Sunday, July 29, 2012

Animation Before Movies

In the period between the discovery of the principle of persistence of vision and the invention of flexible film stock, animation was born.  It was made with a variety of toys, all given impressive Greek names like Thaumatrope, Phenakistoscope and Zootrope (see the comments for the derivations of these words courtesy of Daniel).  These toys combined drawn or painted images in ways to give the illusion of movement.  The technology behind animation has become a lot more sophisticated, but it's all built on on the same principles exploited by these toys.

Richard Balzer is a collector of these toys and the images they used and he has a site where the images are animated via Flash.  This means that if you're browsing on an iPhone or iPad, you will not be able to see the motion.  He also has a blog that deals with these toys as well as other 19th century amusements such as the Magic Lantern.

While the animation is necessarily cycled and limited in duration, we have a modern equivalent in the form of animated gif files.  The more things change...

No comments:

Post a Comment