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At a basic level animation can be thought of as a flicker of life in objects. For example a flying bird is an "animate" object while a glass vase is an "inanimate" object. In real life inanimate objects move because of external forces, but in the virtual world, technology and imagination work together to create movement. Animation has become popular because real life has movement and the human eye is naturally attracted to movement.
Over the last 100 years animation has developed into a huge industry. Computer animation has advanced rapidly, and is now approaching the point where movies can be created with characters so lifelike as to be hard to distinguish from real actors. This involved a move from 2D to 3D, the difference being that in 2D animation the effect of perspective is created artistically, but in 3D objects are modeled in an internal 3D representation within the computer, and are then 'lit' and 'shot' from chosen angles, just as in real life, before being 'rendered' to a 2D bitmapped frame. There were predictions that famous dead actors might even be brought back to life to play in new movies.
Animations can be used in various ways on a web page such as making a log presentation more interesting by activating charts that dynamically show changes over time. Again animated games are very popular on the Web, especially 3D games. Animation attracts the attention as it is dynamic. For example animated buttons on a web page attract more attention than the static buttons.
When we speak of types of animations, the simplest type is an animated GIF. Animated GIFs are popular because they are easy to create and donít require special software for viewing. Another type is the animated text where the text changes color, blinks, or even explodes like a firework. Rollover effects changes the state of an object when the mouse cursor is moved over the object.
Flash is widely used to create animations for the Web because Flash animations are usually small in size and most Web users have the Flash player installed in their web browsers. In the future the animations on the Web will be more interactive and 3D animations will be widely used. Web animations will be used widely for education and entertainment. The gaming industry will increase its presence on the Web and support 3D and interactive animations. Animations that use simulations will be used for training and education. A lot of focus will be on multi user interactions and 3D animations and on making the Web more and more interactive.
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