Animation – Is It Art?

by Annie Saxena on Feb 10, 2023

Animation – Is It Art?

Animation is the visual art of making a motion picture from a series of still drawings. Although twenty first century animation is dominated by computerized film and video technology, the creative figure drawing skills of graphic artists remains an integral and the initial part of the process. The very first step of animation is pure art. Animators develop something that is creative and novel, and that is the very core of what Art entails.

Animation started long before the development of cinematography in the form of ancient shadow plays and paintings. Some early filmmakers, including J. Stuart Blackton, Arthur Melbourne-Cooper, Segundo de Chomón and Edwin S. Porter experimented with stop-motion animation around 1899. During the 1910s, the production of animated short films typically referred to as “cartoons”, became an industry of its own and cartoon shorts were produced for showing in movie theaters. In 1932, the first short animated film created entirely with Technicolor (using red/green/blue photographic filters and three strips of film) was Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees. But, the first feature film that was done with this technique was again Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Computer animation became popular since Toy Story (1995) which was the first feature-length animated film came out. Animators create characters and give life to them through their art. Their art consists of bringing something into existence through their creative visions and by using technology. Art is about self-expression and creativity, it’s about projecting your world views in unique and attractive ways. Animators create unique spaces via their art and let us be a part of them, virtually. Growing up, it’s these animated films and cartoons that made us fall in love with the movies and television and gave us iconic characters that stayed with us forever. Movies and cartoons like Lion King, The Jungle Book and Tom & Jerry hold a special place in our hearts.

There are various types of animation. Traditional animation or hand-drawn animation was the process used for most animated films of the 20th century wherein the images were drawn in sequences to create the illusion of movement. Limited animation involves the use of less detailed or more stylized drawings and methods of movement and contains less drawings in a second. It’s an economic technique. Rotoscoping is a technique patented by Max Fleischer in 1917 where animators trace live-action movement, frame by frame. Stop-motion animation is used to describe animation created by physically manipulating real-world objects and photographing them one frame of film at a time to create the illusion of movement. Computer animation encompasses a variety of techniques, the unifying factor being that the animation is created digitally on a computer. Wherein no hand-work is required. There are however, more technical and in-depth details pertaining to these categories of animation.

We should not limit ourselves to the definition of art that talks about musicians, painters, sculptors and the like. In today’s day and age, Art has an encyclopedic definition and an extensive reach. Artists have copious amount of platforms to showcase their talent as well as promote their work. Animation is yet another branch in the tree of innovative art, and should be celebrated and recognised by all.