Computer Animation became a viable commercial possibility with the announcement of the SC4020 microfilm recorder. Within the period 1962 to 1966 sufficient computer-generated films were created that demonstrated that this was a new novel way of producing animation vastly different from the established process.
This part of the website describes the SC4020 and demonstrates what was possible in this new media.
A paper by Alan Kitching titled Computer Animation: Answer or Problem? in December 1971 gives a good snapshot of what had been achieved by 1971.
This section also contains some papers on computer animation from the book Computer Animation edited by John Halas.