The Animated Text: Definition

By Greenberg, Raz | Journal of Film and Video, Summer 2011 | Go to article overview

The Animated Text: Definition


Greenberg, Raz, Journal of Film and Video


THE AIM OF THIS ARTICLE IS TO CONSTRUCT a theoretical definition for animation, a definition that can be used as a basis for further study of the field.

Why is such a definition necessary? Why should animation be considered a separate category in academic research? Animation holds an ever-growing place in the media, especially with the emergence of new mediaexamples include the employment of computergenerated imagery in live-action films, the use of animated diagrams and game characters by computer software, and the animation of the traditional newspaper comic strip in Its Internet incarnation. One byproduct of this process is that the status of animation in the vocabulary of the media world becomes less and less clear; it becomes difficult to separate animation from other forms of media as it becomes more embedded within those forms.

This embedment is not a new phenomenon; it accompanied animation long before the appearance of new media? as evidenced by the fact that for a long time, animation theoretical discussions were mostly part of general film theory, despite the fact that animation and cinema (as argued and demonstrated further in this article) are actually two separate fields. Animation scholar Alan Cholodenko has argued that animation should not be discussed as a subfield of film because it is actually the other way around? every film is "animated" in the sense that live-action films animate "still images called 'photographs'" (212-13).

However, it is the position of this article that defining animation as a separate entity? one that is also different from the live-action filmis necessary. The necessity of performing such separation when examining a media text stems from the fact that the relationship between animation and the reality on which it comments are different from other such relationships in the media. For example, in 1999, the BBC documentary show Walking with Dinosaurs came under criticism for its use of computergenerated imagery to portray realistic-looking dinosaurs in what was classified as a scientific documentary? especially the producers' claim of "accurate vision of paleontology" for what was, in essence, scientific speculation (van Dijck 6-7, 12-15). This example demonstrates the current status of animation in the media world, a status that gradually increases with the constant improvement of technology: animation is a leading tool for blurring the distinction between reality and representation, often through its blending into other forms of media. The ability to distinguish animation from the other forms of media, therefore, is a necessary skill for the twenty-first-century media reader.

Animation as Text

That animation is a genre is a common misconception. A genre, as demonstrated by Arthur Asa Berger in his book Popular Culture Genres, is a set of content and style conventions common to a group of texts that readers come to expect when approaching a text ofthat group (29-43). Animation spreads across a wide variety of contents and styles. One source of confusion that leads to the treatment of animation as a genre is the term "cartoon" that is often applied to animation. "Cartoon" is indeed a genre, defined by Terranee Lindvall and Matthew Melton as comic animation (203-04). The cartoon genre played an important role in shaping the early stages of American cinematic animation, and as a result, it shaped the common perception of animation; however, it is by no means the only genre In animation. The development of early animation outside the United States often took a very different direction from the comic attributes of the cartoon genre, in both content and style. Produced between the 1920s and 40s, German animator Lotte Reinigers cutout films were adaptations of fairy tales and musical pieces with a general atmosphere of seriousness. These films had comic moments, but comedy was not their focus. In fact, the same can be said about the transition of the American animation industry from short films to features. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Animated Text: Definition
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.