Animation is the speedy display of a series of images of 2-D artwork in order to create an illusion of movement. One of the most common ways of presenting animation is a motion picture or video program, although several other forms of presenting animation also exist. Because of the highly entertaining value it has, animation has been used in films as it has the capacity to attract an audience of various age groups, from 8 to 80.
The use of animation in films probably began in the year 1890. J. Stuart Blackton was the first man who put animation in his film titled 'Humorous Phases of Funny Faces'. The film featured a cartoonist drawing faces on a chalkboard, and the faces actually coming to life. After that many filmmakers and producers started using various animations in their films that apparently brought life to their pictures.
Soon, the stage came where the audience gradually got the chance to see films or movies where each and every character was animated. Those are full fledged animated movies. If we take a look at the list of the block bluster movies, we will be surprised to find that animation movies are equally contributing to this list.
Movies like The Lion King, Shrek, Monsters, Toy Story, Aladdin, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Ice Age, Tarzan, A Bug's Life, etc. are considered as the top 10 animated movies both by the viewers and critics. Giant entertainment companies like Walt Disney, Pixar, Fox Entertainment, Dream Works, etc. have invested millions of dollars behind these animated movies and their profit was also up to the expectation.
The Lion King produced by Walt Disney Feature Production is one of the most thought provoking animated movies. It was originally titled the King of the Jungle. In order to achieve perfection the animators who worked on this movie studied the activities and the movements of real life animals too. In fact the filmmakers were such perfectionists that they went to Kenya to study the natural habitat that is used as a background in the film. The film featured green grass, the smoke from the fire, and the waterfall, all presented in perfect animation. The characters were built using 3D computer programmes that looked perfect.
Shrek is based upon a fairy tale picture produced by Dream Works. Though the film is meant for children, the theme has also attracted adults. The plot of the movie is simple and humorous. In fact this movie became so popular that computer games were made on Shrek.
Aladdin, the animated film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, is based on the story of Aladdin and the magic lamp of Arabian Nights. The character of Aladdin was drawn by keeping in mind the faces of various Hollywood heroes and at the end it was decided that he would look like Tom Cruise. Special computer animations were used to develop some scenes of the movie. Some such instances are the full view of the palace, the magic carpet, the breaking up of the cave, etc.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, produced in 1937 by Walt Disney, is considered as one of the first commercially successful animation films. The film is a pioneer in many ways. It took three years to make this film because at that time the animations were not developed. They used many techniques that were in the primary stage of development at that time. They used animations to create rain, lightning, water, reflections, sparkles, magic, etc.
Toy Story, produced by Pixar Animation Studio is an animated movie that is fully created on computer. The story revolves around the toys of a nine year old boy and the story of the film is told from the toy's point of view.
A Bug's Life, again produced by Pixar Animation Studio and released in 1998, tells the tale of ants which think that they are warrior bugs and they have the courage to fight with the greedy grasshoppers. John Lasseter directed it. The story is based on the famous Aesop's fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper.
One can see that most of the animation movies are meant for children. But elders also equally enjoy these because these animation movies have various layers of meaning. With the rapid developments in various animated software, one can surely expect a solid future in producing animation films.