Draw animation is a traditional way of creating animation. We know animation started with the technique of moving still images but It is not clearly known who started it and when, although it is evident that this craft of creating illusion through movement of still images were in place thousand years back.
Bit of History:
Emil Reynaud’s Praxinoscope or Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope were attempts of creating moving pictures, which ultimately led to creation of movie by recording lights and sounds. But animation found it’s own way of survival, as people equally loved these cutely drawn images moving on screens. Lot of attempts was made starting from 1900 to create animated films in different country. On 1928 legendary Walt Disney released a film named Steamboat Willie that featured Micky Mouse that used sound for first time. Creative and studios developed techniques from painting on film directly to using computer generated graphics to make animation process easier but drawn animation, precisely hand drawn animation is still alive and popular among creators.
The technique is simple. You need a lightbox and thin paper (or other drawing sheet). A lightbox is a simple boxlike thing, have glass or other transparent material at one of it’s sides and a light inside. Improved lightboxes that are available in market today are designed to draw in a convenient way.
You draw an image, place it on lightbox and then place a fresh sheet over the 1st drawing sheet. With the light at the back of your drawn sheet you can see what was drawn on it and start draw the next image on the fresh sheet with the required change for creating movement. Keep continuing this process until you reach the final image.
Images drawn in sheets with gradual changes for movements and such drawings are recorded and played at proper rate to create animated videos. If you study a flipbook, you can understand images/drawings that are needed to create an animation. Now we use drawing tablets to capture drawings and create animation from there.
Draw Animation Advantages:
But why do you need draw animation at this advanced age of computer graphics. Yes there are good of 2D animation software that can create automated animation. If you draw/create a first frame image and a last frame image, software can create intermediate frames for you. But here is a problem. This good, so far you are moving a 2d shape in X or Y axis but you are helpless whenever you need a Z axis movement. We manage it by creating illusions sometimes, while using computerized animation but still miss the greatness of draw animation in these cases.
Let’s take a simple example – A man in front profile looking at his left and we want him to turn his head to look at his right. Now I have an image of his side face which I can automatically animated from left to right in one frame using software but there will be jerk, as there will be a left side face and then straight a right side face, no intermediate face profiles, as the movement of head is happening in Z axis. So in these cases we need to draw all intermediate face profiles to create a smooth turning of head. And there is no alternative to draw animation to do this.