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Chapter 2. Animation Basics

Chapter 2. Animation Basics

Animation on the Web incorporates many technologies with the goal of creating on-screen movement. Motion captures attention. It is, in a very real sense, moving. Like the earliest animation technologies, such as Zoetropes and other innovations of the 19th Century, animations on the Web rely on the eye's persistence of vision. The term persistence of vision refers to the fact that light's stimulus lingers on the retina slightly longer than it actually shines on the eye. If you don't believe it, stand in a dark bathroom, flick the lights on and off quickly, and watch your ghost slowly fade from the mirror. If you still have one leftover in your Saturday Night Fever footlocker, bring a strobe light into the bathroom and do a little dance. You'll see that even though you're seeing your motion frozen in pieces, the overall vision is still one of disco, not of fresco.

Figure 2.1 depicts "Humans in Motion" by Edweard Muybridge, copyright Dover Publications Inc., 1955. Muybridge's stop-motion photos, taken in the 1870s and 1880s, along with his invention, the Zoetrope, helped popularize what would later become movies and cartoons.


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