How were cartoons animated 50-60 years ago?
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    How were cartoons animated 50-60 years ago?

    I wasn't sure whether to post this here or the lounge, but this was on my mind for a while. Correct me if I'm wrong. but Tom & Jerry cartoons came out in the 1940's or 1950's. How were they drawn and animated? Was it all frame by frame?

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    Thanks! So, this is the method used to create Tom and Jerry?

    Traditional animation was the process used for most animated films of the 20th century. The individual frames of a traditionally animated film are photographs of drawings, which are first drawn on paper. To create the illusion of movement, each drawing differs slightly from the one before it. The animators' drawings are traced or photocopied onto transparent acetate sheets called cels, which are filled in with paints in assigned colors or tones on the side opposite the line drawings. The completed character cels are photographed one-by-one onto motion picture film against a painted background by a rostrum camera.


    Thanks for clearing it up, I just couldn't picture how it was done without a computer. So all the backgrounds were painted, and the characters were all done frame by frame?

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    Yea, back in the day we used to have to draw our animations. Now those new fancy computers do it all for us. THe great layoffs of the early 90's as people were replaced with laptops were hard days for us... Luckily, we've managed to convince the studio execs that we still have some use as animators (we hit ctrl alt del when the computer crashes).


    Note: people still draw frame by frame and scan it in for many animations.

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    Yup. The first animations were being made in the early 1900's. "Gertie the Dinosaur" is one of the first to feature an appealing, recognizable character. As I know it (someone correct me if I'm wrong) Winsor McCay hand-drew every stinkin' frame. The first Disney cartoons (1920's) were also drawn by a single animator (Ub Iwerks I believe). They used pads of essentially tracing paper. Disney studios is credited with the invention of pinning those pads at the top rather than the bottom, allowing them to "flip" through the drawings as a way of seeing how the action looked.

    Later, larger productions would have teams of animators... One lead animator to draw the interesting bits and many grunts to fill in the tedious "in between" frames. Another team of artists would apply color.

    Larger studios get more and more specialized, with teams of different artists working on different scenes. Different teams for color... different teams for FX... post production... etc. Yeah, people drew every frame of Tom&Jerry... and all the others.

    Honestly, the breakdown of today's CGI studios isn't that different, except that rendering computers do a lot of the in-betweening.

    If you are interested in animation, find a copy of "The Illusion of Life".

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    Here be SKETCHIES...

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCThrom View Post
    Honestly, the breakdown of today's CGI studios isn't that different, except that rendering computers do a lot of the in-betweening.

    If you are interested in animation, find a copy of "The Illusion of Life".
    I'm not that interested, I just wanted to know how the cartoons were made. When it comes to CGI animations, the animators don't use their own models, do they? I heard they use models that the modelers make, which to me is boring. They can't even choose camera angles for scenes as the story boarders take care of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hippl5 View Post
    When it comes to CGI animations, the animators don't use their own models, do they? I heard they use models that the modelers make, which to me is boring. They can't even choose camera angles for scenes as the story boarders take care of that.
    It's the same for traditional animation. Camera angles are decided by the director and the layout artist, character design is a separate specialty, etc. The animator's job is to make the characters move and act, whether you're dealing with drawings, cutouts, clay, puppets, or computer models.


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    Quote Originally Posted by hippl5 View Post
    I wasn't sure whether to post this here or the lounge, but this was on my mind for a while. Correct me if I'm wrong. but Tom & Jerry cartoons came out in the 1940's or 1950's. How were they drawn and animated? Was it all frame by frame?

    Thanks for clearing it up, I just couldn't picture how it was done without a computer. So all the backgrounds were painted, and the characters were all done frame by frame?

    Wow. No offense, but I didn't even think this was a serious question.
    When the family vacationed at Disney World, we got to take a tour of the animation studio. Seeing all of the storyboards, painted backgrounds and cels was awesome!!! And that was only 13 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hippl5 View Post
    I wasn't sure whether to post this here or the lounge, but this was on my mind for a while. Correct me if I'm wrong. but Tom & Jerry cartoons came out in the 1940's or 1950's. How were they drawn and animated? Was it all frame by frame?
    I lie they used to put motion capture suits on actors playing Tom and Jerry, Jerry was actually a midget circus performer

    HA HA HA.... ha haha sorry but ha haha


    ok collecting myself... having studied animation I find that question hilarious...

    Is hand drawn animation that quaint and old fashioned????

    you know a lot of films are still animated frame by frame, Disney are still producing classical or hand drawn animation,

    the way an animation film is put together is that the key actions are drawn by head animator they put a timing chart on side of the page to let the inbetweener know how many drawings are suppose to be between each key pose, then the drawings are traced over by clean up drawn onto a cell and inked and coloured.

