and erasing the face and drawing another, as seen in the video below.

In the 1920,s animation took a big step forward into forming the animation as we known it today. This was thanks to, ‘El Apostol’, the first feature length animated film and also the very important founding of Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. Walt and Roy Disney created a continuous high standard of animation, best seen in the creation of Micky Mouse. Micky Mouse was first seen in the film ‘Steam Boat Willy’, being the first cartoon based film to have synchronised sound

The hugely successful animated films that we see today would have only been possible with the work of John Whitney. Whitley was considered to be one of the key contributors in the world of computer animation. Computer animation would continue to evolve rapidly. Walt Disney would continue to play their hand in animation and produced Tron, the first film with CG. tron_2

 Less than ten years on animation made the biggest break through yet with the creation Jurassic Park and Toy Story. Jurassic Parking being the first film to use CG to create a realistic living object and Toy Story being the first full length feature film to use CG. Even in these computer animated films there are aspects of techniques used a hundred years before, such as drawings, as depicted in the picture below.



Animation in the past few years has reached a level that would never have seen possible. Films like Avatar or apps on tablets which enable users to animated on the go, have all created an easily accessible and easily enjoyable form of animation and who knows where animation may be in ten or twenty years.


Mosley, J. (2014). Animation History Timeline. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Oct. 2014]., (2014). – History of Web Animation timeline. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Oct. 2014].

YouTube, (2014). J. Stuart Blackton – Humorous Phases of Funny Faces – 1906. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Oct. 2014].


Part 1

For our third task within the portfolio project, we have been introduced to animation. From the brief we have been invited to take a look into three main aspects of animation. The first of the these aspects will take a brief look into the history behind animation, and in particular the praxinoscope. In task two, we must use our knowledge gained from the praxinoscope and apply it to our own 12 frame digitalized animation. Task three is also on the practical side as it delves into making a short experimental sequence using the technique ‘stop-motion’ animation. Carrying on from the project ‘Temporal Expressions’, the theme cycle will be used again, mainly due to the fact that a lot of animation is a contest cycle. THE PRAXINOSCOPEThe praxinoscope is a device that has been with us for over 130 years now, and constantly something that has been overlooked because of its pure simplicity. The beauty of the praxinoscope is that it goes back to the real roots of animation of using simple individual frames of a motion, the most famous of these being a horse galloping. The process of the praxinoscope is to place a strip of images around the outer ring, mirrors positioned in the centre of the device create the effect of motion once the praxinoscope is spun.

SIK-FLIPZBefore we undertook this task, we were given a very useful workshop seminar on animation. The technical knowledge gained from this seminar would help us when producing our own digitalized animation. The workshop consisted around twelve digital images of an animation walking. It was in Photoshop that we learnt how to organise the separate images into a timeline. Once in a timeline the layers could appear visible and invisible when played in a sequence. With the sequence compete it gave the effect of the animated man walking on the spot, from this we went further and made the man walk off the screen and back. As you can see in the example above, me and my partner Jack decided to make the illusion go further. We realised if we could make the figure walk in cycles, and position him at certain point of the screen, it would give the effect of him wall walking. To further enhance the illusion we used an image of a wall.

 Task 2


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DotsFrom the workshop seminar we jumped straight into making our own twelve frame animation sequence. Being one of my first experiments using this technique I decided to keep it relatively simple. The idea of a bouncing ball, or in my case several bouncing balls, is one that I have seen used before. The bouncing ball approach is one that can have great success due to the fact that it can look very realistic. It was pointed out to us that we should try to make our animation abstract, this being the reason for the multiple balls and the extra colour. The biggest difference from the workshop was that we had to digitalize our twelve frames into a GIF. As you can see in the first image, we digitalized the long strip of paper that we were using when experimenting with a praxinoscope. The first step was to photograph the individual images of each twelve frames. From here I could upload them onto Photoshop and start cropping the individual frames into a more suitable size. I first decided to make my first animation on the website ‘’. The big limitation with this website meant that my animation could only move up and down, making it look far to simple. From this I decided to use the technique gained in the workshop. When using the timeline in Photoshop I was able to create a far more pleasing animation due to the fact that the balls are moving left to right and up and down.

Task 3WatchFor part two of the brief we had to create a short experimental sequence that explored the technique of ‘stop-motion’ animation and/ or pixilation (animation of humans). I decided to use my Ipad as a still camera and to focus my technique around ‘stop-motion’. The main reason for doing this was due to my idea of having a wrist watch moving in a circle. I thought that the concept of a wrist watch moving in a circle linked directly with the cycle theme. The use of a watch further links to the theme as a watch is a never-ending cycle. As I found in the praxinoscope task, the more images you gather will result in a smoother and better quality animation. As a result of this, I did find this animation very tedious, as I ended up taking over 200 images. The results do speak for themselves though as the animation does move in a seamless and smooth way.

Task 4

looking further ahead, I really do feel that this task has fuelled my ambition to create more animation in the future. I especially look forward to the 2D gaming side of animation. Overall though I am slightly disappointed that I didn’t branch out more, pixilation for one being a technique that I regret not looking into, but defiantly something I can be creative with in the future.