Hand-Drawn to Computers: The Animated Film

Hand-Drawn to Computers: The Animated Film

Let's take a break from the real world and see what started animation in media - we all need some bright colors.

When you compare where technology was in one era and where it is now, it is obvious that things will be improved in ways almost unimaginable. Less than seventy years after the Wright Brothers made their first flight, Neil Armstrong took his giant leap onto the Moon. Comic books were propaganda machines during the Second World War, but by 1989, famed graphic novels such as Watchmen and Maus were top sellers. Film is the same way, with technology and techniques changing almost every year. Among many shining examples of this is animation. What began as simple drawings and music has evolved into almost lifelike computer effects. While the combination of animation and live-action is notable, this is going to focus on entirely-animated films, with some exceptions. So, how did animated movies become a mainstay of the industry?

In 1906, the first animated short film appeared – Humorous Phases of Funny Faces, directed by J. Steward Blackton. This project used chalkboard drawings put to film and sped up in order to give the appearance of motion. This, in turn, led to others trying to jump in on the cartoon market, and “traditional animation” was born following the release of the French cartoon Phantasm. A massive boom in animation started, with political cartoonists started taking animation jobs in the rising film industry. During the silent film era, studios would package cartoons with their releases, making a typical movie-going experience as seeing a cartoon or two, then a few serials (half-hour “chapters” not unlike a television program), a newsreel, another cartoon, then the feature film. In 1926, the oldest surviving animated full-length film was released, being The Adventures of Prince Achmed. Many of these films are lost, with only frames or rough descriptions available. However, at this point in time, none of the features used all hand-drawn animation for the entire project.

Meanwhile, Walt Disney was running an animation studio when it went bankrupt. Disney formed another company and produced the Alice Comedies, which combined a live-action girl with animated characters. He also created Steamboat Willie, which introduced Mickey Mouse. Warner Brothers started bringing in people to work on their cartoon packages, and Disney kept his people working. In 1934, Disney announced his first feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. During the production, the animators who were working on Betty Boop cartoons were brought in, as Disney's team was not used to animating people. These animators had a vastly different design for Snow White, a modest dress that showed her ankles and fuller facial features. Disney declared this too “risque” for the audience, and the design was changed. Going over budget countless times, the project was almost set to be a failure. This would be proven wrong following the 1937 release, to widespread acclaim. Walt Disney led his company to produce at least one film a year, in addition to countless shorts. At Warner Brothers, Mel Blanc and Tex Avery were just starting out, and the Looney Tunes followed shortly thereafter. Disney and Warner Brothers became fast competitors, a rivalry that continues to this day.

To achieve the lifelike motion of the characters, Disney employed live-action models for the films. A difficult to draw scene would be filmed with some props and actors in full costume, and then the animators would use that to work the scenes out on paper. This method would be used and expanded upon in a process called rotoscoping. A live-action reference was filmed, then animators drew over the frames of the actors to match the cartoon – think of it as early motion capture. The controversial Song of the South and the less-remembered Reluctant Dragon were the first features to have actors directly interacting with animated characters. As time went on, more and more techniques were used, and the Japanese film industry began producing animated films and television programs. To go into an explanation about every innovation and new territory the animators found themselves discovering would be almost impossible. The world of animation exploded in the Cold War era, leading to more and more people trying to push the limits. One of these people was none other than George Lucas, visionary behind Star Wars.

During production on The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas established the Graphics Group as a division of Industrial Lights and Magic (ILM). They were tasked with finding new ways of creating images for film, using any and all resources. The 1982 Disney film Tron introduced computer-generated environments and pushed the Group to attempt it themselves. Meanwhile, John Lasseter was fired from Disney and showed his plans for a computer-animated film. Working as a freelance animator, Lasseter made The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. Around this time, Lucas was finalizing a bitter divorce, and Lucasfilm was losing money due to the decline of licensed merchandise for Return of the Jedi. After the team developed the Pixar Image Computer, Lucas began shopping the company around, eventually making a deal with Steve Jobs, then recently fired from Apple. The Graphics Group was renamed Pixar in 1985, and Lasseter continued to work with the team to produce computer animation, winning Oscars in the process. Eventually, this led to an attempt to create an entirely computer-animated feature. In 1995, Toy Story took the film industry by storm and launched a multi-billion dollar empire for Pixar.

