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The process of making inanimate objects appear to move through animation. The desire to create animation predates the invention of the motion picture. Pygmalion, a sculptor from Greek and Roman mythology, is credited as being the first animator in history. He produced a woman figure that was so

exquisite that he fell in love with her and pleaded with Venus to make her come to life. Modern film animation has some of the same elements of magic, mystery, and transgression, making it a go-to medium for examining the overpowering, frequently perplexing emotions of childhood that were once the subject of folktales.

Early History
The principle of the animated cartoon was developed 50 years before the cinema was created. The notion of persistence of vision was first discovered by early experimenters who were trying to come up with conversation pieces for Victorian parlours or fresh sensations for the popular touring magic lantern performances. The human eye would interpret a series of pictures depicting an action's stages as one continuous motion. One of the first innovations that was commercially successful was the phenakistoscope, a spinning cardboard disc that appeared to move when viewed in a mirror and created in 1832 by the Belgian Joseph Plateau. William George Horner created the zoetrope, a rotating drum with a band of interchangeable images, in 1834.

The idea was modified in 1876 by the Frenchman Émile Reynaud into a format that could be displayed in front of theatregoers. With his exquisitely hand-painted celluloid ribbons projected onto a theatre screen using a system of mirrors, Reynaud not only became animation's first businessman but also the first animator to provide his animated characters with personality and warmth.

The development of sprocket-driven film material allowed animation to take a giant step ahead. Although "firsts" of any kind are rarely easy to confirm, the first animator to work exclusively with moving images believed to be J. Stuart Blackton, whose Humorous Phases of Funny Faces, released in 1906, launched a successful run of animated films for the cutting-edge Vitagraph Company in New York.For his short film Haunted Hotel later that year, Blackton also tried out the stop-motion technique, which involves photographing something, moving it, and then photographing it again.

Émile Cohl was creating an animation style akin to Blackton's in France, however Cohl employed simple stick figures as opposed to Blackton's elaborate newspaper cartoons. The budding animation industry started to hire many of the most well-known artists, like Rube Goldberg, Bud Fisher (creator of Mutt and Jeff), and George Herriman, about the same time that the Sunday comic sections of the new tabloid newspapers started to gain popularity (creator of Krazy Kat). However, most of these artists soon grew weary of the taxing animation process and handed off the actual production work to others.

Winsor McCay stands out among these early illustrators-turned-animators because his stunning, enchanted masterpieces Little Nemo in Slumberland and Dream of the Rarebit Fiend continue to be the best examples of comic-strip art. Little Nemo was adapted into a hand-colored short film by McCay for use in his vaudeville act in 1911, but Gertie the Dinosaur, produced for McCay's 1914 tour, revolutionised the medium. Viewers were given an animated creature that appeared to have a personality, a presence, and a life of her own thanks to McCay's excellent draughtsmanship, fluid sense of movement, and wonderful instinct for character. The first cartoon celebrity was now a reality.

Pat Sullivan was responsible for expanding McCay's discoveries. McCay produced a number of other remarkable movies, including a recreation of The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918). Sullivan was an Australian-born cartoonist who established a studio in New York City. He quickly saw Otto Messmer's remarkable potential. One of Messmer's casually created characters, a cunning black cat named Felix, became the star of a number of wildly successful one-reelers. The round-headed, big-eyed Felix was created by Messmer to have the most flexibility and facial expressiveness possible. He was also designed to be as easy to draw and maintain in motion as possible.

Early animation devices examples are as follow:
There have been several toys and gadgets throughout history that can show animated cartoon characters, people, objects, and events in motion:

1. Magic lantern: Conceived in 1603, the magic lantern was a device for projecting images. The projection of the slide's images was accomplished using this mechanism, which used a mirror in the back of a light source (initially a candle) to direct the light through lengthy glass slides. The magic lantern was the first example of "moving pictures," as the movement was created by combining the slides.

 2. Zoetrope: The zoetrope was a spinning cylindrical variant of the phenakistoscope that showed images in a series of motion phases that numerous viewers may watch at once. The eye used a mechanism supplied by the cylinder's numerous vertical slits to prevent the spinning images from blending together as they moved.

3. Phenakistoscope: Also known as the Fantascope and also spelt "phenakistiscope," the phenakistoscope first appeared in the 1830s and featured rotating, painted cardboard discs that appeared to be moving when reflected in mirrors. Only one spectator at a time could experience the novel experience of the phenakistoscope.

4. Kineograph: The kineograph, also known as the flipbook, made its debut in 1868. Its name is Latin for "moving picture." A scene can be animated by swiftly flipping between the pages of a small book of drawings called a kineograph. Each page depicts a distinct type of movement.

5.Thaumatrope: A picture disc was supported by two threads in the thaumatrope, an optical toy from the eighteenth century. The "persistence of vision," an optical illusion that tricks the eye into seeing movement long after movement has stopped, caused the disc to spin as the strings were twirled, fusing the pictures on either side of the disc into one.

6. Praxinoscope: The praxinoscope replaced the zoetrope in 1877 by substituting an inner circle of angled mirrors for the latter's small vertical slits. Thanks to these angled mirrors, the animation appeared clearer and more colourful than when seeing the moving pictures through slits.

The very First animated movie was:
A larger image roll for the praxinoscope was used to construct Émile Reynaud's Pauvre Pierrot (1892), providing for a longer viewing duration. Due to Reynaud's hand-painted picture roll, which had 500 distinct images, Pauvre Pierrot is frequently regarded as the first animated film (rather than using photographs). The first authentic animated film, according to cinema historians, is Émile Cohl's Fantasmagorie (1908), which they claim is the earliest instance of a motion picture created using conventional animation techniques.

Some people believe that the earliest animated picture was Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906), produced by the British-American J. Stuart Blackton. Throughout the three-minute film, Blackton illustrated a number of animated characters using stop-motion animation. The first animated movie technically recorded on actual film was Humorous Phases of Funny Faces, which was the first animated movie recorded on standard picture film.

First ever Animated Feature Film Was:
Walt Disney Studios' Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first animated feature film (1937). This movie employed cel animation, a traditional kind of animation that included painting two-dimensional images on a celluloid sheet that was transparent. Since images could be transferred between frames rather than needing to be drawn from scratch each time, cel animation sped up the process and reduced labour and time costs.

Sriparna Mukherjee
Amity University, Kolkata


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