Animation is more than 100 years old. You have seen lots of animated films. But do you know what animation is? Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images to create an illusion of movement. The most common method of presenting animation is as a motion picture or video program, but there are other methods too, for example, books.

Animation can be made with hand-drawn images, computer generated imagery, or three-dimensional objects, e.g. puppets or clay figures, or a combination of techniques.

In animation, the artist (called animator) chooses a scene or a character (a man, for example) and draws a picture (called a frame). Then he draws a new picture, similar to the first one, but not exactly identical. An object or a part of the body of the character has changed its position slightly. The animator does the same in the following pictures. Sometimes, the animator does not use drawings but three-dimensional models of characters. This type of animation is called stop-motion and it is still popular. Directors move objects and take pictures of them. Stop-motion animation is a very slow process – but audiences love the results!

Then the images are photographed or presented on a projector or a computer screen in rapid succession, usually, 24, 25, or 30 frames per second. In a full-length film there are usually hundreds of pictures for every minute of action!

Animated films usually have voice actors, some of them are really popular and famous. Think, for example, of Jim Carey, Cameron Díaz or even Santiago Segura or Antonio Banderas in Spain!.

In traditional animation, animators drew the images on paper by hand (hand-drawn animation). Animation became easier when celluloid was invented. Celluloid was a clear plastic film that artists could draw on. Walt Disney was the most famous celluloid animator. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in 1937, was his first feature film.

In recent years computers have helped animation develop really fast and CGI (computer generated images) have become very popular. One of the most spectacular animated films using CGI is Avatar. In the film the animators used motion capture technology to capture real actors and use their movements to create lifelike digital characters The director, James Cameron, waited ten years for the technology. He wanted the film to be perfect. Have you seen it? Did you like it? Why or why not?

Thanks to Michael for this nice animated video he wanted to share with us!