History of Animation


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The roots of animation are as deep and old as humans efforts to
create images in the likeness of the world around them. From the
cave paintings of Lascauex and Altimira featuring tonal paintings
of multilegged animals appearing to run, to the hieroglyphs of
chariot riding Egyptians, humans have long sought to depict the
dynamics of motion. The development of such artistic imagery
combined with storytelling also goes back thousands of years.

Modern animation is the culmination of human artistic vision,
technology, and narrative. Every day, week, and month, on thousands
of movie and television screens around the world, animation is seen
is a variety of forms. The forms animation takes at this point are
vast and ubiquitous. From major motion picture studios feature
length epics, to small independently produced shorts,  from
small pop up web banners, video games, and interactive mobile
devices, animation as a medium is used to inform, educate,
persuade, entertain, sell, and interpret information, ideas,
concepts, and morals. It's no longer enough for things to just look
good, and be well designed to be noticed, now it must be dynamic,
fluid, and interactive, and animation is a huge part of this.

Animation at this point is strongly intertwined and a crucial
part of production in television, motion pictures, the internet,
communications, advanced medical fields, engineering and
architecture.  Students interested in these professional
careers and fields should have an understanding and appreciation of
of the complexities and intricacies of the history of the medium.
What makes animation so incredible and amazing is its intersection
of arts and technology, and how each feeds and drives the other.
Disney and Pixar are just two examples of how the creativity in the
medium of animation has helped pushed the development of new

This lesson plan is meant to provide students with an overview
of the major events, developments, and milestones of early
animation (late 19th and early 20th century) within a short period
of time.  It includes a short historical overview, timeline,
and a series of videos that provide a good foundational knowledge
of people, inventions, and institutions that helped shaped the
medium as it exists.

It is suggested and highly encouraged that the history of
animation be explored continually and regularly over the course of
your program. The historical arc of animation is so rich, and full
of amazing examples it is impossible to cover in a few lessons.
 Watching and discussing other videos and clips from on a
weekly or bi-weekly basis can allow you to show students a wide
range of important artists and studios, principles, approaches, and
story lines, and bring them up to the present day.  

Important films, individuals, and studios covered in this

1. James Stuart Blackton's 
The Enchanted Drawing, c.1900

2. Emile Cohl's 
Fantasmagorie, c.1908

3. Winsor McCay premieres 
Gertie the Dinosaur, c.1914

4. Willis O'Brien 
The Dinosaur and the Missing Link. 1915

5. Winsor McCay's 
The Sinking of the Lusitania, 1918

6. Max and Dave Fleischer's
The Tantalizing Fly, 1924

7. Lotte Reigniger 
Adventures of Prince Achmed, 1925

8. Disney Studios,
Steamboat Wille, 1928



The following are a list of excellent web-sites that cover the
history of animation from a variety of perspectives:







Learning Registry Activity


    Topics and Grades

    Grade: 9 to 12, Community College to Graduate