Implications of the Cel Animation Technique

  • Kristin Thompson


If technology were the only factor determining the creation of motion pictures, animated films would logically share a prominence equal to that of live-action films in the history of the cinema. Certainly the optical toys generally credited with having led up to the invention of the cinématographe, were more often dependent upon drawings than photographs. Emile Reynaud’s Praxinoscope projected a moving strip of images onto a screen for a paying audience in 1892, three years before the Lumière première; his strips were hand-drawn, did not repeat in cycles as the zoetrope bands did, and lasted for several minutes each. Photographed onto modern film stock, they can still be shown as animated cartoons. (After the invention of the cinématographe, however, Reynaud did not adapt his method by photographing the drawings onto a strip of film).


Motion Picture Comic Strip Cast Shadow Linear Perspective Animation Technique 
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  1. 1.
    Frederick A. Talbot, Moving Pictures, How They Are Made and Worked (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1912).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    E. G. Lutz, Animated Cartoons (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1920).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    This and other information about the early invention of animated films from Nat Falk, How To Make Animated Cartoons (New York: Foundation Books, 1941), pp. 17–18.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Richard Schickel, The Disney Version (New York: Avon, 1968).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See title pages, Robert Benayoun, Le Dessin animé après Walt Disney (Paris: Jean-Jacques Pauvert, 1961). UPA (United Productions of America) was set up in the 1940s by a breakaway group of animators from the Disney Studios and developed a distinctive and highly influential style, usually described in such terms as ‘economical vivacity’, ‘spare elegance’ and so on.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Robert Russett and Cecile Starr (eds), Experimental Animation (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976), p. 92.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    As listed in Daniel J. Weintraub and Edward L. Walker, Perception (California: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., 1966), pp. 22–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited and Teresa de Lauretis and Stephen Heath 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin Thompson

There are no affiliations available

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