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Persistance of Vision
Stop Frame
Frame Rates
Movements of models

Joseph Plateau (first animator)
Emile Reynaud (drawing Projector)
Thomas Edison (first electronic projector)
George Pal (models & Puppets)

Willis OBrian (King Kong)
Ray Harryhausen (models Influenced by king Kong)

Tim Burton (Models material)
Mikey Please (Models White on White)


Persistance of Vision -

Joseph Plateau (first animator)
Stop Frame
Emile Reynaud (drawing Projector)
Frame Rates
Thomas Edison (first electronic projector)
Movements of models
George Pal (models & Puppets)
Willis OBrian (King Kong)
Ray Harryhausen (models Influenced by king Kong)
Tim Burton (Models material)
Mikey Please (Models White on White)

Persistance of Vision

Animation has been developed since the early 1800s. Animation works by using
an optical illusion that film theorist of refer to as the persistence of vision. This is
done by displaying a series of still images in quick enough succession so that the
viewer interprets them as a continuous moving image. This works because the
human eye and brain can only process 10 to 12 separate images per second,
retaining an image for up to a fifteenth of a second. If a subsequent image
replaces it in this period of time it will create the illusion of continuity.
This process is important as it keeps peoples visions from going black every time
a they blink. Whenever light strikes the retina and therefore an image, the brain
retains the impression of that light for about a 10th to a 15th of a second after
the source is removed from sight. As a result, the eye cannot clearly differentiate
changes in image that occur faster than this retention period. These changes
either go unnoticed or they appear as one continuous picture. This is the
principle that enables live action film making and projection to work.

Joseph Plateau

Although this theory had been recognized by a Greek mathematician, it wasnt

until 1829 that this principle became firmly established by a man named Joseph
Plateau. In 1832 Joseph Plateau, the Belgium physicist created a childrens toy
that used this effect to create an optical illusion. This was called a
Phenakistoscope. The Phenakistoscope uses the persistence of vision by using
two discs mounted on the same axis, the first disc, has slots around the edge,
whereas the second has drawings of figures and actions drawn around the disc in
circles. When the discs are spun in the same direction and viewed within a mirror
through the slots in the disc, the pictures on the second disc appeared to move.
If the Phenakistoscope was spun to quickly the image would become blurry, and
if it was spun backwards, the viewer wouldnt be able to see the moving image
correctly. These toys were only a basic example of an animation such as a horse
jumping and people would have to rely on a mirror. This technology was only
popular for 2 years as new technologies were arising such as the Zoetrope that
was created by William Horner, which were influenced by the Phenakistoscope
but gave a superior result.
(How have they developed animation techniques?)

Emile Reynaud

In 1877, Charles-Emile Reynaud developed the praxinoscope after the zoetrope.

Reynaud was born in France and developed a technical understanding of visual
science as photographers apprentice. The praxinoscope used a strip of pictures
that was placed around the inner surface of a spinning cylinder. The
praxinoscope developed on the zoetrope by replacing its narrow slits with an
inner circle of mirrors so that visibility improved. The mirror was placed so that
the reflections of the pictures or drawings appeared to be more or less stationary
whilst the wheel was turned. Therefore, when Someone looked into the mirrors
they would see a rapid succession of images that produced the illusion of motion.

The praxinoscope offered a brighter and less distorted picture than the zoetrope,
as with the zoetrope one would have to glimpse through the thin spinning slits.
(How have they developed animation techniques?)

Stop Frame

Joseph Plateaus invention of the Phenakistoscope first started the idea of

animation. This idea progressed and developed by using the theory of
persistence of vision to the idea stop frame animation that is still currently used
today. Stop frame animation- also known as stop motion animation- is animation
that frame per frame. Each frame is taken singularly using materials and physical
objects that are moved. This means that when all these frames are played back
the rapid succession, it creates the illusion of movement. Stop motion uses a
similar understanding to 2D drawn animation such as early Disney, except
physical objects and other materials can be used as well. stop motion animation
is used continuously in modern day commercials, music videos, television shows
and feature films. Although many may think of stop motion as a specific style
such as clay animation, stop motion techniques can be used to create a wide
range of film styles using figurines, objects, drawings and photographs. Early
stop motion was captured using film cameras. This meant that animators could
not see how their work looked until their film was processed. These animators
used surface gages to track where their characters were and how far to move
them. This was because if the animation was not fluid such as if the set was
moved, or the lighting was poor, the work was lost and the animator had to start
the animation again.
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Frame Rates

