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Sample Essay:

Animation History Under Camera Project


Animation refers to the ability of providing a static object with movement through either the rapid succession of sequential images or the creation of a digital character or even through the connection between a real human character and an equivalent creature in online setting. The process of animation making developed over time and took path that is less related to paper, drawing and painting instead, it caught a more computerized trajectory.

The traditional animation is still very famous and well established mainly among the old generation as it relate them to the childhood memories as well as the children due to its simplicity and ease of mind processing. The storytelling may be similar to a comic book.

The present project will be divided in three main parts.

  • The first one will present one of the main animators used as a reference at the moment of producing the video project. His biography, the process he mainly focused in for his films creation as well as some of his famous works.
  • The second part will focus in discussing thoroughly the different types of animation. Namely the traditional ones which are the cel and the hand dawn animation as well as the newer animation filming which include computer generated, motion captured, animatrocis and rotoscoping
  • The third part is discussing the video filming, the reasons behind the choice, the results and the method used to film it.

Famous animator:

Yuriy Norshteyn was born to a Jewish family in Russia on the 15th of September 1941. When the World War 2 broke out, his parents flee the village where he was born to settle in Moscow’s suburb. He studied in an art school, followed a two-year animation course and started his career at studio Soyuzmultfilm in 1961. Hi participated in the following year as an animator in a film called “Who said Meow”. Hi build his experience and knowledge after working on over fifty films. Hi had then the chance to share the direction a film called “The first day” in 1968 with Arkadiy Tyurin. Starting from 1970, He worked in a large number of films in which he worked as animator or took directorial credit in it. With the time hi retained his same style, but refined it to become even more elegant and sophisticated. He then achieved great success with his famous film “Tel of Tales” that is reflecting is life in the Soviet Union after the war.

Norshteyn is known for using a specific method that involves different glass planes which gives to his work the three-dimensional effect. Very often, He locates the camera above directed toward series of glass planes, placed in about one meter deep with a distance of 25 to 30 centimeter between each two of them. Each glass planes can move horizontal, forward or backward giving to his characters to effect of moving further or closer.

. In 1985, he was fired from Soyuzmultfilm for spending two years working on film called “The Overcoat” with his usual team members that is including his wife the famous artist Franchesca Yarbusova. He continued working on it as well as starting his own animation school and studio with other leading animators such as Fyodor Khitruk in 1993. He also won “The golden Snail” nickname due to the time spent in this particular project (HowlingPixel, 2017)




Animation techniques:

  • Hand-Drawn:

It is the oldest form of animation, referred too as well as the traditional or the classical animation. It is extremely time consuming and is probably taking the longest time to film. It requires a lot of work, organization, attention to details and a large number of animators to achieve the work. This type of animation is based on drawing every frame by hand to form a sequence in which one drawing is replaced by another. These animated films are made out of thousands and thousands of drawings that are screened at a fast speed including up to 30 frame per second (Telegraph, 2010).

It is also called cel animation as the animation frames used to be drowned on sheets of transparent cellulose acetate. This type of sheets has its particular transparent character that is allowing lying over other sheets or a painted background.

The process is tedious as it requires going through different steps and teams starting with a rough sketches made by the lead animator of the key frames. The sheets are then passed on to the assistant animator who clean up the rough work and add some in-between drawings. The work is afterward sent to in-betweeners who add the rest of the action in separate sheets and finish the drawings.  The scenes backgrounds are also made by a different team of specialists because they require more attention to details as they are seen more often and longer.

  • Stop motion:

The stop motion animation is also time-consuming. It needs a lot of patience, dedication and attention to details. While the traditional animation requires a meticulous backgrounds scenes work, the stop motions can use any background with only one frame at the time letting this way the physical characters moving between the frames be the main focus and perhaps adding digitally more details afterward. Basically, the process is all about taking a photograph of the scene and moves slightly the objects and then takes a new photograph. When the sequence is played faster, it creates the illusion of movement.

Stop motion is very often confused with time lapse technique and it is highly important to highlight this difference. The time lapse technique is based on taking frames in a frequency that is much lower than the one used to view the sequence.

