CSE3325: Moving Pictures

In the previous lecture:

In this lecture:

*NB This lecture relies heavily on material presented on video tape.

Most of the video material cannot be published on the WWW for copyright and practical reasons. It makes little sense to publish the comments about the videos without the source material itself so you'll have to attend the lecture and take notes!


Animate - breathe life into, enliven through...

  • Movement

  • Character / Personality

  • Feeling / Emotion

  • Etc. etc. etc.

Movement is a powerful medium through which to convey a message. (Go ask Charlie Chaplain!)

Happy Animator


Here's a page of animation visual references. There are more mentioned throughout these lecture notes. The best thing to do to improve your work (besides practice) is to watch lots of animation and film (reading about it is helpful too, but not as useful as watching it.)

Some sample reference books:

Gertie the Dinosaur was the first real animated character. Gertie was created by cartoonist Winsor McCay in 1914. Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions, Gertie cannot appear in person on this site. But you can read about her and check out some pictures elsewhere on the web.

Gertie Dinosaur

Animation is the process of creating images one at a time to be displayed rapidly in sequence giving the illusion of movement...

Persistence of vision is the blending together by the eye/brain of rapidly displayed sequential images, giving the illusion of movement.

Animation or film frames must be stored for rapid, sequential retrieval and display if persistance of vision is to be relied upon for creating the illusion of movement.

Some storage media include:

  • Cine frames / film

  • Video frames / tape

  • Flip-book pages

  • Zoetrope cylinders
  • Rotating disks

  • Quicktime / MPEG movies

  • GIF89a files

(Geneva Museum of the History of the Sciences)
Image disks
(Geneva Museum of the History of the Sciences)

How can you create the images to be photographed, digitized or flipped through?

Live action:


If you can see it and change its appearance, you can animate or film it!

*NB The examples of animated films given above are not necessarily favourites of the lecturer. They have been included as examples only!

Animation and / or film may be used for

  • Artistic purposes

  • Storytelling

  • Displaying data (scientific visualization)

  • Conveying false / misleading information (advertising, evidence in court!)

  • Instructional purposes

  • Many other purposes too!

As with all your work, don't lose sight of your message!

Examples of inappropriate (or annoying) animation on the web

Apoidea storyboard Storyboarding

Major areas to master in film or animation production.

  1. Object Space & Motion

  2. Lighting

  3. Sound (dealt with in other lecture notes)

  4. Time

Details to read through in your own time...

Object Space & Motion

Places to look for complex animated characters:

  • Akira (Classic Japanese anime)
  • Jurassic Lark (Boring US blockbuster)
  • Starship Bloopers (Funny US flop)

Places to look for simple animated characters:

  • Wallace and Gromit (Aardman Animation)
  • Road Runner (Warner Bros.)
  • Toy Story (Pixar)

Space (including screen space & setting)

Camera (& Lens) Motion

  • In keeping with the style of production?

  • Interesting?

  • Confusing or disorienting?

  • Distracting or jarring?

  • Does it show all that needs to be shown?

Object Motion

  • Too rapid?

  • Confusing or disorienting?

  • Distracting?

  • Is it well edited? (Requires considerable study!)


  • Lighting sets the mood of a shot

  • Lighting sets the time of day or night

  • Lighting reveals or hides

  • Lighting deepens or flattens

  • Lighting can make or break animation and film


  • Is there time to relax?

  • Are there dense and exciting periods?

  • Is the sequence boring?

  • Is the sequence exhausting?

Getting your movie 'in there'
(into the computer for digital playback)

Animated GIF89a files

MPEG, Quicktime, AVI and Other Movie Formats

*NB Software like Macromedia's Director & Flash can also be used to create animation. These may be displayed in a web browser using plugins.

For example, here's a site of movies.

Animations useful for you to view include:

Other sites of interesting animations & characters include:

This lecture's key point(s):

CSE3325 courseware | CSE3325 lecture notes

©Copyright Alan Dorin 2005