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The Death of Hand Drawn Animation


Poe Catcher
Aug 25, 2008
Georgia, USA
We all have grown up to love hand drawn animation. Well, we now know that it is starting to die out, thanks to the introduction of computer generated images. As much as I love CGI, I really like hand drawn as well, for you have more freedom than CGI. How does this make you feel? I think its kinda sad that something that has been adored for many generations is dying out. I like hand drawn, and I'm even worried that hand drawn will dissapear because Disney, of all companies, is going flat out CGI. Well, Pixar is thinking of bringing in some Cel-shading. Cel-Shading is good enough for me, yet I don't enjoy the loss of hand drawn, though.


True and Noble
Oct 17, 2007
United States of America
I noticed the same thing last night when I was watching the movie "The Road to El Dorado", which is hand-drawn. I was thinking, "You don't see many movies like this anymore." All of it is CGI now, which is good only to certain degrees. Disney just can't seem to get the CGI perfect, especially with the humans.
And thus, my friends, we turn to anime, where it is still alive and well.


Working on a webcomic. :D
Oct 18, 2007
I guess about the only thing that is now hand drawn are things like Pokemon or something similar. But then again, Pokemon has some CGI mixed in, like Piplups Bubblebeam.

Bob Majinki

Deku Director
Feb 15, 2009
I myself have done some animation. I did use a computer to draw all my frames so it isn't 100% hand-drawn, but I did not use 3D rendering to accomplish my desired product.

It's very tedious. I spent about four days of crazy drawing to make a 13-second animation.


Mrs. Caleb
Aug 20, 2008
I love hand drawn animation. It has such a classic feeling. And I feel that when done well, it is a lot more respected, just cause it's done by hand. CGI is awesome in its own right, though. I just am not looking forward to the day when my kids will watch an old Disney movie and be weirded out by how "primitive" hand drawn animation is.


Air Dancer
Jan 6, 2009
I agree that hand drawn movies/shows have a look about them that cant be replaced. I do love computer graphics to though but they cant be compared to hand drawn to me. I kind of wish it was not dying out.. but it must be lots of work to hand draw everything.


didn't build that
And thus, my friends, we turn to anime, where it is still alive and well.

And unfortunately, of much lower quality, on the whole, than traditional hand drawn animation in the states. When it comes to the visual element (which is what this is all about) even Miyazaki's films seem as though they have yet to really catch up with Disney's earliest feature films--Snow White, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. I also love the Disney Rennaisance. You can't watch a scene from Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin and not think it's a work of art. As far as anime films are concerned, there are few I can name that even come close. It's nice that it's around, but it's not enough, and I'm still not sure it will call companies into action on re-learning the kind of animation pioneered by Disney. Anime's certainly deviated from that, with mixed but often less impressive results.

As far as this side of the globe is concerned...CGI has lead to less interesting caricatures, on the whole. Stylization is certainly present, but seems to have lost something--that fluid, larger-than-life quality that traditional animation presented. That said, I don't think traditional animation will die out. If it's on a downturn now, it will certainly be rediscovered in the future, because it is so rich in a way that CGI never could be. Hell, even games, with cel-shading, are aping hand-drawn animation (though I agree, probably anime for the most part) rather than CGI. I wouldn't mind a mix of CGI and traditional animation in the future. Disney tried this during its rennaisance in films such as The Lion King and it worked wonders.

There's a movie you should keep an eye on if you like traditional animation. It's called The Princess and the Frog [link] and it's being released by Disney this year. For all intents and purposes, it doesn't look like the half-baked junk they've been churning out (Home on the Range, anyone?) but a full-fledged return to tradition in almost every way. I hope it's a rousing success. I'm going to do what I can to support it when it's released.

I don't wish the death of CGI either (hell, I love Toy Story and I don't even think it would work with traditional animation), but if I had to choose, classic is better. It's not hard to see why.


Agent Of Chaos
Feb 11, 2009
Santiago, Chile
I love hand drawn animation. Like most of you guys, I grew up watching hand drawn disney movies. I also like CGI animated movies (when done correctly). I feel that CGI animation has reached a good enough standard to make the whole movie on a computer, wich is good, because my guessing is that, as time goes by, hand drawn animation will be absolutely left out. In the end is just another way of making movies. Just like when color cinema shoed up, or sound. Sure, you can love old, black&white, silent movies, but that doesn't mean they're gonna make one today. So eventually, hand drawn animated movies will be the equivalent in animation to black&white movies. IMO at least.

