Creating Video

You are here : HomeCreating AnimationsReview Existing Animations

introduction1.1 History of Animation


Although we may think of cinema and animation as modern inventions, the history of moving pictures goes back almost 150 years to the early days of photography. Audiences at that time were entertained by optical toys like the zoetrope, praxinoscope, phenakistiscope and magic lantern, which all created an illusion of motion by rotating sequences of still images.


The persistence of vision

Why do separate pictures seem continuous and why do figures appear to move about even though we
know they are only still images?

One widely held explanation for the phenomenon, first put forward by the Ancient Greeks, is known as the 'persistence of vision'. According to this theory the brain is tricked into seeing a series of images flashed before the eye as a single moving image. This is because the retina retains each one for a tenth of a second before processing the next.

If this is done at a rate of ten frames per second (fps) or higher, the after-image seems to blend smoothly into the next picture creating the illusion of motion. This explanation is still widely held, but many scientists now reject the theory as over-simplistic and offer more complex explanations relating to motion, detail and pattern detectors in the brain, which are said to create the visual experience through combining their outputs.


A praxiniscope in action (YouTube Link)

Previous PageMain Site Indexsection indexNext page