Animation History 03: Animation Before Film (First Half)

01. The Magic Lantern is an image projector using pictures on sheets of glass. Since some sheets contain moving parts, it is considered the first example of projected animation. “Place a convex lens tube at both ends of the side of the lamp and draw a small image on the groove in the tube. When the candle is reflected by the concave mirror to the first lens, the lens focuses the light on the glass slide, and The second lens magnifies the image illuminated by the light and projects it onto the screen or wall.” (1603)

02. A Thaumatrope is an optical toy that was popular in the 19th century. A disk with a picture on each side is attached to two pieces of string. When the strings are twirled quickly between the fingers the two pictures appear to blend into one due to the persistence of vision. (1824)


03. Phenakistiscope was the first widespread device for showing animation that created a fluid illusion of motion, which is regarded as one of the first forms of moving media entertainment that paved the way for animation. One of the Phenakistoscope variants is a disc that is mounted vertically on a handle. A series of pictures are drawn around the center on the disc, which is the corresponding frame of the animation, and the picture is surrounded by a series of slits. The user rotates the disc and sees the reflection of the disc in the mirror through the moving slit. In this way, the user sees the pictures appear one after another, and the continuous play effect is obtained due to the persistence of the vision. Another variant has two platters, one with a slit and the other with a picture, so people would not need the reflection of the mirror to see the animation.

03.5. Normally the next one will be Zoetrope, however I consider one of the very first photograph La Table servie as an animation experiment. (1833?)

04. Zoetrope was invented in 1834 by William George Horner, which was an early form of motion picture projector that consisted of a drum containing a set of still images, that was turned in a circular fashion in order to create the illusion of motion.

Animation History 02: Early Ways of Showing Motion (Second Half)

01. A Volvelle is a type of slide chart, a paper construction with rotating parts. It is considered an early example of a paper analog computer. Volvelles have been produced to accommodate organisation and calculation in many diverse subjects. It was first found from the works of Abu Rayhan Biruni (1000 AD) the Persian astronomer..

02. Since before 1000 CE the Chinese had a rotating lantern which had silhouettes projected on its thin paper sides that appeared to chase each other. This was called the “trotting horse lamp” (走马灯). There is a flat impeller on the trotting horse lamp, and there is a burning candle under it. The rising of the hot air drives the impeller to rotate. This is the original application of the modern gas turbine working principle.


03. The medieval codex Sigenot (circa 1470) has sequential illuminations with relatively short intervals between different phases of action. Each page has a picture inside a frame above the text, with great consistency in size and position throughout the book (with a consistent difference in size for the recto and verso sides of each page)

04. Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (1490) drawing shows
multiple angles, implying movement. Also, Anatomical Studies of the Muscles of the Neck, Shoulder, Chest, and Arm, have detailed renderings of the upper body and less-detailed facial features. The sequence shows multiple angles of the figure as it rotates and the arm extends. Because the drawings show only small changes from one image to the next, together they imply the movement of a single figure.

Animation History 01: Early Ways of Showing Motion (First Half)

Animation is the best media, in my opinion, to convey a story from one to another. `Archeological artifacts prove that people have been attempting to depict things in motion since the ancient times, as well as examples from the
European Renaissance.

01. Running Bisons in the Cave of Altamira (Between 36000 BC-20000BC)

02. Neolithic Pottery Basin(舞蹈纹彩陶盆) from Majiayao Cluture(马家窑文化) in Qinghai(青海), China (4000BC-3000BC)

03. Pottery vessel found in Shahr-e-Sukhteh (3000 BC)

04. An Egyptian burial chamber mural, approximately 4000 years old, showing wrestlers in action.

05. Shadow play (皮影戏) from China, first recored in Book of Han(汉书), the first dynastic history in China, written in the first century. Started during Han Dynasty(206 BC–220 AD), became eminent during Tang Dynasty, and finally became one of the most popular folk art in Qing Dynasty. It requires professional level of singing from Beijing Opera and experienced performers and the characters are made from skins of animals and paper.


