10 Drawn-on-Film Animation Videos, History and Techniques

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Drawn-on-Film Animation

Instead of using the traditional methods of photographing, digital rendering and creating animation sequences, Drawn-on-film animation is done directly on the film reel. Drawn on film animation technique needs a lot of talent and exact precision, since there is no going back to alter it, you will end up doing the whole animation sequence right from the beginning. You don’t have to worry about straight lines, most of the animation sequences are more like scribbles. An undeveloped film can be used like a piece of paper, animators can stick anything on to the film reels. Sometimes animators create these drawn on film animation by just scratching and etching directly on the film reel with a sharp object. 

Drawn-on-Film Animation

What is drawn-on-film animation? Animations which are done directly on the film reel, without using any cameras are generally known as drawn – on film animation. Animators use two different methods for creating these animations. One method is using a blank film reel, where the animators can paste just about anything, paint or even tape objects on to them. Another way is to directly scratch or etch on the film reel using any kinds of tools. Similarly an unexposed film can be worked on in a dark room and just like photographs are processed, the completed artwork has to be sent to a lab.

drawn on film animation drawn on film animation drawn on film animation drawn on film animation

How to do Animation by Drawing on Film

How to do Animation by Drawing on Film
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Boogie-Doodle - Drawn on film animation
Boogie-Doodle - Drawn on film animation
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Len Lye - Drawn on film animation
Len Lye - Drawn on film animation
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Tallest Heights - Drawn on film animation
Tallest Heights - Drawn on film animation
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Triveni Animation - Drawn on film animation
Triveni Animation - Drawn on film animation
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Stickman Drawn-on-Film Animation
Stickman Drawn-on-Film Animation
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Richard Reeves - Drawn-on-film animation
Richard Reeves - Drawn-on-film animation
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Drawn on Film - 16 mm Film Exercise
Drawn on Film - 16 mm Film Exercise
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Direct to Film Animation - 16mm
Direct to Film Animation - 16mm
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First Drawn Animation by J. Stuart Blackton
Humorous Phases of Funny Faces
**** Not drawn on film animation ****
Humorous Phases of Funny Faces - 1906 first Drawn Animation by J. Stuart Blackton
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Drawn-on-Film Animation Technique :

Animators use a blank film reel or a used film reel for creating the drawn on film animation technique. A film reel of any size is fixed on to a plain surface and on each tiny frame, animators create drawings or sequences to show the animation sequence.
A blank film reel can be also be developed in a dark room, where the film is not exposed and using a small light, animations can be created by exposing the film little by little. Tiny objects can be placed on those films, while trying to focus the lights on the frames, this creates a permanent impression of the object. Once the animation is complete, it has to be developed like a photograph and viola you see a clearer image. This is more like a stop motion animation combined with silhouette animation.

Advantages of Drawn-on-Film Animation :

- Less expensive
- No need to spend on expensive softwares
- A computer is not mandatory
- Complex drawings or perfect drawings is not required
- Unique animations can be created
- Animators can play around with the different kinds of exposure to create beautiful animations
A roll of film, projector, etching tools and some simple drawings is sufficient to create drawn on film animations. 

Popular Animators and their films

- In 1946, Harry Smith produced hand-painted films in San Francisco which screened at the Art in Cinema series at the San Francisco Museum of Art.
- In 1970, José Antonio Sistiaga exhibited the first feature-length hand-painted film, the silent epic “era erera baleibu izik subua aruaren “, in Madrid.Stan Brakhage, Mothlight (1963)
- Harry Everett Smith, Pierre Hébert, Memories of War (1982)
- Steven Woloshen produced and directed Ditty Dot Comma (2001, 3 min)
- From 1916 drawn on film animation was practised, but most of the movies from that period are now lost forever.

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