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An animated horse.

Animation is a way of making a movie from many still images. The images are put together one after another, and then played at a fast speed to give the illusion of movement. Animation is a largely underrated form of art, one that many people consider to be childish and unsophisticated. This belief is undermined by the fact that animation has changed the course of art history by giving artists an alternative to the traditional, stationary forms of art.

Animation is a relatively new art form, and though the concept of moving images has been a theme throughout ancient civilizations, it was not until late into the 19th century that experimental animation truly began. Today, the industry of animation is booming, making up a huge commercial enterprise. However, among individual artists, it remains a sacred and unique form of art.

A person who makes animations is called an animator.

There are three ways to animate:

  1. Draw each frame
  2. Use stop-motion: make a model scene and change it to create a new image (frame)
  3. Make computer graphics
    Computer animation of circular waves generated by an underwater explosion.

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Because it is expensive to make, most animation comes from professional companies. However, independent animators have existed since the 1950s in America, with many of those people entering the professional industry. In Europe, the independent movement has existed since the 1910s, with animators like pre-revolutionary Russia's Ladislas Starevich and Germany's Lotte Reiniger.

On the internet, many people use a computer program called Adobe Flash to create animations. Flash uses a combination of drawing and computer graphics to make animations. Many animations on the internet are made in Flash. Most animators on the internet do not work for professional companies.

On television, limited animation is used a lot. It is used by popular companies such as UPA and Hanna-Barbera Productions. Simple, limited movement makes the images easier to draw, which allows quicker and cheaper production of animation.

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