A Brief History of Movie Special Effects

Mary Evans / MCKAY / Ronald Grant / Everett Collection

Gertie the Dinosaur — Animation
The first animated films, created in the early 1900s, were pioneered by comic illustrators and featured characters from popular comic strips of the time. Made using the single-frame method — single images projected at a high volume of frames per second — the earliest surviving animated short is 1906's Humorous Phases of Funny Faces. But it is sketch artist Winsor McCay's Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), however, that is known as the first successful animated cartoon. Innovation in animation techniques continued to develop in shorts until the first full-length animated film, Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was released on Dec. 21, 1937.

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