The New Age of Animation

By: Thomas Horvath

Up to the late 1990s, the main animation form used was traditional two-dimensional (2D). This required every frame of the movie to be hand-drawn, which would require loads of labor and time to make one animated movie. This all changed when the animation company Pixar entered the scene with the smash hit Toy Story, a movie that would affect animated movies for the rest of the foreseeable future. The movie had great characters, humor, and was a very heartwarming movie. The movie made over $334 million in 1995, which is equivalent to around $780 million today. The Toy Story movies themselves have made over $3 billion worldwide, but the main thing that stuck out when the first movie was made was its animation. This was the first big movie to be fully 3D animated, which required less work and less budget to make. This inspired other companies that previously had been making 2D films to make 3D movies, such as Dreamworks with their own hit series, Shrek. At the time, these movies were not the best looking but were fascinating to watch as this had never been done before. This began the age of 3D animated movies.

Since then, almost all animated movies that make it to the big screen have been 3D animated. They’re easier to make, cost less money, and usually end up looking smoother than lower-budget 2D. While some of these movies tend to do pretty well, some audiences are growing tired of the animation style being bland and uninteresting. 

These criticisms and everything seemingly being done with 3D animation drove creativity and competition. The movie that flipped the script was Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. This movie’s animation was a mix of 3D and 2D, making it look like a comic book come to life. The movie was critically acclaimed, and this movie started what some would consider the Spiderverse Effect. Since this movie, we have seen examples of this newer, more stylized 3D animation style: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, and even the upcoming Spiderverse sequel. This new wave of animation is seemingly just getting started, and it looks like old-school 3D animation will soon be irrelevant.

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