This is a chronology of dates in the history of animation around the world. The main focus is on animation created for artistic/entertainment purposes although it does have some coverage of animation created for education or advertising. It generally does not cover animation techniques used to create special effects in live action cinema or television.
The chronology is meant to form a short history of animation and not merely a list of important films and events. Hence some items have been included to give a better sense of the state of animation at that time or because of their popularity.
There are basically five sections to this chronology. Both the United States and Japan have very extensive animation industries with which I am familiar. The rest of the world has been divided into three other geographical sections: the rest of the Americas; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; and Australasia (excluding Japan).
This is very much a work in progress. Any suggestions for additional entries will be gratefully received and any corrections to what is already included. I am familiar with the history of American and Japanese animation. I definitely need a lot help with the other sections.
I have not attempted to footnote the source of each fact in this project (life is way too short to attempt that). For the printed sources that I've used go to the Bibliography of Animation. For the sources of at least some of the information that I've taken from other websites go to my Animation on the World Wide Web page.
Each entry for an animated film should contain its title, the type of production, the responsible artist(s), production studio, and type(s) of animation.
Title entries begin with the original release name underlined. Foreign language titles in non-Romance written forms such as Russian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. will include the original form in brackets after a transliterated version, for example: Tetsuwan Atom [鉄腕アトム] is the original title of the Japanese television series that became Astro Boy in the United States. Productions from multiple countries will have the title in each original language, separated by double slash ("//") marks. English translations of foreign titles are in "quotations" (and some significant foreign titles).
For special episodes of television series the series name precedes the episode title (Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo).
For advertising films (adv) the name of the product or its manufacturer precedes the actual title of the advertisement (Adidas: Mechanical Legs). For some historically important advertising films that are better known for their proper name the product name is given as a variant.
For music videos (mv) the name of the performing artist or group will precede the song title (Black Sabbath: Get A Grip).
The names of studios are those of the production at the time it was created, even if it was released with a different studio credited. In order to save space the names of the studios are usually abbreviated. Some are designated by significant names such as Disney for the various studio names that Walt Disney used for studios/production units named after himself (and their successors). Acronyms such as AIC for Anime International Company are those used by the company or created by me. Go here for a list of acronyms used in this project.
In general, the names of places will be those that are known in the United States. The names of countries and cities change as political changes occur in nations. For example, Russia changed to the Soviet Union in 1917 and then back to Russia (and a number of other new countries) in 1991. The names of places used in this chronology will be that that was being used at the time a particular event occured. However, the modern form of the name will follow in [brackets], i.e. (Soviet Union [Russia]).
Types of Production Codes
Each animated item in the following list has the type of production in a code that immediately follows the title. These forms are:
- (adv) advertisement film
- (edu) educational film
- (f) feature film (a theatrical film that is longer than 60 minutes)
- (mv) music video
- (net) film distributed on a computer network
- (net) series distributed on a computer network
- (oav) original animated video (program created for homevideo playback (video tape, laserdisc, vcd, or dvd))
- (sf) short feature film (a theatrical film that is longer than 30 minutes but shorter than 60 minutes)
- (ss) short subject (a theatrical film that is shorter than 30 minutes)
- (tv) broadcast television series at least 30 minutes in length (including segments of longer shows that are at least 30 minutes in length)
- (tvsp) broadcast television special
- (tvss) broadcast television short subject (also series)
- (vg) video game
The type of animation is noted in parentheses after the main title/production information. These types include:
- cgi animation animation of computer generated images
- clay animation animation of figures created of plasticine, actual clay, or other malleable materials
- cut-out animation animation in which the animated figures are paper puppets with hinged limbs
- direct-on-film animation animation made by painting, etching, or otherwise altering raw filmstock
- drawn animation animation consisting of images drawn on a cel, paper, or some other medium; for most of animation's history this has been the dominant form of animation production; some specialized forms of drawn animation such as cut-out animation or direct-on-film animation are separately noted
- pixilation used to describe the process of animating live objects (usually people) by photographing them one frame at a time
- model animation (formerly puppet animation) animation of character models (or other objects) constructed of wood and other materials
- silhouette animation generally animation in which the animated figures are cut-out silhouettes rather than fully detailed images
Biographical and Information Entries
There are additional entries for important events such as new animation techniques, studio history information, the birth and death dates of important people in the history of animation, and the like. Entries referring to people have their names in italics. The first name that appears is the form of the name that most often appears in film credits. Other forms including true name at birth follow in (parentheses). Following their name is a list of their activities in animation such as animator, director, voice actor, etc.
Note: Unfortunately I lack the time or resources to help people find copies of animated films and television programs. I have put together a web List of Online Video and Book Stores that will be useful to find copies in the United States. There are other similar stores on the Internet around the world that might be able to supply the DVDs, LDs, or video tapes that are desired. Check my Animation on the World Wide Web pages for links to animation studios and other Internet resources that may have further information. I am not involved in trading materials from my own collection. I am still waiting to see most of the programs in this Chronology and would be happy to find sources of many of them.
Because of these circumstances I will not respond to requests for help to find these types of materials.