The time lapse technique is then based on a unique variable which is the time while the stop motion is about manipulating more the characters.

  • Computer-Generated:

Animation is generally about taking an object static and bringing to live by adding movement to it and giving it a personality and perhaps a character. The difference between the traditional animation and the computer generated one is that the last one involves software to draw. It is possible to distinguish between two computer animations.

  • A computer assisted which commonly known as the two dimensional animation such as cartoons in which the animator either draw by hand or using a computer the characters. The characters are then positioned in key frames that are defined as the main movements. A mathematic algorithm is then creating the in between frames making the whole process much easier than if it was drawn by hand.


  • The computer generated animation is much more sophisticated work it is a three dimensional work using mathematical algorithm makes the characters capable of breaking the physical laws. The technology certainly revolutionized the industry making the characters more than ever before alive and real.


  • Motion capture:

It is a complex process that is very challenging. The character obtains the movement from the performer. The work necessitates a connection between the actual performer who is making the movements in the actual real world and the computer animated character to which the motion is applied. This type of animation is ideally used when the character need a great amount of movement data in a limited timeframe and budget.

It is important for people to keep in mind that motion capture is not a replacement or an alternative when the budget and time are limited. It is highly needed to understand that when the procedure differs the results also will be different increasing this way the risk of failure or unnecessary expenditure.

  • Animatronics:

It refers to the to use of the mechatronics to create characters which looks like animals than robots , humans, plants or metical creatures. The work in here is made using a robot that is supposed to make achieve a convincing imitation of the desired creature. This process is mainly used in film making and is particularly complex and long. It is on the other hand advantageous over computer generated animation or stop animation as the character is not brought alive through movement but it is physically present and moving in the real time making the viewer partially immerged in the animation environment

  • Rotoscoping:

This method finds its roots in the early days of the cinema when the animators had to trace real live action footage projected frame after another onto paper to use afterward as a motion reference or to copy straightway in the achieved work. It is a way to get more realistic motion through tracing over the animator in the scene. It is in somehow how we would seize today’s motion. This method use is however different to the usual animation creation purposes. It is more about capturing a movement is a particular sitting and transferring it to a different one. Unlike computer generated animation,  this animation method may be close to the traditional animation as it requires creating a key frames as well as the characters within the footage.

Stop animation comparison to the other animation types:

Stop animation can be placed among the methods that do not require any digital tool involvement. It is also a method at is based on using physical tools rather than virtual ones. Stop motion is a method that needs a lot of attention and hard work, it relies on had drawing as well as physical models in addition of camera capturing each frame at the time.

Nowadays, the artists are tending to mix methods in order to refine their works and give to their characters more live and this happens through introducing a new technology to an old one. It is then day after day more difficult to define or to classify the animation with certitude. More and more we are seeing artist taking hybrid paths starting with a traditional animation and finalizing it using a computer software.

Personal video animation: 

Stop motion animation film making is indeed an old procedure, but it became of the hottest methods of film making nowadays. It is maybe the possibility of using single frames one after the other that is bringing it to spotlight again. Its unique advantage seems to make it memorable. Although it is repetitive, time consuming and needs the animator to be show a lot of patience, once the sequence is played quicker looks different and satisfying.

The stop motion animation has an advantage over the other animation techniques as it has an engaging effect. It is possible to motive the audience to behave in a given way using their favourite characters or manipulating characters and backgrounds related to their daily lives. In such a way the animator may create a personal connection between the character and the chosen content that may be for instance the audience sensitization.


The stop motion animation has been a great innovation in the classical animation.  Some if the work has been proven to be repetitive saving time and resources. It is also requiring enormous cognitive activity making the whole process tedious. The attentions to details as well as the focus in the story telling are what make the whole work quality.

A talented animator would spend more time thinking about the background and what the characters will reflect as well as how they will communicate to the audience first. Such a job is about delivering a message. Creating a movement and making people think about certain idea from a different angle. The one that they perhaps did not got the possibility to consider before.  The stop motion animation is perhaps better without involving any sophisticated tool or software. Its beauty is in its simplicity. It may look easy to make but it is just an illusion such as the movement made out the frames.

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