This Is What Computer Animation Looked Like In 1971

The documentary above offers a fascinating look at the Key Frame animation system designed by Marceli Wein and Nestor Burtnyk at the National Research Council of Canada. Besides the impressively futuristic vibe of their hardware setup, it’s also amazing to see the sophistication of their software. It may come as a surprise to many that shape tweens had been figured out as early as 1971.

The Key Frame software was used in Peter Foldes’ pioneering vector-animated shorts Metadata (1971) and Hunger (1974). Here’s my question for the CG historians: what happened to vector animation between 1974 and the early-90s? After the films by Foldes, were there any other vector animation films in the Seventies and Eighties because I’m having trouble finding many examples. It seems to me that not many artists explored the possibilities of vector animation until Web animation in the mid-Nineties brought it back into vogue.

(Thanks, Celia Bullwinkel)