Friday, January 24, 2014

Maybe the Beginning of Animation but Who REALLY Knows Anyway?

In celebration of the new year and new beginnings, I wanted to post about what many people consider to be the beginning of animation. Of course there is always much controversy about whom EXACTLY created the first animated film. Questions of what classifies full fledged animation ranges drastically. 

For example, J. Stuart Blackton is often credited as the Father of American Animation. 

Handsome fellow am I right?

Anyway, J. Stuart Blackton produced a piece in 1900 called The Enchanted Drawing in which he appears to have an interaction with a drawing. This illusion was created using a technique called Stop Motion  animation: IE the process of taking a series of photographs and moving the objects in the scene around between every shot. Still, some believe that Blackton may have borrowed some techniques (stop motion) from famous french illusionist and filmmaker Georges Méliès. This is what I'm talking about-- lots of controversy.

Regardless of whether this is ACTUALLY the first animated short, here's a look at Blackton's piece The Enchanted Drawing:

Although Blackton's work may be the first of the animation era, French director and writer Emile Cohl contributed generously to the animation revolution as well. 

He's there, under the mustache

In Cohl's 1908 short Fantasmajorie, a drawn character interacts with a setting that appears to be constantly shifting and transforming. At one point while watching Fantasmajorie, I'm pretty sure that I saw a sketch of Abraham Lincoln drift by.

Check it out:

Did you notice that Fantasmajorie looked like it was all drawn on a chalkboard? That "chalk on blackboard" look is just that, a look. Rather than filming an actual chalkboard, Emile Cohl first drew 700 drawings the traditional way: black lines on white paper. However, instead of processing the negatives of the film like is done traditionally, Emile projected the negatives. Negative film captures the inverse colors of the picture which creates that white on black "chalkboard effect" you see here.

There's Abe! ^

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