Nose on the Prize, but Which Oscar to Sniff? [Free registration may be required]
ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive
Origins of American Animation, 1900-1921 [Real Player, Quick Time]
Animation World Network
Seven or eight decades ago, it was a bit easier to identify what traditional film animation looked like. If pressed for an example, most people might mention the iconic 1928 cartoon, "Steamboat Willie", which features the perpetually smiling Mickey Mouse piloting a steamboat. These days, while traditional storyboards remain a part of the creative process, animators have tools like rotoscoping, live-action hybrids (a la "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"), cel overlays, and numerous other techniques to bring to their craft. Some of these technical matters have been under closer examination since 2002, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences created the Oscar for best animated feature. Under the guidelines, films nominated in this category must have "frame-by-frame" animation, which means that recent films such as "Beowulf" and "Ratatouille" would qualify for nominations in the coming year. "Beowulf" utilized the motion capture technique, and some animators remain skeptical of whether this technique qualifies as "animation". Of course, the lines between animation and other forms of cinematic expression have always been blurry, and it will remain a subject of debate by members of the industry and others for some time to come.
The first link will take readers to a piece on this recent debate in the world of animation which appeared in The Arizona Republic this past Sunday. The second link leads to another piece on this subject from this Wednesday's New York Times. Moving on, the third leads to the very fun and interesting ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. Here visitors can view historic animation manuals, clips from the early days of movie animation, and so on. The fourth link leads to a site created by animator Lynn Tomlinson as a way to offer "alternatives to the history taught by the big studios." The fifth link leads to the most welcome "Origins of American Animation Site, 1900-1921" site, where visitors can watch rare examples of early American animation, including the celebrated short "Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse at the Circus". Persons hoping to learn more about the nuts and bolts of the animation industry will enjoy the last link, which features pieces on "How To Succeed In Animation" and a cornucopia of newsletters and information on upcoming releases.