Compiled History of Animation

timeline computer classical sight
1824: Peter Roget presented his paper 'The persistence of vision with regard to moving objects' to the British Royal Society.
1831: Dr. Joseph Antoine Plateau (a Belgian scientist) and Dr. Simon Rittrer constructed a machine called a phenakitstoscope. This machine produced an illusion of movement by allowing a viewer to gaze at a rotating disk containing small windows; behind the windows was another disk containing a sequence of images. When the disks were rotated at the correct speed, the synchronization of the windows with the images created an animated effect.
1872: Eadweard Muybridge started his photographic gathering of animals in motion.
1887: Thomas Edison started his research work into motion pictures.
1889: Thomas Edison announced his creation of the kinetoscope which projected a 50ft length of film in approximately 13 seconds.
1889: George Eastman began the manufacture of photographic film strips using a nitro-cellulose base.
1892: Emile Renynaud, combining his earlier invention of the praxinoscope with a projector, opens the Theatre Optique in the Musee Grevin. It displays an animation of images painted on long strips of celluloid.
1895: Louis and Augustine Lumiere issued a patent for a device called a cinematograph capable of projecting moving pictures.
1896: Thomas Armat designed the vitascope which projected the films of Thomas Edison. This machine had a major influence on all sub-sequent projectors.
1906: J. Stuart Blackton made the first animated film which he called "Humorous phases of funny faces." His method was to draw comical faces on a blackboard and film them. He would stop the film, erase one face to draw another, and then film the newly drawn face. The ‘stop-motion’ provided a starting effect as the facial expressions changed be fore the viewer’s eyes.
1908: In France Emile Cohl produced a film, Phantasmagorie which was the first depicting white figures on a black background.
1910: Emile Cohl makes En Route the first paper cutout animation. This technique saves time by not having to redraw each new cell, only reposition the paper.
1911: Winsor McCay produced an animation sequence using his comic strip character "Little Nemo."
1913: J.R. Bray devised "Colonel Heeza Liar," and Sidney Smith created "Old Doc Yak."
1914: John R Bray applies for a patent on numerous techniques for animation. One of the most revolutionary being the process of printing the backgrounds of the animation.
1914: Winsor McCay produced a cartoon called "Gertie, The Trained Dinosaur" which amazingly consisted of 10,000 drawings.
1914: Earl Hurd applies for a patent for the technique of drawing the animated portion of an animation on a clear celluloid sheet and later photographing it with its matching background. [Cel animation]
1917: The International Feature Syndicate released many titles including "Silk Hat Harry","Bringing Up Father", and "Krazy Kat".
1919: Pat Sullivan created an American cartoon "Felix the Cat."
1926: The first feature-length animated film called "El Apostol" is created in Argentina.
1923: Walt and Roy Disney found Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio.
1923: Walt Disney extended Max Fleischer's technique of combining live action with cartoon characters in the film "Alice's Wonderland".
1927: Warner Brothers released "The Jazz Singer" which introduced combined sound and images.
1928: Walt Disney created the first cartoon with synchronized sound called "Steam Boat Willy".
1930: The King of Jazz is produced by Universal. In it is a short animated sequence done by Walter Lantz. It is the first animation done with the two strip technicolor process
1934: Urb Irwek creates a multi-plane camera. This camera is capable of filming several separate layers of cels giving the final frame a truly three dimensional look.
1943: John and James Whitney produced "Five Abstract Film Exercises."
1945: Harry Smith produced animation by drawing directly onto film.
1957: John Whitney used 17 Bodine motors, 8 Selsyns, 9 different gear units and 5 ball integrators to create analog computer graphics.
1961: John Whitney used differential gear mechanisms to create film and television title sequences.
1963: Ivan Sutherland and SKETCHPAD at MIT/Lincoln Labs
1964: Ken Knowlton, working at Bell Laboratories, started developing computer techniques for producing animated movies.
1972: University of Utah, Ed Catmull develops an animation scripting language and creates an animation of a smooth shaded hand. Ref: E. Catmull, "A System for Computer Generated Movies", Proceedings of the ACM National Conference, 1972. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.)
1972: University of Utah, Fred Parke creates first computer generated facial animation. >Ref: F. Parke, "Computer Generated Animation of Faces", Proceedings of the ACM National Conference, 1972. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.)
1974: National Research Council of Canada releases Hunger/La Faim directed by Peter Foldes and featuring Burtnyk and Wein interactive keyframing techniques. Ref: N. Burtnyk and M. Wein, "Interactive Skeleton Techniques for Enhancing Motion Dynamics in Key Frame Animation", Communications of the ACM, 19(10), October 1976. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.)
1982: Tron, MAGI, movie with CG premise
1983: Bill Reeves at Lucasfilm publishes techniques for modeling particle systems. "Demo" is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. The paper also promotes motion blur. Ref: W. Reeves, "Particle Systems -- A Technique for Modeling a Class of Fuzzy Objects", Computer Graphics, 17(3), July 1983. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.)
1984: The Last Starfighter, CG is used in place of models
1984: Porter and Duff at Lucusfilm publish paper on digital compositing using an alpha channel. Ref: T. Porter and T. Duff, "Compositing Digital Images", Computer Graphics, 18(3), July 1984. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.)
1985: Girard and Maciejewski at OSU publish a paper describing the use of inverse kinematics and dynamics for animation. Their techniques are used in the animation "Eurythmy." Ref: M. Girard and A. A. Maciejewski, "Computational Modeling for the Computer Animation of Legged Figures", Computer Graphics, 19(3), July 1985. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.)
1985: Ken Perlin at NYU publishes a paper on noise functions for textures. He later applied this technique to add realism to character animations. Ref: K. Perlin, "An Image Synthesizer", Computer Graphics, 19(3), July 1985. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.)
1987: John Lasseter at Pixar publishes a paper describing traditional animation principles. "Demos" are Andre and Wally B and Luxo Jr. Ref: J. Lasseter, "Principles of Traditional Animation Applied to 3D Computer Animation", Computer Graphics, 21(4), July 1987. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.)
1987: Craig Reynolds then at Symbolics (now at Dreamworks SKG) publishes a paper on self-organizing behavior for groups. "Demos" are Stanley and Stella and Batman Returns. Ref: C. W. Reynolds, "Flocks, Herds, and Schools: A Distributed Behavioral Model", Computer Graphics, 21(4), July 1987. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.)
1988: Willow uses morphing in live action film
1992: Beier and Neely, at SGI and PDI respectively publish an algorithm where line correspondences guide morphing between 2D images. "Demo" is Michael Jackson video Black and White. Ref: T. Beier and S. Neely, "Feature-Based Image Metamorphosis", Computer Graphics, 26(2), July 1992. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.) v
1993: Chen and Williams at Apple publish a paper on view interpolation for 3D walkthroughs. Ref: S. E. Chen and L. Williams, "View Interpolation for Image Synthesis", Computer Graphics Proceedings, Annual Conference Series, 1993. (In the SIGGRAPH 98 Seminal Graphics collection.)
1993: Jurassic Park use of CG for realistic living creatures
1995: Toy Story first full-length 3D CG feature film

(This List was compiled from thinkquest, from AAST and brown )