Looking back at Classic Animation

Hello all,

This is a post on something many of us have fond memories of: our favorite animated classics. Regardless of which studio or company these works came from, we can’t seem to forget the impact they had on us. The great things that made us love these classic films were the result of tremendous amounts of work by many individuals. That scale of work to accomplish such vision was of course much more less technology driven 30 years ago than it is today.

These classic animated tales remaining so embedded within our memories, provides reason for the many re-releases and re-mastered classics. Utilizing the new technology allows for improvements to be made to all areas of the films such as color adjustment, audio, as well as other more subtle elements. There are multiple reasons for utilizing the new tech of course. One such being that even though the old rotoscope techniques were stylish, much more fluidity in motion can now be achieved.

In the early days the animation process was a huge, time involving, multi person effort with lots and lots of drawing. This required numerous animators to work on the “cells” or (individual hand drawn frames) of animation. There was a strong belief in adding life to the imagery by use of reference as well. The animators were not only well documented artists of anatomy, but of real life study drawing. Much of the early animation process involved studying live actors as they acted out movements and motions for needed action.

In this way,the early animation was much akin to what is now days replaced by motion capture techniques in the digital film industry. Instead of small reflective spheres attached to an actor to record motion, the artists of these old animated films relied upon their keen eyes to capture realistic motion. The intricate and subtle motions of the actors were reviewed by the artists and translated into  two dimensions, providing that realism that we all grew up to love.

Nowadays, an animated short can be put together by a handful of talented artists wielding high tech software, pen tablets, 6 core hyperthreading PCs with unlimited memory, and an expresso machine nearby for late nights. Sure there are still great animated films being made, but how many of them can compare with those old classics that we love?


5 thoughts on “Looking back at Classic Animation

    1. I agree as well. This is also why I feel Miyazaki’s work for example is so amazing. The massive amount of time and attention to the old hand drawing techniques, hand painted backgrounds, and overall frame by frame approach. Simply inspiring.

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