John Lasseter, CEO of Disney Pixar once said: “The art challenges the technology, the technology inspires the art”. This simple statement becomes profound when one considers the advances made in the creative art of Technological Development in American Animation.
Technology in American Animation
Walt Disney is the most influential person in modern animation. A gifted artist by nature, his creativity reached new heights once he began making animated cartoons for television. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was the first audio and visually synchronized feature-length film. Released in 1937, it was made in 2D.
He would go on to create iconic characters like Mickey Mouse and his friends.
In 1960, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera upped the ante by creating a running animated regular show on television, The Flintstones. This marked the beginning of prime-time animated programmes and influenced the creation of animation teams tasked with the creation of a single project.
Two researchers, Ed Catmull and Fred Parke created the first computer-generated animation in 1972. The animation was of Catmull’s hand and was created using 350 triangles.
This heralded the age of Computer Generated Images (CGI). Pixar took the next step first creating the first CGI short film, The Adventures of Andre and Wally B., before making a full feature CGI film, Toy Story, in 1995.
That was the beginning of 3D.
3D animation came with its own set of challenges most notably the need for high-performance graphics processors. Hardware and software for handling the vast amounts of data required for making these films had to be invented. HP and Dell have provided a suitable solution to the issue of storage space needed for the raw frame data by creating online servers and data centers that could handle vast amounts of data during project creation.
Today, the animation is used in many different and specific forms. Technological advances in the field of animation include; hologram technology, virtual reality, 3D printing, stereoscopic 3D rendering, CGI rendered games, enhanced sci-fi movie effects and whole movie environments like in the Avatar movie. Animated music videos are also popular.
Technology has made animation easier and less data intensive. Artistic limitations are so few that the only concern is the loss of creativity and innovative production ideas due to over-reliance on effects.