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Process of giving the illusion of movement to drawings, models, or inanimate objects. From the mid-1850s, such optical devices as the zoetrope produced the illusion of animation. Stop-action photography enabled the production of cartoon films. The innovative design and assembly techniques of Walt Disney soon moved him to the forefront of the animation industry, and he produced a series of classic animated films, beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). The Fleischer brothers and the animators at Warner Brothers offered more irreverent cartoons that often appealed to adult audiences. In Europe new animation alternatives to line drawing were developed, including animation using puppets (sometimes made from clay). In the late 20th century computer animation, as seen in the first fully computer-generated animated feature, Toy Story (1995), moved the art to a new level.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on animation, visit Britannica.com.