The Start of Happy Tuesdays

Hello, and welcome to my blog, Happy Tuesdays, a blog on which I hope to cover all of the relevant news and developments in the industry of animation and graphic design. Animation has developed so rapidly over the last hundred years and is now a very broad term that covers a lot of different techniques for practicing art in motion. For the first few posts I hope to just outline some of the different sections of this industry that are of particular interest to me. To start with I’m going to briefly outline the history of animation.

Animation is a display of a rapid sequence which illustrates images of 2-D or 3-D artwork; creating the illusion of movement. Early examples of animation can date back 1000′s of years. One of these early examples was a motion drawing found in Palaeolithic cave paintings; here animals where depicted. Whilst these images attempted to capture movement and action in drawings, they were not animation as we would recognise it because there was no equipment to show the images themselves in motion.

In 180AD a Chinese zoetrope-type device was invented. The Chinese zoetrope is known as praxinoscope, or more commonly the flip book. This was a very early and popular animation device, right through the 19th century. This device produced the appearance of movement, though animation didn’t really develop any more until the year of cinematography.

This animation dates back to 1931, Japan

There is obviously no single person who can be considered the creator of film animation. Around the 19th century there where several people working on projects involving animation. There are a number of techniques, which have been improved, changed and developed over time.

Traditional animation: Also known as cell animation or hand-drawn animation. This process was used for most animated films of the 20th century. This is often hailed as the superior style of animating films as apposed to the computer generated images commonly used in modern film making. It takes a painstakingly long time to do compared to computer animation and the skill and commitment of this type of workmanship is what earns it prestige in certain artistic styles.

Stop motion: this involves physically manipulating real world objects. The process involves photographing the object one frame at a time to create the illusion of movement. The largest name in stop motion animation for many years now has been Aardman Animation, creators of Wallace and Gromit and creature comforts as well as a whole host of other beloved children’s shows and feature films.

Computer animation: This is the most common modern technique for animating images. Animation is created uses a variety of techniques, digitally. It follows a lot of the same style and is similar in practice to traditional cell animation with the most notable exception being that the image does not have to be redrawn completely every time the artist wants to make a small change to the image in a sequence of frames.

Clearly each of these practices of animation is a huge topic to discuss, which is good because I intend to keep this blog very active with all of the updates in these various different sections of the industry. However, to begin with I can’t possibly begin to even scratch the surface of describing all of the intricate details of each. So as I keep on posting I will go more in depth about each of these sections.

As a final note, last month Aardman released their latest feature film entitled ‘The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists”, starring Hugh Grant voicing our swashbuckling bearded hero. I’ve yet to see this film, but according to excellent reviews (like this one in the telegraph), the film contains all of the same quality and style that we have come to love Aardman for.