method of creating moving pictures

Derived from the Latin word for "soul", animation is a way of making a movie from many still images. For example, Mickey Mouse was an animator. The images are put together one after another, and then played at a fast speed to give the illusion of movement.

An animated bounce ball.

Animation is a relatively new art form, and though the idea of moving images has been a theme throughout ancient civilizations, it was not until late into the 19th century that experimental animation truly began. Today, the industry of animation is booming, making up a huge commercial enterprise.

A person who makes animations is called an animator.

There are three ways to animate:

  1. Draw each frame
  2. Use stop-motion: make a model scene and change it to create a new image (frame)
  3. Make computer graphics
    Many of these images are called "GIF's" (pronounced Jif)
    This is a computer animation of circular waves made by an underwater explosion.


Joy & Heron - Animated CGI Spot by Passion Pictures

Because it is expensive to make, most animation comes from professional companies. However, independent animators have existed since the 1950s in America, with many of those people entering the professional industry. In Europe, the independent moments has existed since the 1910s, with animators like pre-revolutionary Russia's Ladislas Starevich and Germany's Lotte Reiniger.

Many people use a computer animation program called Adobe Flash to create animations. Flash uses a combination of drawing and computer graphics to make animations. Many animations on the internet are made in Flash. Most animators on the internet do not work for professional companies.

Many television shows, especially those made for children, use limited animation. Companies such as UPA and Hanna-Barbera Productions do this. Simple, limited movement makes the images easier to draw, which allows faster and cheaper production of animation.

Famous names in the business


Famous animation studios


United States