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July 15, 2015

SEATS AVAILABLE: HISTORY OF ANIMATION CTAN:592

The art and industry of animation is changing. What used to be thought of as entertainment for children, has now moved into serious dramatic storytelling, visual art, serious games, a blend with live action, a demonstration tool for scientists and architects and much more. For a student to move into modern entertainment, education, science or countless other industries, understanding the history of animation will not only give them knowledge of what has been accomplished in the animation field, a foundation on which to build their own work, but will also serve as a massive source of ideas and inspiration. 

Professor Christina Panushka’s CTAN592: History of Animation has seats available and gives a Trojan the ability to learn about the history and practice of (arguably) the oldest and fastest growing cinematic art. 

TELL ME ABOUT THE CLASS.  

The class is a survey class that examines the history of animation starting with early pre-cinematic devices. We begin in 1835 and we follow the field until the 1980s.  

WHY SHOULD SOMEONE TAKE THIS CLASS? 

Animation is the core language of media today and, as animation spills over into other fields, professionals in many fields are using animation to communicate complex ideas. Having an ignorance of the history is a bad idea. Without understanding what has been done in the last hundred and fifty years, a student trying to add movement to their work is starting from scratch. If one is interested in using animation, having some knowledge of what went before and what has been accomplished, gives the artist/filmmaker an advantage. The language of the maker is more sophisticated and advanced. 

Also -- and this is important -- it gives ideas. History is a great inspiration for ideas. 

THIS IS A UNIQUE TIME FOR ANIMATION, ISN'T IT? 

Animation is coming into its own. The digital era has made the tools to create moving images easily accessible. The field is expanding rapidly.  Animation is being used by archeologists, architects, neuroscientists, biologists, and others. Scientists are using animation to communicate incredibly complicated ideas. Architects are using animation to walk though imagined buildings, Artists are using animation for gigantic installations. Animated characters are rock stars, performing live on stage. Animation is not just cartoons, It is a very, very broad field. This class looks at how we got to this point. It looks at how animation became the core language of media today. 

WHAT KINDS OF FILMS, OR NON-FILMS, WILL STUDENTS GET TO SEE? 

We begin with pre-cinematic devices, zoetrope's, flip books etc.  Animation has an interesting history, It interweaves between commercial and industrial practice with fine arts practice. Because it was a small field until recently -- most practitioners went back and forth between commercial practice and independent practice. There is an intertwining of the two threads. We examine that.  We look at work from commercial studios, including Fleischer, Disney and Warner Brothers studios. We also look at  animation by independents such as Lotte Reininger who made the first surviving feature animation, the abstractionist Oscar Fischinger, the beautiful puppets of Starevich and the crazy kinetic work of Len Lye. We look at work from countries including Japan, China, Russia, Croatia and Estonia. We also look at the pioneers of different animation techniques, anyone who has advanced the form. It's much larger than I can fit in one pitch. I'm just opening doors and saying, "Look at the wonders here. Look here and here" 

WHERE CAN WE FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CLASS? 

http://catalogue.usc.edu/