Origins of animation

As many people will know, animation came from a very simple background, starting out as drawn on paper and being flipped through, ending up where we have it today, with 3D models being manipulated and moved digitally. but how did it come so far and change so drastically over time? Or did it really change as much as it seems it did?

The first time animation is found or recorded was actually a lot longer ago then one might expect. With the earliest being “A 5,200-year-old bowl found in Iran’s Burnt City in the 1970s…” (Ball, 2008) This shows that people have been doing this kind of thing for a lot longer then may have been thought, though its only in the more recent years it has become so detailed and in depth.
With hand drawn animations being found as far back as 1650 with things like the magic lantern, it has taken a while to get to the point it is now. But without those humble beginnings we would not have the understanding we do of animation and how to get it to work well.
Once animation hit paper, it truly started to be developed, as it was in the paper form that people started to come up with methods for animation to help their workflow. some of these things where key frames, inbetweens, and many of the current methods still used now.

Fouche says that “John Barnes Linnett, printer in Birmingham, who was the first to patent the flip book under the name of “The Kineograph a new optical illusion” on 18th March 1868” which was exactly what it sounds like; a book that had pages with drawings on it that the viewer had to flip through.

Herbert (2015) says that “Reynaud devised the Praxinoscope, patented on 21 December 1877…”,which was a clever contraption made from mirrors and pictures painted to be spun inside a bowl like device and reflected in that mirror. This was ground breaking at the time and got even more developed over time until the short animations could be about 500 frames long.

It was after animation hit film that the big breakthroughs in animation pipelines and workflows happened. Whether silent or later with sound, they gave us things like the key poses and breakdowns which are still widely used across both 2D and 3D animation today
Ball, R. (2008). Oldest Animation Discovered in Iran. Retrieved from

Fouche, P. (2015). Flip book History. Retrieved from

Herbert, S.(2015) Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema. Retrieved from


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