El Bagu

Wannabe Mr. 1-8-1
Jul 5, 2008
In Woods. N of River!
Hand drawn animation might die out, or might not. Paper has not existed forever and back in the old days peoples had to make inscriptions in stone. Everything changes but I guess there is always some people who appreciate tradition and because of that fact drawn animations might still exist at a limited amount even in the future.


Aug 26, 2008
Fargo, ND
I'm hoping for another re-birth in hand drawn animation. There was a period from the late '80s and to the mid-90s that saw a lot of great movies and cartoons made using traditional animation. Disney and Warner Bros. were particularly good during that period.
Jan 6, 2009
In your face
I love hand-drawn animation. There's a certain heart in it and importance to it because people took the time to make each individual animation cel. CGI is great and all, you get a nice, crisp image, but if we didn't have to take into account convenience and everything like that, I think it would be best if we used CGI for 3D rendering and make 2D animation hand-drawn. CGI 2D animation feels so cold and heartless somehow.


Retired Super Mod and HK
Oct 24, 2007
As an ex-animator, I can speak for the creators when I say computer animating is much easier and takes less time. In the long run, I would rather do something easy and not all that time consuming, and still get that great result.


Sage of Tales
Are you talking about the "look" of hand-drawn animation, 2D style, or are yo talking about *actual hand-drawn animation?*

I think on the large scale (maybe not with a few, dedicated... massochistic... "arty" studios), that hand-drawn is on the out because, think about it for a moment. How many of you draw? How many of you work really hard to get something to look good? Imagine drawing that same drawing over and over again, with very subtle differences each time. Sounds tedious and hand-cramping, doesn't it?

From what I heard, the 2D "hand done style" can be reproduced inside a computer. Not all "CGI" is the 3D, "in the round" looking stuff. In fact, most animation that you see on TV is done by computers now.

I don't think the traditional "look" will die, just that the tools used to create it are changing.

My fiance' and I talk of this stuff all the time. We're both animation fans. He actually studied to become an animator many years ago (to do hand-drawn stuff) and, due to circumstances, never quite made it, but his interest and fandom for the art form never died. We both understand that actual hand-drawn is a tediuos process, and we both love Pixar movies, but, in general, we have a preference for the traditional 2D "look." We both often grumble about how everybody and their brother is churning out the 3D stuff, to the neglect of the traditional style.

I hope there's a revival of traditional style/look, but I doubt there will be *actual* hand-drawn on the large scale anymore.


There's a Bazooka in TP!
Feb 28, 2009
Ontario, Canada
I find it very sad that this once great art is moving slowly away. I do love some of the CG animated works out there, it is impressive, but as someone who was trained in classical hand-drawn animation, it does make me upset to see it less frequently used.

When I entered my college program, there was something like a 90% hiring rate right out of college. Sometimes people were recruited without even finishing the program. By the end of the course, Disney had stopped their hand-drawn division more or less and pulled out of Canada. No recruiters came to see us, and the graduation talent display was hardly attended. We didn't have a CG element to the course at all, so none of us were ready for the switch. I still see some of my top-level classmates working retail from time to time.

As for CG cartoons on television with less budget, they are just too wooden. They don't seem to care about the fact that the end product looks liek a student film at it's earliest stages. I grew up with fantastically drawn Warner Brothers cartoons that were full of life and displayed a great deal of talent. These days, it's all imported low-grade Japanimation, or the lousy budget CG. I was blown away to see Disney use hand-drawn again for their newest feature. I don't mind that it's CG-aided at times, but at least at it's core, it's hand drawn.

I think part of what makes me sad about it's passing is that people seem to think CG movies are the best visuals they've ever seen. Yes, they are impressive, but hand-drawn movies can be just as amazing. People seem to like to marvel at what a computer can process, but find no interest in what simple pieces of paper, a pencil and human hands can put out. It makes me sick in a way.

I keep hoping that traditional animated movies and TV show will make a triumphant return, but as long as Pixar movies keep raking in the dough, I doubt we will ever see this day.

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