Flash Blather

Before There Were Keyframes

, Author

World's Oldest Animation

As I watched the goat leap gracelessly into the air, I thought to myself, “What an amateurish attempt at animation!” Where’s the anticipation, when the goat rears back before its jump? Where’s the squash and stretch? Where’s the follow through? Why was this done at such a low frame rate?

But then again, what more can you expect from an animation that was created over five thousand years ago?

Yes, you heard me correctly! The animation of the leaping goat was found on a bowl in an ancient burial site in Iran, and it dates back about 5,200 years. Around the circumference of the bowl is a series of images, and it wasn’t until recently that researchers realized that these images, when thrown together in the fashion of a flipbook, could be made into an animation.

The animation, which seems to be about 8 frames long, tells the abbreviated story of a goat who wasn’t satisfied with the leaves on the bottom of the tree, so he leaped and leaped in order to snag one from the top. Sure, it seems like a boring story on the surface, but you have to ask yourself why he wasn’t satisfied with the lower leaves. Perhaps they were dry and wilted. Or maybe the goat didn’t care about the leaves. Maybe he was just leaping around, trying to impress the lady goats. Or maybe… You know what? Never mind.

Anyways, perhaps seeing an animation like this will help us all to appreciate just how good we Flash nuts have it.

Hooray for Movie Clips! Yeehaw for Graphic Symbols! Long live the Motion Tween!