1530s, "alive," past-participle adjective from animate (v.). Meaning "mentally excited, lively" is from 1530s, that of "full of activity" is from 1580s. The moving pictures sense is attested from 1890. Related: Animatedly.
At present [Edison] is working at the 'Kinetograph,' a combination of the phonograph and the instantaneous photograph as exhibited in the zoetrope, by which he expects to produce an animated picture or simulacrum of a scene in real life or the drama, with its appropriate words and sounds. [J. Munro, "Heroes of the Telegraph," 1890]