American animation began leaning towards CG, while Japanese animation (anime) was still a traditional medium. Studio Ghibli's famed string of hit films continued to keep hand-drawn animation afloat in Japan, such as Kiki's Delivery Service. By the early 2000s, Dreamworks entered the scene as a competitor for Pixar. Disney, who had distributed the Pixar films, wanted total ownership of the studio, and when they refused, Disney created Circle 7, a failed animation studio that would have produced sequels to Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. Eventually, Pixar and Disney were able to strike a deal, and Pixar was free to make the sequels at their leisure. The last traditionally animated mainstream American film was The Princess and the Frog – while there are others, it is the last one to be given true fanfare and promotion. Since then, the studios have moved to only CGI.

In the last one hundred or so years of film, animation has changed as dramatically as any other tool or method. From simple flipbooks to Moana and Frozen, the cartoon has become a mainstay of cinema. Since the anti-Axis propaganda of World War II, we have evolved animation into a powerhouse and a genuine respected form of art. All because of some artists trying to test the waters of what early film could do, Walt Disney was able to create a studio that now owns one network, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and the list goes on and on. Every year, the Academy Awards features categories for features and shorts made by a team of artists, digital or hand-drawn, using cartoons to present their story to the world. Considering all these advancements in technology, we must wonder what animation will look like in another one hundred years.

Cover Image Credit: Walt Disney/Disney

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Top 5 budget-friendly kids’ fashion tips for 2018

Kids are angels of god and to care for them is very important for every parents.

Raising a child is one of the most fulfilling experiences in the world. There is no manual describing the perfect way to raise a child. When you have an energetic baby jumping around the house, all you can do is just go with the flow. 

Kids grow too fast. They outgrow the cutest clothes in a matter of weeks, and then you are left with the desire to replace those old outfits with new ones that your kid will rock every day. 

Clothes for children happen to be more expensive than those for adults. You find yourself in the children’s clothing aisle frequently while you wear the same shirt on repeat. It is easy to splurge on kids’ fashion, thanks to the amazing styles that hit the stores regularly. Sooner or later, you regret the haul and the dent in your wallet.  

Today, we are going to share 5 tips to help you devise a strategy that can keep your kids looking like a million bucks while you stay on a budget. Try ones that work for you, and you will spot a big difference in your spending pattern. 

Ask family or close friends for clothes their kids have outgrown:

It is the easiest thing to do, and safe for your baby as well. If you have friends and family who have had kids a few years ago, you can get baby clothes from them. Most parents pack away old clothes safely for their next arrival. 

You can keep your kids in top fashion by using what your friend’s kid has outgrown. You’ll find that many of these items haven’t been worn more than 3-5 times and are almost as good as new. 

Manufacturers also send cards and samples to maternity wards. The busy staff forgets to dispatch this lot, so you can ask them if there are freebies around. 

Use coupon websites: 

You will be thrilled to see how coupons can save you money. Coupon websites make shopping more fun. With coupons, you can shop at your favorite outlets at a discounted price. 

For example, at Couponobox.com, you will see a list of brands where discounts can be availed. In fact you can get as much as 50-70% off on your favorite kids’ brands.

Moreover, with coupon websites you can enjoy big seasonal discounts and sales, weekly promotions and much more, saving you some major cash. 

You can even become a ‘Super Couponer’ by paying attention to the right deals. Now you can fill your shopping cart to the brim at your favorite children’s clothing stores. Just use Justice promo codes for kids’ shopping and viola!

Don’t miss garage sales:

Garage sales are like treasure chests. Those who have experienced a garage sale will agree with this statement. It is the ideal place to look for baby clothes that are affordable. 

Clothes which would normally cost you hundreds of dollars can be bought for $50 or $100 at a garage sale. If you are a keen seeker, almost everything can be bought from a garage sale. You must be at your creative peak when you go to a garage sale because that can help you turn seemingly useless clothes into fabulous masterpieces. 

Pay with cash:

An MIT study found that people were ready to pay 65% more for a basketball game because they were using cards to pay for it. Retailer-branded credit cards have much higher APRs than standard credit cards—23.2% vs. 15% - Time. 

In your case, that adorable basketball t-shirt may be costing you much more because you are swiping the plastic. If you want to keep a tab on your purchases, pay with cash. It will keep you on your target and save a lot of money. 

Layer old clothes with new pieces:

It is not necessary to buy seasonal clothes every time. You can layer your kids in old season’s clothing and put a new jacket as a top layer. Be a little creative, and you will soon master the art of layering your kids in multiple socks, shirts, and rompers to prepare for biting cold while they look fabulous!

