What’s it all about?

I’m not quite old enough to have seen the birth of television, but they weren’t a common household item when I was a youngster. The pictures were a little scratchy compared to modern television and the sound systems were a little tinny, but they were still treasured windows into another world. Books were much more common. We were encouraged to read and use our imaginations, which were, as my mother was fond of saying, our ‘own little televisions. You just need your imagination to bring the pictures to life’.

Essentially that is what animation is all about, bringing still pictures to life. This has been achieved by painting images on cave walls with the limbs in various states of movement; painting bowls or cylinders and spinning them to give the illusion that the painting is moving through each sequential movement. Then the more modern flip books came along, with sequential drawings on individual pages, before animation moved to the ‘modern’ era of film. Apart from the first, all of these methods move the images one by one, at speed, so that the mind focuses on the drawings which appear to be moving.

While the commercial marketing and publishing of animated films may be the province of film studios, the actual production of animation is not outside the reach of the average person. There are sufficient materials and methods for anyone to be able to make non-digital animations, such as flip books. With technology, such as a mobile telephone camera, laptop and open-source software we can digitize the drawings to create an animated film. The methods may not be as sophisticated as a large film studio, but they are certainly achievable with time and patience (and perhaps, a little artistic talent).

As to why anyone would want to create complex animations that can be as complex an answer as the animation itself. Animations can be used purely for entertainment, for us as their creators or for others, but they can also be used as tools. They can be used to demonstrate concepts and procedures in the workplace or in classrooms. They can be used to learn these things too, by students from all levels of education. The only thing which limits their usefulness is our imagination. Which means my mother was right all along; to bring my pictures to life, I need my imagination. Oh boy I can hear her now . . .

“I told you so!”

About Fionabc

I’m Fionabc, an ordinary person living in a country town in Australia and travelling the world via my computer. I enjoy meeting people on my travels, sharing news and generally enjoying being a member of the ‘global village’ the Internet allows us to be. In my offline life, I spend time with my family and enjoy cross-stitch and crochet, especially when the cats leave the threads alone. When they don’t, I grit my teeth and tell myself “it’s a type of puzzle,” and “I enjoy untangling puzzles.” One day, I might even solve it!
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2 Responses to What’s it all about?

  1. jackie-lynn says:

    Imagination is indeed a wonderful thing. As an only child until I was six living on a farm with my grandparents..imagination was necessary. I found ways to entertain myself. Stick horses..imaginary friend..the art of mud cakes ( I made a lot.but the old dog wore more than he ate) ..tricycle with noises of the changing gears. By the way..your mom was right. Just saying.

    • Fionabc says:

      Ooohhh, I remember a bike with those noises too! Much as I love the Internet, I wonder how much imagination we’re denying the next generation by encouraging all the electronic gadgets nowadays. Maybe it’s a case of getting the balance right? And yes, I know my mum was right…….she says so too. (^u~)

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