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Classical animation or traditional animation is the one where every keyframe is drawn individually to give the illusion of movement. Everything is in two dimension (x and y) and the depth is made by perspective, color or other elements.
The flipbook invented by John Barnes Linnet in 1868 was the first device to give the illusion of linear movement. It is a book that in every page has a sequential drawing and, when you flip the pages fast, it creates the illusion of movement.
The first animation made were only objects or characters moving, not background added, because having a background meant to draw it in every frame. Normally an animation has 24 frames per second, so if you were gonna do a 15 second animation you would have to draw 360 frames. But that amount of frames is for fluid animations, you could “cheat” a bit and animate at two’s - this means that instead of drawing 24 different frames, you only have to draw 12 and each frame would be display for two frames.
Little by little, animation started evolving, as they added a background by painting or drawing it on a large piece of paper. Then, the objects or character that moved were done over a transparent cell, that way they always had the background there and they could move the cells around on however way was more convenient for them.
Since animating in a traditional way is so time consuming and requires a high level of expertise on many things, all of the animations were very short, until Walt Disney showed up in the picture and told everyone he wanted to make an animated film. An average movie lasted for about 90 minutes, so that means it has 129,600 frames in it. With that in mind, we can understand why everybody thought Disney was kind of crazy for wanting to attempt that, and many believed he would fail. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became a reality, and it lasted 88 minutes, which represent 126,720 frames drawn by hand. Therefore, it took a large team of artist, actors (because the movie was acted and the artist were drawing while they actors performed) and many years to complete this movie.
Classical animation is one complex art, an we can fully appreciate this technique in the most recent short film of classical animation “Loving Vincent” (about Vincent Van Gogh) where 125 painters worked for 6 years painting 65,000 oil paints to create an outstanding animation. Traditional animation was not only made in the past, is still being made.

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