Early examples of attempts to capture the phenomenon of motion drawing can be found in paleolithic cave paintings, where animals are depicted with multiple legs in superimposed positions, clearly attempting to convey the perception of motion.
A 5,000 year old earthen bowl found in Iran in Shahr-i Sokhta has five images of a goat painted along the sides. This has been claimed to be an example of early animation. However, since no equipment existed to show the images in motion, such a series of images cannot be called animation in a true sense of the word.
A Chinese zoetrope-type device had been invented in 180 AD.
The Voynich manuscript that dates back to between 1404 and 1438 contains several series of illustrations of the same subject-matter and even few circles that – when spinned around the center – would create an illusion of a motion.
It is doubtful whether this technique was used until the 1830s, with the introduction of the phenakistiscope (phenakistoscope / phenakisticope spinning disc device), and the 1860s exploitation of the zoetrope spinning drum. Most of the animated sequences for these philosophical toys were created by unknown artists, and many were imaginative and quite complex. The flip book appeared in the 1860s; a form of animation requiring no viewing device. The 1870s praxinoscope (a kind of zoetrope with mirrors instead of slots) showed the charming animations of Emile Reynaud, which he later projected onto the screen for public shows in Paris, with his théatre optique.
These devices produced the appearance of movement from sequential drawings using technological means, but animation did not really develop much further until the advent of cinematography. The cinématographe was a projector, printer, and camera in one machine that allowed moving pictures to be shown successfully on a screen which was invented by history's earliest film makers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, in 1894.
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