Since Cameron's famous movie in 3d, the word 'avatar' is easily associated with a tall blue alien figure. However, avatars and avatar creation have been present on the net long before. Some Websites, such as SecondLife and IMVU, are based on the concept, and allow some individuals to experience a sort of virtual life.

The basis of animation is frame by frame construction. Further, graphics may be 2d or 3d. Other basics include the debate: skeletal animation vs. morph target animation, keyframes, visemes (visual field phonemes), bones or rigs, layers and so on.

A distinct Japanese animated movies and drawing genre is referred to as anime and manga. Worthwhile thematic conventions, such as Otakuthon, are held worldwide. In such gatherings, it is possible to see famous characters like Sailor Moon and Naruto take human form.

Comics are a related endeavor. Some of the better known ones are X-Men (Marvel), Watchmen (DC) and Dilbert. ComicCon is a renown convention on the topic. Other famous comic book and animated characters include Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Green Lantern, Flash and countless more.


Cartoon character still. Image: Copyright ©

Machinima are cartoons created with computer graphics specifically from games and the gaming world. A card is required and Machinima (Website and Youtube channel) is a popular resource  for such entertainment.

Computer aided design (CAD) is widely used in engineering and architecture. Related concepts are graphic design and computer simulations. Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) has significantly gained in prominence since the 1990s (Lamarre, 2008).

Disney, with Disneyland in the United States and Europe, has a worldwide reputation. Started by Walt Disney, the company's Golden Age tells the story of 9 glorious animators. One of them was Fred Moore. His assistants Johnston and Thomas (1981) produced a thesis outlining the 12 principles of animation. Other animators include*: Alexander Shiryaev, Piotr Dumala, Marteen Isaak de Heer, Neil Henderson and Jiri Barta. Additional notorious animation studios comprise Dream Works Animation, Sony Imagework, Pixar, Bones, and Blue Sky.


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Contemporary and famous cartoons and cartoon series: The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, The Lion King, Pocahontas, She-Ra, He-Man, American Dad, South Park, Jem, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Ratatouille, King of the Hill, Bob’s Burgers, The Goode Family, Thundercats, The Little Mermaid, Fantasia, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937!),  Toy Story and countless other productions.

Notable cartoon characters: Betty Boop, The Powerpuff Girls (Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup) Pikachu and other Pokemons, Daria, Bugs Bunny, Disney: Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Goofy…

Animation, as well as film, studies are a legitimate academic undertaking. Two institutions that instantly come to mind are the Academy of Art University and the Netherlands Institute for Animation Film. Also, The Society for Animation Studies publishes an online academic journal.

Animation art appeared relatively long ago. Animations share a common history of approximately over a 100 years. Moreover, since the end of the last millennium, increasingly computerized animating techniques have become nearly omnipresent. Lamarre (2008) notes that many 'regular' movies turn to CGI for special effects, leading to most motion pictures becoming animation.

Wells (2011) suggests that animation may go beyond, involving mental processes such as memory and emotional intelligence. Perhaps the Flynn effect (the concept that population IQ averages tend to rise overtime) may explain this increasing popularity phenomenon.
* Lists by no means exhaustive


Cartoon character Dora the Explorer among graffiti. Photography author:


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  • Johnston, O. & Thomas, F. (1981).  Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life. Abbeville Press.
  • Lamarre, T. (2008). Editorial: Animation studies. The Semiotic Review of Books, 17.3, 1-12.
  • Wells, P. (2011).  From ‘Sunnyside’ to ‘soccer’: Reading up on animation… Animation Practice, Process & Production (AP3), 1 (1): 3-9.
  • Wikipedia, (consulted).