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Precursors of animation include optical toys or devices that involve incremental movement and the appearance of motion. One such device is the thaumatrope, a disk@with complementary images (a bird and a cage, for example) printed on each side and two strings that serve as handles; when the disk is spun by twirling the strings,@the images converge (the bird would appear to be inside the cage). The thaumatrope, which was developed by English physician John A. Paris in 1825, demonstrates@the concept of persistence of vision: images remain implanted on the eye for a split second after they have moved; if continuous images appear rapidly enough, they'll seem to be connected (overlapped, in the case of the thaumatrope, or in continuous motion, in the case of animated films). Another early animation device, the @phenakistiscope, was developed by Belgian scientist Joseph Plateau in 1832. This rotating disk contains successive images that, when viewed properly, give the@appearance of motion. The praxinoscope, a cylinder containing a strip of paper with animated images that can be seen through the use of a mirror, was patented by@French inventor Nomile Reynaud in 1877 (see Motion Pictures, History of: Origins).
Animation has been a part of cinema history from the time the first motion pictures were made in the late 1800s. Some early live-action films, known as trick films, used the animation technique of stop action, whereby the camera is stopped and an object is removed or added to a shot before filming is resumed. Some of the pioneers of drawn animation films were well-known newspaper cartoonists, such as French artist Émile Cohl (whose films include Fantasmagorie, 1908), often considered to have been the first true animator, and American artist Winsor McCay (whose films include Little Nemo, 1911; and Gertie the Dinosaur, 1914). Although dimensional animation techniques were used in the ea...

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