06. Lucretius (99BC-55BC) wrote in his poem De serum natura(On the Nature of Things)  a few lines that come close to the basic principles of animation: “…when the first image perishes and a second is then produced in another position, the former seems to have altered its pose. Of course this must be supposed to take place very swiftly: so great is their velocity, so great the store of particles in any single moment of sensation, to enable the supply to come up.”


Animator Study: Jan Svankmajer

Svankmajer is one of my personal favorite animator, he labeled his works as half-surrealism. The ubiquitous mysticism and surrealism in his animations are expressed in the simplest and most direct way, completely abandoning Hollywood-like tricks and routines. Svankmajer‘s animation often shows the subconscious desire in the human soul world with human animality as the objects to present. His dark sense of humorous inspired me a lot and his works has influenced my choice to start studying animation.



Darkness/Light/Darkness (1989)

Dimensions of Dialogue

Animator Study: Joanna Quinn


Women’s Movement peaked in the 1960s and 70s and touched on every area of Women’s experience, including family, sexuality and work. Feminism was discussed in many fields like phycology, literature in various angles and views. However, at the very same time period, in the field of Animation, there were not so many strong female characters. Female protagonists in animated films were more likely to be similar to Snow White: dreamy, lovely and meek, and their virginities were unquestionably important in the films.

Joanna Quinn, however, managed to avoid this popular trend when designing female characters. Most of her female protagonists are overweighted, sexually crazed without covering. Beryl is a fat person without beauty, not confident in her body and being mocked by other people, however she is very relatable by female audiences, unlike those “ultimate male fantasies”. Also, Beryl’s story of being a worker was very relatable, like her company was merged by a Japanese company.

Her animation style realistic, exaggerated with strong liquidity, even the imperfect parts where the previous frames were not being cleaned entirely, can be enjoyable to watch.



Research Study: Dieselpunk

As the steampunk trope gained the attention of the masses every kind of retro-futurism was labeled as “Steampunk” and most people don’t know or care about the emerging “Dieselpunk” genre, often considered some variant of either Steampunk or Cyberpunk.

Dieselpunk however differs both in timeline and themes from Steampunk, the only overlapping being the First World War era.

The Taking of the Enka Fields (3 van 21)The Lost Tea Party

Israeli illustrator lord_k collected some illustrations from the 1930s Republic of China magazine, which he called “Chinese diesel punk.” There are some sci-fi and steampunk styles.

Check Out These Great Dieselpunk Concept Designs  - News - GeekTyrant

Horacio Coppola, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1936.

One of my personal favorite series of movies Mad Max was also influenced by dieselpunk, and has certain cult fans.Mad Max by Vance Kelly *PHOTO: Cars to survive the post-apocalyptic world. #MadMax

Research Study: Steampunk

Steampunk features 19th century technology, complete with lots of steam engines. It is inspired by the Industrial-Revolution, Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian periods of England, and was the first of the alternate-punk genres to appear.

Before the industrial revolution, the machine of the agricultural society was only a practical tool, and it was far from being able to step into the hall of aesthetics.

Classical aesthetics pays more attention to the beauty of pure harmony, which is a kind of beauty belonging to God and an eternal beauty. It is impossible to talk about aesthetic in the simple and bold artifacts. The Renaissance was a turning point. Artists such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Dürer had far more love for man-made mechanical devices such as airplanes and submarines than the functionality developed, and rose to the aesthetic level. Denying God, affirming oneself, human beings’ affirmation of themselves also brings about the affirmation of their own creation.

In Assassin’s Creed 2, the protagonist takes the flying machine made by Da Vinci.  

Airships, goggles, gears, clocks, keys.


Research Study of Subculture: Zoot Suit

The study of the cases in the subculture from the subculture how to resist the main culture (mainstream culture, subject culture, dominant culture), the style embodied in the resistance (subculture’s resistance to the main culture is not directly caused by the subculture It is indirectly expressed in the style.) And how the main culture captures the subculture from the perspective of cultural interpretation of the youth subculture.

