Who Invented Animation – Best Guide Ever On History Of Animation

Animation, As we all know is one of the most amazing ways to have entertainment in our lives. But Do you know, Who Invented Animation. This question often comes to our mind and I am sure not many people are aware of the facts related to history of animation. We see stunning visuals, graphics, and high quality renders everywhere and that creates a huge impact on our lives.

Surely, Movies, Video Games and even in education, the animation plays an important role. But in today’s article, I will discuss to you about Invention of animation. So grab a coffee, sit down quietly and read this awesome guide to learn and know more about when was animation invented.

Who invented Animation

Who Invented Animation.


Charles-Émile Reynaud
Source- Wikipedia

Charles-Émile_Reynaud (A science teacher by profession) from France was the first guy who created first animated screening. Born on 8 December 1944, Charles first created Praxinoscope in 1877 and then Theatre Optique in 1888.

Soon after that in 1892, He projected first animation in public which was Pauvre Pierrot. In 1900, more than 500,000 people had attended these screenings. His films were not photographed. It consists of around 500 printed images. And Reyanaud gave the entire presentation himself by manipulating the images. Reynaud died on 9 January 1918.

J Stuart Blackton.

J Stuart Blackton
Image from Wikipedia

While, First photographed animated projection was by J Stuart Blackton. Name of that play was Humorous phases of Funny faces in 1906. In this film, cartoonist lines of drawings of two faces were animated.

What was special in this movie was, The two faces smiled and winked, and the cigar-smoking man blew smoke on the face of lady. Along with that, a circus clown led a small dog to jump through a hoop which was amazing.

Émile Cohl.

Émile Cohl
Source – Wikipedia

First animated projection in traditional animation was by Émile Cohl (A French Caricaturist, Cartoonist and Animator from France). He was also called as “The Father of the Animated Cartoon” and “The Oldest Parisian”.

Two more movies were followed by this. Le Cauchemar du fantoche [The Puppet’s Nightmare, now lost] and Un Drame chez les fantoches [A Puppet Drama, called The Love Affair in Toyland for American release and Mystical Love-Making for British release], all of those were completed in 1908.

When Was 2D Animation Invented.

2D Animation which is just another form of animation was invented in 1930. That was a time when companies were expanding into 2d animation which was putting together sequence of images.

When Was 2D Animation Invented
Image Source – Flickr

Top Animation Companies which were putting great effort for moving animation industry forward were Walt Disney, Warner Bros and Hanna Barbera. Famous cartoon during this time were like Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porgy Pig.

Traditional animation techniques were followed during this time and classic animation become very famous during this time. Animation Studios like Walt Disney make huge money and later on 3D Animation was followed by every animation studio and a new era begun.

When Did Computer Animation Start.

When Did Computer Animation Start
Image Source- Flickr

Computer Animation started in 1940’s and 1950’s when animators started experimenting with computer graphics by John Whitney (An American animator who is also called as father of computer animation).

Initially uses of computer animation were related to scientific, research and engineering. But later on during 1960-1970’s artistic experimentation began. During late 1980’s computer generated photorealistic 3D was beginning to appear in movies and films and during 1990’s 3D animation using computer was starting to use for entire movie production.

“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.”

― Walt Disney

Computer Animation which is also called as process of generating animated images. Computer generated images are images or renders which are more controllable when it comes to comparing them with hand drawing images.

2d models are created first using character modal sheets with pencil, paper and then may or may not be traced in 2d software like Adobe Flash. 3d models are then created using any 3d software like 3D’s Max or Maya.

Read more on: Maya Keyboard Shortcuts

Proper material shade is applied onto that and with proper rigging and setting keys in 3D software entire animation can be created and rendered for the whole pipeline.

Evolution Of Animation Technology

Evolution Of Animation Technology
Image Source – Flickr

Animation industry since its initial days has faced many changes till today. It have been parts of many eras where 2d artist started from hand drawing images and later it transformed into complete 3D Animation.

Early Days:- 1940’s to 1960’s

John Witney

During 1940’s Animator John Witney and his brother came together and created a series of experimental films on old anti aircraft analog computers. Another amazing work done by Witney was animated intro title from movie Vertigo in 1958. Lateron Witney opened a company Motion Graphics Inc which was focussed on producing movie titles and intros. His 3 sons were also film makers and he died in 1995.

