Evolution of 2D Animation

Since motion picture cameras weren’t invented until 1890s, the art of animation predates live-action filmmaking by nearly 60 years. With such a head start on motion pictures, it’s incredible that it took until 1937 for animation to start getting the kind of attention it deserved in the form of Disney’s first feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. That’s especially shocking when you see the quality of animation that existed even before Disney made a big splash and launched their now iconic feature animation division.

Watch the evolution of 2D animation after the jump.

While Disney is the clear standout here, there are plenty of snippets from films that aren’t tied to the House of Mouse. But animation as a medium owes a lot to Disney for making animation a staple of entertainment. Early animation was something intended to please audiences of all ages, but as Disney grew, their films appeared to be more explicitly geared towards kids while still keeping adults in mind.

As time has gone on, 2D animation has reached its full potential and only variations in style have changed the medium. Meanwhile, technology has made creating 2D animation so much easier than it was decades ago. What once took 24 individual frames to make up a second of footage can now be completed in a computer, allowing for much more detailed, intricate films to be created.

The only downside is that 2D animation has mostly gone by the wayside as computer animation has become the new normal in the medium. Again, it was Disney that led the way with Pixar Animation’s Toy Story in 1995, and after that, there was no looking back. There’s supposed to be a second video diving into that next phase of animation sometime soon, so stay tuned.

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