With its super-sized shoulder pads, sprawling lapels and peg leg pants, the zoot suit grew out of the “drape” suits popular in Harlem dance halls in the mid-1930s.

The suits were worn by minority men in working-class neighborhoods throughout the country.

In 1943, young African Americans and Hispanics and clashed with soldiers  in Los Angeles. The riots were called “Zoot riots”

Zoot suits strengthen the wideness of wearer’s shoulder and the size of body, indicates power.

In Tom and Jerry, Tom wears Zoot suit to pursue the girl he likes and succeeded.

Zoot suit also influenced a trend “Power suit”, it was popular in 1970s and 1980s, even effected how movie stars and business man wears in Hong Kong.

Artist Study: Raqib Shaw

Raqib Shaw was born in Calcutta, India, and brought up in Kashmir until the long-standing conflict in the area forced his family to flee, moved to London in 1998.

His gloriously opulent paintings suggest a fantastical world full of intricate detail, rich colour, and jewel-like surfaces, all masking the intense violent and sexual nature of its imagery.

This priest-looked monkey reminds me of Francis Bacon’s Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X.

His works are erotic and making audience uncomfortable simultaneously, which is unusual.

Inspired by Hieronymous Bosch’s fifteenth century visionary triptych, Shaw’s series of works similarly titled ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ celebrate a society free of any moral restraint.

Raqib Shaw. (Indian, born 1974). Garden of Earthly Delights X. 2004. Synthetic polymer paint, glitter, stones, crystals, rhinestones, and gems on board, three panels, 8 x 15′ (243.8 x 457.2 cm). Gift of Adam Sender and George Lindemann, Jr. © 2008 Raqib Shaw
Raqib Shaw. (Indian, born 1974). Garden of Earthly Delights X. 2004. Synthetic polymer paint, glitter, stones, crystals, rhinestones, and gems on board, three panels, 8 x 15′ (243.8 x 457.2 cm). Gift of Adam Sender and George Lindemann, Jr. © 2008 Raqib Shaw
Raqib Shaw. (Indian, born 1974). Garden of Earthly Delights X. 2004. Synthetic polymer paint, glitter, stones, crystals, rhinestones, and gems on board, three panels, 8 x 15′ (243.8 x 457.2 cm). Gift of Adam Sender and George Lindemann, Jr. © 2008 Raqib Shaw


Indian Goddes Kali

Research Study: F64

F64 is a photographic group founded in San Francisco. The term f/64 referred to the smallest aperture setting on a large format camera. The aim was to secured maximum depth of field and rendering photograph evenly sharp from foreground to background. Their styles characterized by sharp-focused on and carefully framed images seen through a particularly Western  viewpoint.

Carleton Watkins (1829–1916) was an American photographer of the 19th century. Born in New York, he moved to California and quickly became interested in photography. He focused mainly on landscape photography, and Yosemite Valley was a favorite subject of his. His photographs of the valley significantly influenced the United States Congress’ decision to preserve it as a National Park. He documented the rise of SF at19th Century. He doesn’t regard himself as an artist but an artisan. He has influenced f/64 a lot.

Imogen Cunningham at that time was the most experienced member and enjoyed an established reputation.

Willard Van Dyke gives his home at Berkley to talk about founding the group.

People that knows a little bit of art history may think Van Dyke is the most famous member, but this is another Van Dyke and he is not famous because of the beard.

Edward Henry Weston was a 20th-century American photographer. He has been called “one of the most innovative and influential American photographers… and “one of the masters of 20th century photography.” He was the first photographer that got Guggenheim Fellowship.

Weston’s Works:

Ansel Easton Adams (SF!) was an American photographer and environmentalist. His black and white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park. I believe that he inherits the spirit of Watkins.He developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs.

Adams’s works: