Google honors Oskar Fischinger with interactive doodle

Have you peeped Google today? It’s all about Oskar Fischinger, a world-famous German-American animator.

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The search engine, which sometimes uses its homepage to honor prominent figures, is highlighting the pioneer on what would have been his 117th birthday.

Born in 1900 in Germany, Fischinger held a variety of jobs before becoming an animator. He was an apprentice at an organ-building firm and later a draftsman at an architect office.

In 1921, he saw a show of Walther Ruttmann’s “Light-Play Opus No. 1,” a color abstract musical, and dived head first into a career in cinema.

He began creating his own abstract movies, experimenting with colored liquids, clay and wax long before any computer software was around. The designer soon caught the attention of several filmmakers and other creatives, who recruited him to compose animations, cartoons and commercials that would take months or years to finish.

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Although Nazi officials disapproved of his work when they gained power in the 1930s, Fischinger secretly continued to produce art until he received a call from Paramount. Executives from the studio wanted him to work in America, and he quickly took the job.

In Hollywood, he contributed sequences to Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” and “Pinocchio,” and he also started to lean more toward oil painting.

Fischinger didn’t just make art. He was also an inventor who licensed the Wax Slicing Machine, a device that turned drawings into movement, and the lumigraph, an instrument that produced imagery.

He died in 1967 in Los Angeles at age 66. Since his death, his work has been added to the Centre for Visual Music in L.A., and three of his flicks have made it to the 1984 Olympiad of Animation's list of the world's greatest films.

Now, Google is paying tribute with an interactive doodle that allows users to create their own audio animations. Check out the doodle archive to see Fischinger's animated doodle.

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