For motion-pictures, a complex and time consuming process once known as "travelling matte" was used prior to the introduction of digital compositing. The blue screen and traveling matte method were developed in the 1930s at RKO Radio Pictures and other studios, and were used to create special effects for The Thief of Bagdad (1940). At RKO, Linwood Dunn used travelling matte to create "wipes" -- where there were transitions like a windshield wiper in films such as Flying Down to Rio (1933).
Popular accounts of the history of science typically suggest that no major scientific advances took place in between the ancient Greeks and the European Renaissance.
But just because Western Europe languished in the Dark Ages, does not mean there was stagnation elsewhere. Indeed, the period between the 9th and 13th Centuries marked the Golden Age of Arabic science.
Isaac Newton is, as most will agree, the greatest physicist of all time. At the very least, he is the undisputed father of modern optics, or so we are told at school where our textbooks abound with his famous experiments with lenses and prisms.
Yet, the truth is rather greyer; and I feel it important to point out that, certainly in the field of optics, Newton himself stood on the shoulders of a giant who lived 700 years earlier.