History of Animation

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Watch closely as we pull this rabbit out of this seemingly empty hat…or watch carefully as this card seems to float out of the deck by itself…..Wouldn’t it be easy if a little magic and illusion was all you need to make your business and marketing more memorable?

Well…as a matter of fact, that is all you need. And we’re not talking about a card tricks, or pulling rabbits out of hats. We’re talking about Animation, and how your business can use it.

In a nutshell, Animation is a graphic representation of drawings to show movement within those drawings. The series of drawings are linked together and, more than likely, photographed by a camera. When the drawings are played back in rapid succession (24 frames per second is the norm) there appears to be seamless movement within the drawings.

There are several pioneers in this genre, including American Winsor McCay, whose Gertie the Dinosaur was the first multi media animation. Early animations started popping up around 1910, and were basically a simple drawing photographed one at a time. Obviously, the whole system was extremely labor intensive. The celluloid development around 1913 helped make animation easier to produce. Unfortunately in the early days, animation was seen as a gimmick. While it was amazing and magical, that was about it. What do you do with it from there? It wasn’t until a trailblazer by the name of Walt Disney came around, that the history of animation was turned upside down.

Up until then, there wasn’t any sense of character or emotion with animation. With the breakthrough film of Steamboat Willie, the third of the Mickey Mouse series, things were a changing. It was the first cartoon that included a full post-produced soundtrack, featuring voice and sound effects printed on the film itself. This short film showed an anthropomorphic mouse named Mickey. Mickey had been neglecting his work on the steamboat, and was instead making music using the numerous animals that were on the boat. With the creation of Mickey Mouse, it gave animation a sense of character that it had never had before.

After it’s success, Warner Brothers Cartoons was founded in 1933. The biggest break for the new studio (and for animation in general) was Disney’s release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. It was the first animated feature film, and it was completely made using hand-drawn animation. You could say that Mr. Disney took animation to the next level….and then some. At 83 minutes, it was considered long, and a huge risk for Disney, as no one believed it could be done, or would find an audience who cared.

Yet, the adaptation of the Grimm Brother’s fairytale was a huge success, and with it began an era when Disney dominated the mainstream, and making a fortune at the box

office. It was the income from Snow White (42 million from U.S. and Canada alone) that allowed Disney the freedom to build a state-of-the-art studio in Burbank, California. He would follow Snow White with epic films such as Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Bambi, just to name a few.

Disney was a master at combining a sharp story telling talent with masterful artistry. The result is an animation studio that is now responsible for creating some of the most beloved films ever made…..from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, to more current hits such as Frozen and Big Hero 6, the list is mind boggling. And it all started with a simple mouse named Mickey.

While most of us won’t have a Mickey Mouse creation in our lifetime, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from Mr. Disney’s genius in the story telling world of animation. Walt would be amazed at the fast-paced society today, but love how far the technology has come. The fast-paced society can pose a problem for businesses, as everyone everywhere is saturated….emails, texts, Facebook, linked in…ads are everywhere and we’re bombarded about every second of every day. Business and marking folks know that potential clients need to be entertained, not just presented with a boring script or facts on the company. How in the world do you capture the attention of today’s customer? As Disney would point out, you make them care, and grab their attention.

Video animation can be a powerful digital media tool, and allows companies to communicate effectively with an online audience of consumers. Video Animation’s strongest point is that it grabs attention right from the get go. With short attention spans abundant, it fits well with the consumers. It’s easy to watch, and fast and to the point…..it just communicates the point quickly. Let’s face it; most businesses have a few seconds to get the point across before folks move on to something else. According to a Forester Research study, one minute of video animation is worth 1.8 million words. No wonder video animation can also be easy to understand, whether the consumer is 8 or 102 years old. Animation can help transform the message, making it easier to understand and visualize. At the same time, if the animation is well done, it’ll keep your consumer audience engaged in the story or message. Overall, it creates a lasting impression, just like Mickey Mouse. Your audience will not only remember your company’s name, but it will leave an impression of what your company actually does.

So how about it. Ready for a little magic in your businesses life? Remember, in the words of Walt Disney, “If you dream it, you can do it.”

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rachael@doukasmedia.com