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Animated Cartoon History

Animated Cartoon History
Animated Cartoon History

A cartoon is a film for the cinema, television, or computer screen created with sequential drawings, as opposed to animations in general that contain films with clay, puppets, and other means. Cartoons are still created for commercial, educational, and personal use.

Often the toons receive unusual objects, and the pitfalls the characters turn to each other often end in a weird case, thanks to many reversals of the situation.

They are mostly short films with irony, exaggeration, caricature and, above all, imagination. Cartoons always prefer humor, usually not much emphasis on the lives of the characters: only the moment of action and the elements count to the end of the joke.

Regarding the graphic style and the animation: very important deformations of the figures (stretching, big eyes, four fingers, squash and stretching technique). This peculiarity of the characters is crucial in the scenarios, because it allows to live with these many illogical and funny situations.

As for the scenario: the exaggeration of situations and emotions expressed by the characters whose violence is never dramatized: the characters are often revived after suffering in situations that would have led to their death in normal times; in contrast to the Disney style, which sometimes turns into a tragedy (fairy tale, death of the mother of Bambi).

Animated Cartoon’s Story:

Early examples of attempts to capture the phenomenon of motion in a silent drawing can be found in Paleolithic cave paintings, where animals are often depicted with multiple legs in superimposed positions, clearly trying to convey the perception of movement.

The Phenakistoskop (1832), the Zoetrop (1834) and the Praxinoskop (1877), as well as the usual flip book, were early animation devices that produced by technical means of sequential drawings movements, which evolved only with the advent of the movie.

The first animated projection (screening) was developed in France by Charles-Émile Reynaud, a French science teacher. Reynaud created the Praxinoskop in 1877 and the Théâtre Optique in December 1888. On October 28, 1892, he projected the first public animation, Pauvre Pierrot, in the Musée Grévin in Paris. This movie is also notable as the first known case of film perforations used. His films were not photographed, but drawn directly on the transparent strip. By 1900, more than 500,000 people had attended these demonstrations.

Cartoon History
Cartoon History

The first (photographed) animated projection was “Humorous Phases of Funny Faces” (1906) by newspaper author J. Stuart Blackton, co-founder of the Vitagraph Company. In the film, the line drawings of two faces of a draftsman were “animated” (or brought to life) on a blackboard. The two faces smiled and winked, and the cigar-smoking man blew smoke into the lady’s face; also a circus clown led a small dog to jump through a hoop.

The first animated projection in the traditional sense (ie on cinema) was Fantasmagorie of the French director Émile Cohl from the year 1908. It followed two further films, Le Cauchemar du fantoche [The puppet night dream] and Un Drame chez les fantoches [A Puppenspiel, The Love Affair in Toyland for the American release and Mystical Love-Making for the British release], all completed in 1908.

One of the first successful animated cartoons was Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) by Winsor McCay. It is considered the first example of a real character animation. At first, cartoons were black and white and still. Felix the Cat and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit are notable examples.

The first cartoon to use a soundtrack was in 1926 with Max Fleischer’s My Old Kentucky Home. However, the Fleischers used a De Forest sound system and the sound was not completely synchronized with the movie. Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie from 1928 with Mickey Mouse was the first to use a click track during the recording session that produced better synchrony. “Mickey Mousing” became a household name for any movie action (animated or live action) that was perfectly synchronized with music. The music used is original most of the time, but often musical citation is used. Animated characters usually performed the action in “loops”; H. drawings were repeated again and again.

Although other producers used to make 2-color films, in 1932 Disney produced the first animated series in 3-strip Technicolor, Flowers and Trees. Technicians at Fleischer Studio invented rotoscoping, where animators follow live action to make animation look more realistic. The rotoscoping, however, made the animation stiff and the technique was later used more for the study of human and animal movement rather than directly tracking and copying filmed movements.

Later, other film technologies were adapted for use in animation, such as multiplane cameras with The Old Mill (1937), stereo sound in Fantasia (1940), widescreen process with the feature length Lady and the Tramp (1955) and even 3D with Lumber Jack Rabbit.

Traditional animation today uses traditional methods but is supported by computers in specific areas. This gives the animator new tools that can not be achieved with old techniques.

Animated Cartoon’s Productive Process



A text of very few lines describing the characters, attitude and time in which a short film takes place.


Story that tells the story of the short film; presents the characters and describes the setting.


Text divided into scenes (ie the scenes of the short film) in which you describe what happens, what the characters say, etc.

The realization of an animated drawing as well as a film provides the creation of the storyboard as a first step to translate the text of the script into drawings. The storyboard is very similar to the design of a comic book, but without clouds; the dialogues, if any, are placed under the scenes along with the annotations, while the drawing is crude, full of unresolved features, and that is because the drawings are many, but most importantly not beautiful in themselves, but the photographs best to show.

The storyboard is progressively modified to the final version, comparing the artist team with the director; For example, the painters of the backgrounds need to know where to paint and where instead remain white spaces reserved for the characters.

In advertising, the storyboard is used to present a commercial to the customer before filming. Unlike storyboards for screenplays, these are more detailed and color intensive as they already present a presentation to the client. This compendium of drawings and annotations will then be refined with the team working on the recording, ie actors and screenwriters.

