Beginnings I.

The Forefathers of Animation

Some 35,000 years ago, prehistoric hunters already adorned the walls of their caves with painted images of animals with multiple pairs of legs and multiple heads set in various positions as they attempted to capture their movement.

4,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians produced murals depicting warriors engaged in battle in stop motion.

Ancient Greeks decorated their vases with numbered images of women captured in sequences of dance postures.

Two hundred years ago, a persistence of human vision was discovered.

This phenomenon gave rise to a number of simple optical toys that were given rather elaborate names such as thaumatrope, phenakistoscope, stroboscope, zoetrope, kineograph (these days known as a flip-book) or praxinoscope. All of them were based on a rapid change between images that created the illusion of continuous movement.