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a genre of cinematic art in which films are created by photographing the successive phases of the movement of drawn objects (graphic animation) or three-dimensional objects (three-dimensional animation). Animation is not concerned with reproducing reality on film; inherent to animation are fantasy and artistic invention. For this reason, it is sometimes compared to the representational arts or is regarded as an independent art form that uses cinematographic techniques.
Graphic animation, a special, artistically conventional method of animation, has its own expressive techniques of representing imaginary events and actions. Three-dimensional animation, which is not as versatile as graphic animation in the depiction of action, is distinguished by greater detail in the visual representation of the dramatis personae. Folklore, satire, and parable, which demand stylization and exceptional clarity of expressive techniques, are particularly suited to animation.
The founder of graphic animation was the artist and caricaturist E. Cohl (France, 1908). However, even before the invention of motion pictures, attempts were made to create comic graphic strips that were shown using apparatus whose operation differed from that of the motion-picture projector (for example, E. Reynaud’s Théâtre Optique, 1892). In Russia, the first three-dimensional animated films were made between 1911 and 1913 by the director V. A. Starevich. In the 1920’s, experimental abstract animated films were created in Western Europe. During the same years, animated cartoons based on comic-strip characters were made in the USA, where animated-film techniques (including the production of color films) were developed. The work of the American director W. Disney exerted a great influence on the development of animated cartoons in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Important advances in animation have been achieved in the socialist countries, including Czechoslovakia (the animated films of J. Trnka, H. Tyrlová, and others), Poland (V. Giersz, J. Lenica), Rumania (I. Popescu-Gopo), Bulgaria (T. Dinov), and Yugoslavia (the Zagreb school, including the directors D. Vukotic and V. Mimica).
The first animation workshops in Soviet film studios appeared in the mid-1920’s. Soviet animators established animation as a politically active art that possessed great educational possibilities and that was founded on high-quality graphic art. Soviet animated films of the 1920’s through 1950’s achieved particular success in the realm of children’s films, such as those by I. P. Ivanov-Vano, M. M. Tsekhanovskii, M. S. Pashchenko, A. L. Ptushko, L. K. Atamanov, L. A. Amal’rik, V. S. Brumberg, and Z. S. Brumberg. Since the mid-1950’s, production of animated films for adults at Soviet film studios has increased and the range of subjects, genres, and graphic techniques has broadened. Directors of animated films of artistic merit have included F. S. Khitruk, S. I. Iutkevich, A. G. Karanovich, A. Iu. Khrzhanovskii, B. P. Stepantsev, R. A. Kachanov, V. V. Bakhtadze, and E. A. Tuganov.
In the USSR, animated films are made at the Soiuzmul’tfil’m Studio in Moscow (founded 1936) and at film studios in several Union republics.
REFERENCESGinzburg, S. Risovannyi i kukol’nyi fil’m. Moscow, 1957.
Elizarov, G. K.Sovetskaia mul’tiplikatsiia: Spravochnik. Moscow, 1966.
Sadoul, G. Vseobshchaia istoriia kino, vols. 1–2, 6. Moscow, 1958–63. (Translated from French.)
Benayounk, R. Le Dessin animé après Walt Disney. [Paris] 1961.
V. A. KUZNETSOVA