The aesthetics of keyframe animation: Labor, early development, and Peter Foldes

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Abstract

This article discusses weightless kinetics of computer graphics animation by investigating its core mechanism and aesthetics through the practice of 'keyframing', that is, the generation of computer animation by setting 'keyframes'. The author argues that it is the practice of keyframing that contributes most to the impression of a lack of gravity associated with computer graphics. More importantly, the method of deformation employed in keyframing inadvertently evokes rubber hose animation, the style popular in early animation. Rubbery movement was what struck Eisenstein as 'plasmatic' in Disney. Rubber hose animation resurfaced in the pioneering computer animation works by Peter Foldes, who explored free distortion and metamorphosis with the new automated movement. In the end, the technology of keyframe animation may be part of the teleology of labor rationalization, but it has come full circle back to where the animation industry began with rubber hose animation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-129
Number of pages19
JournalAnimation
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Keywords

  • computer animation
  • Disney
  • Eisenstein
  • keyframe
  • labor
  • metamorphosis
  • Peter Foldes
  • plasmaticness
  • rubber hose animation

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