“To judge from the earliest forms of graphic art available to us, it seems that man has always sought to animate his pictures. If only he could breathe the stir of life into his creatures he would share the grand mystery of the gods. The great artists of prehistory, crouching with their rush-lights by the cave walls of Altamira, Lascaux, and the hundreds of other caverns either known to the archaeologists or still to be discovered, were, as far as we can see, urged by some undefined instinct to animate their pictures.
Entering Lascaux is like entering a living zoo. Movement seems to dominate these bodies with their splayed legs and heads bent with the muscular effort of motion. The wonderful figures of the beautiful rearing horse, or those of the dark horse following the mare in foal, the jumping cow, the running and falling hares, the great aurochs, the charging bull, the charging bisons and the disembowelled bison with his head twisted in death all show the success of artists working over 20,000 years ago in the most difficult physical conditions to suggest life caught in arrested motion.
In Altamira the boars and bisons are poised with equal vitality, and curious cinematographic effects are achieved by the superimposition of later paintings on older ones which have been partly worn away. These compound figures with six or eight legs in different positions achieve an additional suggestion of movement.”
- from the intro to The Technique of Film Animation
by John Halas & Roger Manvell
We got some updated animation technique books at the library at my request and they’ve been circulating like hotcakes. Or, like something that doesn’t get eaten after it’s handed out once. The point is, if you want to read a book about animation that’s been published since digital cameras and home computers became commonplace, we have some now. I actually really liked this book, because the writing was inordinately beautiful for a book about how animation works, but it was very out of date and missing a bunch of pages, so it had to go.
The bison pictured above is from Altamira.