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Introduction

The bouncing ball animation (below) consists of these six frames, repeated indefinitely.
The bouncing ball animation (below) consists of these six frames, repeated indefinitely.

Animation is a method by which still figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent celluloid sheets to be photographed and exhibited on film. Today, most animations are made with computer-generated imagery (CGI). Computer animation can be very detailed 3D animation, while 2D computer animation (which may have the look of traditional animation) can be used for stylistic reasons, low bandwidth, or faster real-time renderings. Other common animation methods apply a stop motion technique to two- and three-dimensional objects like paper cutouts, puppets, or clay figures.

A cartoon is an animated film, usually a short film, featuring an exaggerated visual style. The style takes inspiration from comic strips, often featuring anthropomorphic animals, superheroes, or the adventures of human protagonists. Especially with animals that form a natural predator/prey relationship (e.g. cats and mice, coyotes and birds), the action often centers around violent pratfalls such as falls, collisions, and explosions that would be lethal in real life.

The illusion of animation—as in motion pictures in general—has traditionally been attributed to persistence of vision and later to the phi phenomenon and/or beta movement, but the exact neurological causes are still uncertain. The illusion of motion caused by a rapid succession of images that minimally differ from each other, with unnoticeable interruptions, is a stroboscopic effect. While animators traditionally used to draw each part of the movements and changes of figures on transparent cels that could be moved over a separate background, computer animation is usually based on programming paths between key frames to maneuver digitally created figures throughout a digitally created environment. (Full article...)

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Kevin Conroy in 2009

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a 1993 animated superhero film based on the fictional DC Comics character Batman, and is a spin-off of the Emmy Award-winning Batman: The Animated Series. Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm directed the film, which stars Kevin Conroy as Batman (pictured) and Mark Hamill as the Joker, as well as Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Abe Vigoda, and Stacy Keach. The film's storyline introduces Andrea Beaumont, an old love interest of Bruce Wayne's, who returns to Gotham City, restarting their romance. At the same time, a mysterious killer begins systematically eliminating Gotham's crime bosses, and due to the person's dark appearance, he is mistaken for Batman. Now on the run from the police, Batman must apprehend the killer, clear his name, and deal with the romance between himself and Andrea. Mask of the Phantasm was released with positive critical success, but resulted in poor box office returns due to the decision to release the film in theaters on such short notice. The film has since found cult success through its various VHS and DVD releases.

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Billion Dollar Limited title card
Credit: Still frame from the Billion Dollar Limited (1942)
Billion Dollar Limited is the third of the seventeen animated Technicolor short films based upon the DC Comics character Superman. Produced by Fleischer Studios, Billion Dollar Limited centers around a train carrying one billion dollars in gold to the US mint, which is sabotaged by robbers before Superman intervenes. The short was released by Paramount Pictures on January 9, 1942.

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I think what set the [1990's] apart was the fact that the climate was ripe for people taking chances and doing different things. Both Nick and Cartoon Network were able to invest on people who had nothing to lose. Of course, the result of that was that there was a big explosion in the scene. There were big successes—like that yellow sponge that popped up in a big way—and with that success came another era where people aren’t apt to take as many chances because the stakes are too high. — Joe Murray, Animator, series creator of Rocko's Modern Life, 2011

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Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane (born October 26, 1973) is an American animator, writer, producer, actor, singer, voice actor, and director best known for creating the animated sitcoms Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show, for which he also voices many of the shows' various characters. A native of Kent, Connecticut, MacFarlane is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied animation, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. He was an animator and writer for Hanna-Barbera for several television shows, including Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken and Dexter's Laboratory, before creating his own series for 20th Century Fox entitled Family Guy in 1999. MacFarlane would go on to co-create American Dad! in 2005, The Winner in 2007 and The Cleveland Show in 2009 for 20th Century Fox. As a performer, MacFarlane has sung at several venues, including Carnegie and Royal Albert Hall. MacFarlane has won several awards for his work on Family Guy, including two Primetime Emmy Awards, and an Annie Award.

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Michael Dante DiMartino, an American animation director, co-creator, executive producer and story editor for Avatar: The Last Airbender

Season two (Book 2: Earth) of Avatar: The Last Airbender, an American animated television series on Nickelodeon, first aired its 20 episodes from March 17, 2006 to December 1, 2006. The season was created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and starred Zach Tyler Eisen, Mae Whitman, Jack DeSena, Jessie Flower, Dante Basco, Dee Bradley Baker, Mako and Grey DeLisle as the main character voices. In this season, the protagonist Aang and his friends Katara and Sokka are on a quest to find an Earthbending teacher which finishes when they recruit Toph Beifong. After finding important information concerning the war with the Fire Nation, Appa ends up kidnapped. Throughout the season's airing, the show received much critical acclaim, with praises such as, "As a flat concept, Avatar: The Last Airbender is nothing special, but in execution, it is head and shoulders above other children's entertainment", and that "as a whole, the look of Avatar is consistently excellent. Between January 23, 2007 and September 11, 2007, Nickelodeon released five DVD sets for the season: four sets containing five episodes each, and a fifth DVD collection of all twenty episodes.

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Frame from Katsudō Shashin

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