CSE5910 : Multimedia Programming in Java

Lecture : Digital Movies and Animation

In the previous lecture:

In this lecture:

*NB This lecture relies on animations presented in the lecture.


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. (This is what mime artists and dancers do.)

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...

Windsor McCay
Gertie The Dinosaur, Windsor McCay (1914) [movie]
The Flexipede, Tony Pritchett (1967)

The first computer animation made in Britain was The Flexipede (1967) by Tony Pritchett. The film was made on University of London's Atlas computer using its programming language Autocode.

Flexipede's soundtrack was produced using foley techniques. The film was first shown publicly at the Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition (1968), a ground-breaking show that presented a number of cybernetic and technologically oriented artworks.

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

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

One way to generate a frame sequence is to set up a series of still-cameras and have them take a series of shots that can later be played back in sequence.

muybridge horse
miuybridge animation

The Horse in Motion
by British photographer, Eadweard Muybridge (b.1830– d.1904).

The Horse in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge.
"Sallie Gardner" owned by Leland Stanford, 1878.

This same principle was used in the film, The Matrix directed by the Wachowski brothers, to give an effect they called "bullet time".


bullet time green screen

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
muybridge flicker book


image disks
(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!



A storyboard is a comic-book like version of an animation or film in which each picture frame corresponds to a single shot.

Apoidea storyboard

Lecture summary:

CSE5910 Courseware | CSE5910 Lecture Notes