The Groundbreaking of Silhouette Animation [and The Future For It]

In a nutshell, silhouette animation is an animation style in which the characters appear as coal-black shadows. Hence, they get the trademark name as silhouette animation.

Traditionally, this type of artwork is customarily performed by backlighting articulated paper cut-outs, though other methods can help to compose this particular art.

The art of silhouette animation itself is influenced by shadow play. And this captivating art of shadow shows, which we could associate with traditional cultures like that of Indonesia’s Wayang.

Wayang is a shadow puppetry show originated from Indonesia.

History Of Silhouette Animation

Animation comes in many different styles, and among them is silhouette animation. Silhouette animation is one of the prominent players who used to be a notable contributor back in the day. Thanks to its cut-out simplistic design.

Although this particular style isn’t exactly new — long before people have been affected by digital technology advancement; silhouette animation has already existed. As simple as paper cuts or well cut-out pieces of rags supported by candlelight. At the time, it is referred to as shadow puppetry.

The earliest animated short video dated to use silhouette animation was produced back in 1909 by Charles Armstrong, called “The Sporting Mice.”

As you can see, the video is created using cut out pictures of mice and then take portraits of them one by one. The technique is somewhat similar to what we know as stop-motion-animation, while the gestures performed by these black silhouettes are also limited. They were indeed just black shapes moving around in the frame.

Technically it is usually animated on 12 frames per second, with occasional faster animation 24 frames per second.

And perhaps the most famous silhouette animation that commonly quoted on the internet is a video titled “Lotte That Silhouette Girl.”

or another film produced by the same director, prized, as her most celebrated work includes Cinderella (1922)

and The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926).

Silhouette Animation Is Outdated?

You may think that silhouette animation is no longer a trend, which is true to a sense. In fact, it has never been the most popular.

And when all animation style is now bombarded with something akin to silhouette animation but has a modern twist like an example below

And in contrast, silhouette animation typically plays as black characters. The main characters are in comparison to the white background. This art, unfortunately, slowly loses its appeal due to its lack of complexity.

Silhouette animations today that made professionally are quite rare, and only cater to a specific market exclusively.

We could count just how many animators who are devotees to work primarily within the confines of silhouette animation stick to its aesthetic. While others slowly transpire to create different stylizations.

The Future For Silhouette Animation

Although silhouette animation is seldom be made, professionally composed ones are often valued.

Despite the low number of silhouette animation being produced, technology advancement assures and allows us some flexibility in the future. By incorporating more color palette to the otherwise monochromatic silhouette type of animation, we bring vigor to classical art. Sequences of digital and drawn silhouette animation can be as colorful and engaging as you can find down below.

Tale of The Night is an excellent example where silhouette animation shows its capacity to be more versatile than what people imagine initially. By using modern technology, where everything can now be digitized, creating silhouette animation is much more manageable today.

There are stabler technologies to support the improvement of animated silhouette films. Silhouette animation can be quickly drawn on the computer. And can be animated using up to date animation software. There are even varieties of online tools, occupied with several sets of features to help you create the animation.

Silhouette animation isn’t two tones anymore. And we could not wait, what the future of silhouette animation can be if it is growing at this pace.

What do you think of silhouette animation so far? Let me know by leaving your comment down below.

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