The First Digital Image

The First Digital Image was one of the first programmable Digital computers was the Standards Eastern Automatic Computer (SEAC) which entered service in 1950 at National Bureau of Standards.

And From late 1950s and early ’60s, mainframe digital computers were becoming commonplace within large universities and organisations.


William Fetter who was a graphic designer for Boeing at Wichita. He was responsible of development of ergonomic descriptions of the human body which was not only accurate but also adaptable to different environments. Finally which resulted as the very first 3D animated “wire-frame” figures.

Roadmap for becoming Animator
Image Source – Flickr

Mid 1960’s to Mid 1970’s

The University of Utah

During 1960’s, David Evans who was founder of computer science faculty and Utah was major animation center in this time. Many advanced 3d computer graphics were developed during this period and 1970’s.

Some of the research results included were Gouraud, Phong,  Blinn shading, Texture Mapping, Hidden Surface Algorithms, Curved Surface Subdivision, Real-Time Line-Drawing and Raster Image Display Hardware, and Early Virtual Reality Work. These can also be found in latest advanced 3d graphic softwares like Maya and Max.

Mid 1970’s to Mid 1980’s

Atlas Computer Labs and Antics

Atlas Computer Labs which is a major animation facility situated in Britain. Cartoons like The Flexipade was made by Tony Pritchetthere. Also, Artist Colin Emmett and Animator Alan Kitching first developed solid filled colour rendering in 1972 for the title animation Of The Burke Special TV program which was part of the BBC’s.

In 1980’s

3D Animation in Cinema

3D wireframe imagery was first used in mainstream cinema in the sequel to Westworld, Futureworld (1976). Directed by Richard T. Heffron, it featured a computer-generated hand and face by Utah University graduates.

Also, the famous Disney movie The Black Hole used wireframe rendering using Disney’s equipment. And Science fiction movie Aliens used wireframe model graphics and those renders created a huge impact among audience from all over the world.

Also in the 1980s, a large expansion could be seen clearly in hardware used by productions, graphics workstations, computer power and skilled manpower for working on detailed renders were in demand.

Companies like Autodesk, Softimage, Alias Research, WaveFront and Side Effects Software came into the picture in 1980’s.

Read more: VFX Studios

In 1990’s

Expansion of Computer Animation in Movies

’90s was an era which revolutionized everything. A very big future ahead in the world of CG was clearly seen because of blockbuster hits like Terminator 2 Judgement day and Disney’s beauty and the best.

Terminator 2 was a Visual effect and animation movie while Beauty and the beast was made using traditional animation using CAPS (Computer Animation Production System).  One more movie which changed the entire way we look at movies is Jurassic Park. In this flick by Steven Spielberg, 3D Dinosaurs were integrated with life-sized animatronic counterparts.

Motion Capture

Mocap is movement of external objects and people. Used in a various industries like Animation for movies and games, Sports, Military. This is one of best methods to record the movements to be used in animation industry for reference.

Match Moving

Match moving which is also called as motion tracking or camera tracking. Here, Instead of using special cameras and sensors to record the motion of subjects, match moving works with pre-existing live-action footage.

And after that process is completed, it  uses computer software to track specific points in the scene through multiple frames.

In 2000’s

The first mainstream cinema film fully made with motion capture was the 2001 Japanese-American Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, which was also the first to use photorealistic CGI characters. This movie was having breath taking high qualty CG characters and is still considered as one of best movies.

Many more movies like Lord of The Rings, Spiderman, Superman and much more arrived in this decade which were also raising high standard in Animation and Graphic industry.

In 2010’s

We are in this decade and much more has changed in this time. Movies like Avengers and Spiderman are becoming box office winners. Mobile apps like Candy Crush and Subway Surfers are winning hearts of people.

Animation is becoming more challenging and demand for fully skilled Computer Graphics and Animation guys are increasing more in demand.

Final Words:

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I am a former Animator and Graphic Designer who has worked on many International and Domestic projects and Tv series and E-learning projects. I created Animation Alerts so that people who are struggling to learn animation can learn this craft and grow together.