A Brief History of Animation

The history of animation collectively spans almost 200 years in total from its beginning roots in 1824 when Peter Roget presented his paper ‘The persistence of vision with regard to moving objects’ to the British Royal Society. While many believed Walt Disney was the first pioneer in animated cartoons, J. Stuart Blackton made the first animated film which he called “Humorous phases of funny faces in 1906. In 1923 Walt Disney revolutionized the cartoon industry forever with the establishment of Disney Cartoon Studios. With advance techniques such as combining 2-d animation and live action in “Alice and Wonderland”, and his use of synchronized sound in “Steam Boat Willy”, Disney became the leading pioneer in the animation industry and his legacy carries on today. After years of development of new and improved animation techniques, and various other projects and studies administered by Universities and companies alike, “Tron” was released in 1982. The film was considered one of the first movies to use CG based special effects, and helped to launch major 3D modeling and CG based industries and studies.With the launch of Disney’s Pixar 3D animation company, Toy Story became the first full-length CG feature film in 1995. Since CG’s rise in popular culture and film, traditional animation has taken a fall from popularity on the big screen.

Japan and the Rise of Anime

Today, Japanese animation has conquered the animation industry and has created a unique and diverse sub-culture of people. Anime as it is called has had a huge impact on American animation culture and live-action film,and has brought visually captivating features such as “The Matrix” to life which was inspired from the genre. Hayao Miyazaki, considered Japan’s version of Walt Disney, was one of the first pioneers of big animated features in Japan.



Mosley, J. (2010, Novenmber 11). Joshuamosley. Retrieved from http://www.joshuamosley.com/UPenn/courses/Ani/AnimationHistory.html

  1. Dear inquehaus,
    While I find your historical context very enlightening, I am surprised you started with the 1800’s in animation. I wrote a paper about Stop-Motion animation in high school, and I began with Ancient Egyptian rotating pots as the first use of animation by humans. I will admit, that start was only partially related to modern-day animation, but it did show how we were already attempting to depict realistic motion in art.
    I never saw the original Tron. Have you? I would love to know more about the starts of 3D animation as well as the other information covered in your blog. Keep up the good work! I can’t wait to read more of your posts.

    ~Lorraine B.

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