When More Than The Colour Changed in Cartoons

Eddie Fitzgerald (whose blog I’m sure you all read on a daily basis) wrote an excellent post the other day on something I had never thought of before. As it turns out, yes, when cartoons changed to colour, there was a subtle shift in the animation style that ensured these new ‘toons were different to those that went before.

It would appear that this is partly a technological thing and can be seen time and time again. When cartoons transitioned to TV, they changed from the innate, quickfire gags of the the Looney Tunes to the more observational humour of the Flintstones.

The same again for films when they moved from traditional to CGI. Suddenly, the animated musical was out the window and a new adult-friendly format came into play.

So the question is: where do we go from here? What will the next technological improvement bring? We’ll just have to wait and see 🙂

Why Technology Makes Cartoons Better

You’re familiar with Disney’s multi-plane camera, right? (If not, see above) It was, and still is today, a technological marvel that helped establish the Disney product as the most superior in the mind of the consumer. Although the films were dependent on the story and characters and such, the use of the multi-plane camera improved the look of the films so that they were far beyond what competitors had to offer.

Another example is CGI. When the original TRON was released, some animators at Disney refused to work on it because they felt it would eliminate their traditional way of doing things. While this did in fact occur, it also created a whole new area of animation that has seen plenty of traditionalists embrace the technique.

My point is that some people fear technology, especially if they perceive it as a threat to their way of doing things, but such fear is often unfounded. Improvements in technology can make things easier for the artist and can improve the quality of their output.

Just take a look at what technology can do today: you can have an entire multi-plane camera inside your own computer with no need for five technicians to operate it for you!

So embrace technological advancements, you really do have nothing to lose.