    Computers are used for colour these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orunitier View Post
    When the family vacationed at Disney World, we got to take a tour of the animation studio. Seeing all of the storyboards, painted backgrounds and cels was awesome!!! And that was only 13 years ago.
    Thirteen years ago hippl5 was four. Disney was riding high on the the success of the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and the Lion King. Other studios were setting up their own feature animation units to jump on the gravy train. And Toy Story was just coming out. It was a different world.


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    I have a friend who was still a camera operator at a traditional animation studio in Montreal 3 years ago. Yes, they still worked with paper and peg bars 3 years ago. They might still now. In fact, I think Egerie used to animate on paper for VIDEOGAMES (which I found astounding.)

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    For the young whippersnappers who have calculators, figure out how many of these drawings it takes to make five minutes of animation. I think it's about 21 to 27 pictures a second depending on how seamless and dense they want the illusion of movement to be. Calculate how many cels are in a 90 minute feature. (He He. A lifetime of work for a lone artist.)

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    for European its 24 frame a second, US i believe its 30 frames as second.

    Some drawings are on ones and some are held for two frames depending on how quick the motion.

    even for the Simpsons its a few thousand drawings, feature would be more hell of a lot more.

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    24 fps film, 30fps video.
    Although 24 is standard for animation.


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    Quote Originally Posted by hippl5 View Post
    When it comes to CGI animations, the animators don't use their own models, do they? I heard they use models that the modelers make, which to me is boring. They can't even choose camera angles for scenes as the story boarders take care of that.
    I don't know if you've tried it or not but..

    modelling = hard
    rigging = hard
    animation = hard
    animating really well = really hard

    Expecting any one person to get competent at all of those, plus directing, writing, sound fx/lipsync, programming, texturing,background painting, cinematography, editing, technical stuff, particle/special fx, rendering, lighting = not gonna happen.
    There's a reason there are so many people on the credits of those cg movies, it takes an incredibly well organised pipeline of talented specialists.

    It's not like making a flipbook.

    Also, the initial post in this thread made me feel really old.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    I have a friend who was still a camera operator at a traditional animation studio in Montreal 3 years ago. Yes, they still worked with paper and peg bars 3 years ago. They might still now. In fact, I think Egerie used to animate on paper for VIDEOGAMES (which I found astounding.)
    Canadians have animation in their blood, thanks to the NFB.

    Back in the early 90s I worked on a series of baseball games drawing key poses that were handed over to a great Disney-trained animator who drew the in-betweens on copy paper. I'd then scan them and clean them up in Deluxe Paint. Ah, those were the days.

    There are some rendering filters that will output a hand-drawn look which I always find amusing.

    Quote Originally Posted by tomwaits4noman
    ...for European its 24 frame a second...
    For PAL video it's 25 FPS.

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    So, you can do work in this world without computers, that is just crazy talk.

    No really, I’ve been doing CG short pieces for years start to finish and some things have to be cut from time to time due to the amount of work it takes. As posted above it’s lot of work.

    Being in a bit of a Tech revolt I’ve been looking into doing a little cel short to really learn the process first had. I was in college when the wave at Disney around the Lion King etc. was happening.

    Last year I was at Disney World and did the animation tour and they had plenty of concept art up for Ratatouille, and this was before it came out. All the steps in animation are there, it’s the final output that has evolved with a CG film.

    Researching more traditional animation I find it interesting with those that came from cel and tried CG. Some enjoy it, others feel a bit restricted as you are tied to the limitations of the CG rig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomwaits4noman View Post
    Some drawings are on ones and some are held for two frames depending on how quick the motion.

    even for the Simpsons its a few thousand drawings, feature would be more hell of a lot more.
    Just adding my 5 cents. You'd be hard pressed to find a held character cell in a Disney feature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    24 fps film, 30fps video.
    Although 24 is standard for animation.
    24 is pretty high end...although its been a long while since ive been in the animation field.
    im my day (1991-4), 24fps was the fancy feature film standard.

    smaller productions (mostly tv adds) went as low as 12fps
    as did the Hanna-Barbara types...or saturday morning fare.

    i was an inbetweener..lol, sounds gross but it was really fun,
    a few tv commercials ...lucky charms, captain crunch
    no creative freedom of course, but:

    i think everyone should try it...it gives one alot of help in gesture and life drawing. the idea of movement/time in general.
    and will always inform my life-drawings..and figure drawing


    just a thought
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    Last edited by kingshaj; March 29th, 2008 at 07:11 PM.
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    since I animate, I'll clear that up,

    When you animate on 1's you're drawing all 24 frames in the second. On two's is 12 of the 24 where each frame is on the screen for two frames.

    Most people use a mix of 1's, 2's, and even 3's and 4's to get what they want with the least effort. Faster action is usually done on 1's. Cheap japanese anime is often on 4's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    Expecting any one person to get competent at all of those, plus directing, writing, sound fx/lipsync, programming, texturing,background painting, cinematography, editing, technical stuff, particle/special fx, rendering, lighting = not gonna happen.
    I've encountered free lancers who do all that stuff, but with a few exceptions (Berginski comes to mind) they aren't great at all of them.

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