The human brain can perceive roughly 10 12 individual images per second,
meaning that if the frames are anything above this the brain blends the images
together to perceive motion. With film each frame must be stopped otherwise
the image becomes blurry. But if the film is played with 12 frames per second
with 12 intervals of black the image seems to flicker. To eliminate this flicker the
image must change at 46 times per second which is fast enough that the
persistence of vision within the brain works, and these singular images are seen
as one continuous video. But because of the high cost of film, projectionists
decided to flash the same frame on screen more than once by using double triple
shuttered blades. This means that each frame would flash three times which
meant a total of 48 frames per second.
(Need to link paragraphs)

Thomas Edison

This theory was discovered by inventor and scientist Thomas Alva Edison. Edison
was famous for his inventions such as the motion picture camera and electric
light bulb. But he was also the inventor of the device that was used in stop
motion animation called the Kinetoscope. The Kinetoscope was an early motion
picture device. The devise was not a projector but was designed so that people
could view films individually through the window of a cabinet containing its
components. This invention was the basic introduction to cinematic projection

before video. For the audience watching it created the illusion of movement
because of the strip of film that bared the images and was placed over a light
source with a high speed shutter. The kinetoscope could only be viewed by one
person at a time and the moving images shown only lasted roughly 5-10
seconds. Thomas Edison discovered that frame had to be flashed at 46 frames
per second of (fps) for the human brain to see a continuous image without flicker.

Movement of Models

Due to the increase in technology, the development of stop motion and the
science of frame rates, animation started to become an increasingly popular
genre. To do this, animators explored stop animation by using different materials.
These materials were used for different purposes in animation but specifically to
create models. Models were a good for animation as they could be created in
specific style to give the stop motion a cartoon appearance as well as giving
animators the creative freedom to create fictional characters and creatures
within their stories. But to create these models the materials had to have specific
criteria. For example, the models have to malleable so they can me moved to
replicate real movements, but the models couldnt be so malleable that their
shapes distorted because the characters had to retain their shape. Because of
this, materials such as plasticine and modelling clay are great for creating
models because of the strong colours, the material is malleable but still retains
its shape. Most modern models are made with a metal armature, this is a
framework on which the characters are moulded around. For example, the model
for the models for the stop motion movie Paranorman were made using an
armature and then a silicone rubber body is poured over the armature using a
mould. Because of the many emotions and movements of the mouth when
speaking the creators used replacement animation which is where each
character within the movie has a new mouth shape that is placed onto the
models face.

George Pal

George Pal was Hungarian-born animator who moved to the USA in 1939. Before
Pal moved to the USA he lived in Berlin where he worked at UFA Studios where
he became head of the cartoon department. Pal later set up his own film studio
elsewhere in Berlin where his credentials attracted orders from businesses for
animated advertising. Pal influenced animation because instead of using
common cartoon approach, Pal developed his own take by making inanimate
objects move using the still evolving art of stop-motion. In 1939 when the Nazi
regime installed itself in Germany Pal moved to the USA where he was signed to
Paramount Productions and continued his previous work of experimenting with
stop-motion animated puppets. Pal developed the Puppetoons series and created
over 40 short films that received a special Academy Award in 1943. Pal was
significant in the development of stop animation and its popularity, and hired
some of the most leading animators such as Willis H. OBrian and Ray

Willis OBrian

Willis OBrian worked as a cartoonist and sculptor in teenage years where he

would add moulded rubber to the surfaces of his figures to give his models

character and the freedom to move. OBrian was hired by Edison Company to
produce several historical short films. Because of this his skills with modelling
improved from his initial work using mainly clay to complex armatures which he
covered with rubber skins. OBrian developed his characters for his feature film
King Kong. The model of the King Kong was made using a metal armature with
ball and socket joints and built up using foam and covered with rabbit fur.
Because of this new type of modelling, style of rear projection film effects and
stop animation filming this short film became extremely important in the
development of stop animation.

Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen also worked with George pal and was influenced by willis
OBrians work on King Kong, say that he was "thirteen years old and very
impressionable - and of course I didn't know how it was done at that time. Stopmotion was a secret, they kept it hidden for a good many years. A friend of my
father's worked in a studio at RKO and he told me how it was done and I started
doing it as a hobby in my garden and in my garage." Harryhausen helped Willis
O'Brien in the pre-production and making of 'Mighty Joe Young' which was
completed in 1949.

Persistence of Vision:
Joseph Plateau

Video footage