Executive production

Incision of the entries

Before the start of the animation work, a preliminary audio track will be recorded to guide the animators. This track contains only the voices that are useful to the animators to adjust to the number of drawings.

The complete audio track includes voiceover, sound effects and music, but is only played in the post-production phase.

Video Board

Step after the storyboard and the recording of the voices; It consists of a montage realized on the vignettes of the storyboard and the voices of the preliminary audio track.

Animatic or Leica Reel

Before the storyboard is definitely approved, a very close animation is realized, consisting mainly of solid drawings, short and poorly articulated movements, and framing changes. This insight is referred to as Animatic and is the final validation of the storyboard’s validity.

Another equivalent name, less used today, is leica reel; This is because Leica products have been widely used in cinematography in the past.


The background in the traditional caricature was painted on a white sheet, which in this case also contains parts of the characters.

Drawing, animation and timing

The timing is literally the measurement of the times of the different scenes, fundamental to determine the correct number of drawings for each sequence.

The drawings are created using different methods: from the first cartoons in picture by picture, including theme and background; Using the rodovetro, transparent acetate film, which allows to redraw only the moving characters and to fix the backgrounds; until today, when the drawings are made on translucent, semi-transparent paper, to be scanned and assembled by the electronic computer. The animator draws the pictures one after the other to give the figures movement as soon as the pictures are assembled in quick succession.

The drawings are already designed to be shaded and subtracted into the background.


In ancient times, to lay out the individual frames, the leaves of rodovetro, with the above drawn characters, were placed in a frame together with the background, exposed and individually imprinted in the film.

More modern, the characters and backgrounds are scanned, digitally made and summarized into a computer short.


Assembly and correction

The scenes created in this way are put together to create the final result.

In modern productions, it is also possible to correct small errors or to make color corrections or to compensate for the colors of the different scenes and to digitally correct them

Synchronization, sound effects and music

The synchronization, as already written, is recorded before the animation is drawn. The synchronization is usually recorded in a carefully silenced recording room in which the speakers are self-contained with the written lines and on the screen the animations are completed and assembled to follow the figures’ lips. If the synchronization involves more than one person, be sure to put them together to handle the time. The synchronization is very important in a cartoon, given the absence of actors and the presence of characters without their own voice.

Finally, sound effects and music are added, which are also created with screen animations.

Watch TV:

The competition of television pulled the public out of cinemas in the late 1950s, and the theatrical cartoon began its decline. Today, animated films for American audiences are mainly produced for television.

The American television animation of the 1950s showed quite limited animation styles, highlighted by the work of Jay Ward on Crusader Rabbit. Chuck Jones coined the phrase “illustrated radio” to refer to the shabby style of most television cartoons that depended more on their soundtracks than visuals. Other notable programs of the 1950s include UPA’s Gerald McBoing Boing, Hanna-Barbera’s Huckleberry Hound, and Quick Draw McGraw, as well as the reiteration of many classic theater cartoons by Universal’s Walter Lantz, Warner Bros., MGM, and Disney.

Animated History
Animated History

The Hanna Barbera cartoon “The Flintstones” was the first successful prime-time animated series in the United States, which ran from 1960 to 1966 (and since repeated). While many networks tracked the show’s success by devising other cartoons in the early 1960s, including Scooby-Doo, Where Are You !, The Jetsons, Top Cat, and The Alvin Show, none of these programs survived for more than a year Scooby-Doo, who, though not a primetime cartoon, has managed to stay afloat for over four decades). Networks, however, succeeded in hosting these shows as cartoons on Saturday mornings, reaching a smaller audience with more demographic unity among children. Children’s television animation flourished on Saturday mornings, on cable channels such as Nickelodeon, Disney Channel / Disney XD and Cartoon Network, PBS Kids, and Syndicated Afternoon Timeslots.

The planning constraints of the TV animation process, especially resource management issues, led to the development of various techniques known today as limited animation. Full-frame animation (“on one”) has rarely been used outside theatrical productions in the United States.

First-class cartoons for an adult audience were virtually nonexistent in the mainstream of the United States until the 1990s when the Simpsons ushered in a new era of adult animation. Well, “adult animation” programs, such as Aeon Flux, Beavis and Butt Head, South Park, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, American Dad !, Bob Burger, Aqua Teen Hunger Force (currently known as Aqua TV Show Show), and Futurama has increased the number of animated sitcoms on American primetime and evening television. In addition, since the 1960s, animated works from other countries (especially Japan) have played varying amounts in the United States.

Commercial animation:

Animation is very popular in TV commercials, both for its graphic appeal and for its comfort. Some animated characters in commercials have outlasted decades, such as Snap, Crackle, and Pop in promoting Kellogg’s cereals.

In 1957, “Louie the Fly” made his first appearance on Australian television as a cartoon antagonist for Mortein, an Australian brand of household insecticide and was drawn and animated by Geoffrey Morgan Pike. In a jingle created by Bryce Courtenay, he has been used in animated TV commercials since 1962, proudly singing of his own filthiness, claiming he is not afraid of anyone except “the man with the can of Mortein”.

Legendary animation director Tex Avery was the producer of the first Raid “Kills Bugs Dead” commercials in 1966, which were very successful for the company. Since then, the concept has been used in many countries.


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