The Story of 2D Animation
The Early Days
In 1908, French artist Emile Cohl made the first traditional hand-drawn animation. At just 70 seconds long, ‘Fantasmagorie’ features cartoon violence, wild metamorphosis and the death and resurrection of the protagonist, who then swells up like a balloon and flies away. It took around 700 images to create, played at the rate of 24 frames per second.
In 1928, Walt Disney created the first widely distributed animation. Although it was his third screen appearance, ‘Steamboat Willie’ was the official debut of the plucky, lovable Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney had set out to achieve the first animation with a fully synchronised soundtrack added in post-production.
The first attempt was a disaster – the 17-piece orchestra found it difficult to keep time following a cartoon animation onscreen. To finance a second recording, Walt Disney sold his prized Moon roadster car. A bouncing ball was added to the animation, so that the musicians could keep tempo.
The Golden Era
By the 1930s, feature length animated films had come to the silver screen, including ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, the first animated feature to use hand-drawn animation throughout the entire film.
At the same time, Warner Brothers created Looney Tunes. Here, American animator and cartoonist Tex Avery came to prominence, and we saw the evolution of the most recognisable characters in the public eye – Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig. Avery’s style incorporated speed, sarcasm, irony, slapstick violence and non-stop action. His cartoons appealed to adults as well as children, and he encouraged animators to push the boundaries, for animation to seek out and explore the areas where live film could not go.
The Television Era
With the rise of broadcast television, Hanna-Barbera Productions began in 1957, and created a wide variety of popular animated characters over the next 30 years. The move to broadcast saw the downfall of animated shorts being screened in cinemas, while animated TV shows increased in length from 20 – 25 minutes.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, cartoon animation changed from being the preserve of Saturday morning kids’ TV, and began to reflect an older demographic. The inclusion of adult themes – sex, violence and serious storytelling – was a major leap in the evolution of the art form.
Animation has exploded, from mega-budget cinema productions to the resurgence of high concept TV animations in the last decade. Thanks to digital filmmaking, we are witnessing the most exciting period in the evolution of animation.
If you are considering how animation can benefit your business, you have come to the right place! Come and talk to us today! We’d love to turn your idea into a reality! Well… a cartoon reality.