Last word:

So, there you go. These are the top tips which can keep your kids looking great throughout the year. You have to think creatively and style every outfit accordingly. Because your youngster is already super adorable, it will only take smart purchasing to dress her to look her best. 


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10 Musical Productions You Don't Want To Miss Out On

From "Les Miserables" to "Miss Saigon!"

Let's be honest here, we all have guilty pleasures, and most of those are musicals. In my case, that guilty pleasure is not that subtle, but nonetheless, just as big. I love musicals, in film, but especially in theatre. So I've made a list with some of the best musicals ever!

1. "The Wiz"

"The Wiz" is generally known for the movie starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, but that movie is actually based on this wonderful musical, which is a retelling of L. Frank Baum's 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'. The musical has great songs, including one of my favorites 'Home'. I saw this musical in my home country, the Netherlands, in 2006.

2. "Mamma Mia!


"Mamma Mia!" is a jukebox musical based on the songs of ABBA. It is generally known for the movie adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. But years before that it was an original musical! My favorite ABBA song features in the show is: 'The Winner Takes It All'. I unfortunately have never seen this musical live.

3. "The Phantom of the Opera"

"The Phantom of the Opera" is cult in musical land and is the longest-running musical on Broadway, till this day. Sierra Boggess is one of my favorite Christines ever (she starred in the 25th anniversary edition!), you can hear her singing my favorite song from the show in the video above. I unfortunately have never seen the musical live.

4. "Chicago"

"Chicago" is also a cult musical and has been in various countries. "All That Jazz" is a classic musical sing-a-long and also one of my favorite songs from the show. Our very own Dutch musical artist, Pia Douwes, plays Velma Kelly on Broadway and that, of course, brings pride to my little country. I have seen a high school performance of the show, but never the real deal. Chicago was also made into a movie starring Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

5. "Into The Woods"

"Into The Woods" is musical containing elements from various fairy tales. It's dark stories and humor make it one of my all-time favorites! It was also made into a movie in 2014 starring Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and many more. 'No One Is Alone' is my number one favorite musical songs of all time and it is from this show. I have also been lucky to see the show live in the Netherlands, in 2017!

6. "Les Miserables"

"Les Miserables" is also a classic musical, that you have to see at least once in your life (even though I haven't yet, but I NEED to). With classic songs as 'I Dreamed A Dream', 'On My Own' and 'One More Day' it contains incredible musical songs, but my favorite is 'A Little Fall Of Rain'. It was also made a movie in 2012, it starred Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and many more!

7. "Elisabeth"

"Elisabeth" is the most successful Austrian musical in history. There's no English version, but in the Netherlands it was also immensely popular (when it was translated into Dutch). It's also really popular in Asia, where it has been adapted in various languages. Pia Douwes, known for her Broadway role as Velma Kelly, launched her career with the title role of Elisabeth and has played it in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. Elisabeth is based on the life of the Austrian empress of the same name. My favorite song can be heard above and I was fortunate enough to see an 'In Concert' version of the show since it hasn't been played in Dutch since in 2001.

8. "Miss Saigon"

We're in the hard part of the list. Since Elisabeth the choices are one, to be honest. I cannot really make a choice between my top 3, but this is the one I made. "Miss Saigon," the musical that launched Lea Salonga's career is one of the best in my opinion. It contains so many beautiful songs, but I choose for 'I'd Give My Life For You'. I have no words for this show, it's so good. I saw it live in its Dutch version in 2012 and it was amazing.

9. "Rent"

"Rent" is a rock musical based on the opera 'La Vie Boheme' and it is one of my favorite musicals ever. It's so inclusive, diverse and doesn't shy away from hard topics. My favorite song is 'Goodbye Love', but songs like 'One Song Glory' and 'Without You' are also favorites. The musical was made into a movie in 2005 starring most of the original cast, including Idina Menzel (Wicked), but also new faces as Rosario Dawson (known now for her role as Claire Temple in the Netflix Marvel series).

10. "Wicked"

My all-time favorite musical must be "Wicked" starring Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel. Although our very own Dutch Willemijn Verkaik is a close second Elphaba (she has played her for years now in Germany, the Netherlands, West End and Broadway). This show tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz and it is amazing. I saw in 2014 in the Netherlands, with my favorite song being 'No Good Deed'. It will be made into a movie, scheduled for 2019, with no cast yet announced!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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