The centenary of cartoon history

Who is familiar with the cartoon Have you ever stopped to think about how they were made in the beginning? The story is long and begins even before the emergence of cinema, for example.

Before computer graphics, animations were made by drawing frame by frame, including all the elements that made up the scene: decor, characters and objects.

It was the first type of 2D animation, also called traditional animation or celluloid animation. But that’s only halfway to getting to cartoons like toy story.

Cartoons: the beginning of light projections

The history of animation techniques begins with The magic lantern, by the Venetian Giovanni Fontana. Although it is not possible to say that he is the inventor, it was he who introduced the projection, using a simple flashlight directed at paintings, engravings or photographs on transparent plates, all painted by hand on sheets of glass.

From there to the first film of animation of the world lasted more than two centuries. In France, in 1908, Émile Cohl exhibited animation phantasmagoriamade with trace figures with inanimate objects. Gertie the dinosaurdirected by Winsor McCay in 1914, advanced the use of techniques such as keyframes, interlacing, and animation loops, laying the foundations for what would become the animation industry standard.

But the story of cartoon it would be nothing if John Randolph Bray and Earl Hurd had not created and patented the process known as celluloid animation. It was the evolution of handmade designs.

The Classic Era of Cartoons

The most important aspect of this method is the fact that everything is drawn by hand, frame by frame, then transferred onto transparent acetate sheets, called cellswhere they were painted.

Many cartoons that have become classics, known to all audiences, were made using this technique. Felix Cat, Mickey, WoodpeckerPopeye, Betty Boop, everything has been done in this super complex method, in which countless chart were produced to arrive at the final product.

The break would come decades later, when animation studios began digitizing drawings so they could be digitally colored. It was the introduction of the use of tablets and monitors WacomComment Cintiq, where illustrators could draw directly on the computer.

The steps that led to modernity

(Source: Wikimedia)

The creation of rotoscoping by Max Fleischer gave cartoon natural and realistic movements, in addition to greater production speed. The emergence of the multi-plane camera was another significant development for the segment, as a step forward in celluloid animation.

already the xerography allowed drawings to go straight to film, ensuring cheaper productions, reduced the time needed to complete a project, and ensured more ambitious cartoons.

The cellular animation method only declined during the 1990s. In fact, it is more accurate to say that the method was impacted by advancement in technology, as the old method was replaced by the digital.

Toy Story left a huge legacy

(Source: San Francisco Chronicle)(Source: San Francisco Chronicle)

The use of digital graphics in cartoons was already a reality in the 1960s and gained momentum in the following decade. But animations made purely in computer graphics only became a reality in the 1990s, being toy story the first film made 100% this way.

In its legacy, we can include the advancement of graphics processors, video game developers, and even robotics and artificial intelligence technologies. It was also the film, with its Pixar studio, which solidified the cartoon space, which in 2001 won a category at the Oscars, the main award for American cinema.

In short, it is no exaggeration to say that toy story and Pixar changed the landscape of cartoons and cinema itself. Now this did not mean the end of cartoons made with other techniques, since it is a reality that can vary from studio to studio or even from country to country.

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