Animation Art: What Was the First Animated Film?

Animation is a movement simulation achieved by displaying a sequence of drawings or frames at a frequency that provides a holistic visual perception of images. Animation term originates from Latin “anima,” which means soul, so to explain this way that static objects are brought to life (animated). Who invented animation and when are probably the most interesting questions from the realm of early animation movies history. So, lets’ have a glimpse into the brief history of animation to find out a bit more.

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Source: Dribbble

How Long has Animation Existed?

Animation, like any other art form, has its own history. When was an animation created for the first time?

For the first time in the history of animation, the principle of inertia of visual perception, which underlies animation, was demonstrated in 1828 by the Frenchman Paul Roget who invented the thaumatrope – a disk with a rope underneath and on top. The object of the demonstration was a disk with an image of a bird on one side and a cage on the other. During the rotation of the disc, the audience was given a created illusion of a bird in a cage when the disk revolved.

Meilisearch by Fireart

Who invented animation?

However, for the first time, a real way to create early animation was put into practice after the invention of the camera and projector by Thomas Edison.

As early as 1906, the short film Humorous Phases of Funny Faces was created by James Stuart Blackton, which was actually a product of stop-motion and cutout techniques of the first ever animation. They had been displayed in some form since the 1890s. The author made a drawing on the board, photographed, erased, and then again drew, photographed, and erased.

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Humorous Phases of Funny Faces frames

But a real revolution in the world of animation was made by Walt Disney (1901-1966), an American director, animation artist, and producer, whose contribution made animation design the art we may clearly recognize and understand nowadays.

In 1923, he released the series Alice in Cartoon Land, in 1928 – the sound cartoon Steamboat Willie with the hero Mickey Mouse, and later the duckling Donald Duck and others appeared.

In Japan, the first animated films (1-5 minutes long) appeared in 1917. In 1932, the first Japanese animation studio was established, and in 1933, the first animated sound film was made.

When was the First Computer Animation Made?

To understand how animation works, let’s create a sequence of drawings on paper that differ in elements that need to change or move. After drawings are created, the sequence is photographed in the correct order, one shot at a time. When playing back a movie, this sequence of still images will be treated as a continuous moving image. This is how animation sketches may usually be created for an animated explainer video production, for example. But what about real fully computer-animated pictures? When was the first of them made?

Animated bubbles

There were some experiments to create and release the first animations in computer graphics during the 1940s and 1950s, with the most notable coming from John Whitney in 1958.  Then he managed to present a newly developed piece of work that was credited as the first ever computer animation picture.

In 1995, there came the first fully computer-animation feature film, Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story, which was a huge commercial success. This film was directed by John Lasseter, a co-founder of Pixar, and former Disney animator, who started at Pixar with short movies such as Luxo Jr.

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Toy Story modeling, Source: Twitter


Now that we’ve reminded you of when was animation invented and the ball started rolling, animation history will not be that mysterious or unknown. Today’s brightest presentation of an animation design is explainer videos you may order to create from an incredible Explain Ninja team or any other movie for your commercial or business needs. Today, animation is used in different areas of our life: in advertising, training, art, cinema, multimedia presentations, and many others, which make it a universal means to describe complex things in plain words in almost any business area. Whether you need a character design or the whole animated picture design, contact us for help asap.

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