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When we are first exposed to films and television as a kid it usually starts with animated ones. You might have seen a series about little animals or could have grown up in the generation of watching musical Disney movies. While the bulk of the animated films that are made today are still for people who are younger, there are certainly some out there that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Whether you're an architect or a daycare teacher, you might still have at least one animated movie that you count among your favourites.
Animation is essentially just a rapid sequence of images. This can be 2D or 3D art and early examples of it date back thousands of years. While people were not yet renting an animated movie to watch in their home at this time, in several different cultures there were examples of images in sequence that were likely meant to be viewed as quickly as possible. They might be on a vase that would be turned or created in some other form. It was at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century that filmmakers started experimenting with this form in their own work.
There are several different techniques that we see used in animation today. Traditional animation is what you see in animal posters or older films like Snow White and Bambi. This is hand-drawn or cell animation where each of the thousands of frames were created one at a time by many people's artistic skills. You will not see many films created after the beginning of the 21st century made using this method but some people still believe that it gives you the most interesting end results. Stop motion is something that has gained popularity through the years and you will see it using clay or with puppets in full length films. The Nightmare Before Christmas and Wallace and Gromit are films that used stop motion.
The most popular form that is used today is computer animation. The first full length 3D computer animated feature was Toy Story in 1995 and this style has exploded ever since. Now, if you're looking for something a little more uplifting then you can find all kinds of comedies and kids films using computer animation. You can even find different forms of animation used for special effects in other movies.