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  • Kevin Morales

The Stylistic Changes Within The 3D Animation Industry

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

The animation industry is constantly creating new pieces of art whether it be in film, television, and even in commercials. Being an audience member there are many times where one does not realize the amount of work and effort that are put into the creation of such artwork.

For example, a good amount of time within the film industry animation was so focused on realism with movies such as Shrek, Happy Feet, the Lego Movie, and more. However, ever since the release of Sony Pictures’ Spiderman: Into the Spider verse there has been a lot of changes within the industry with one those changes being a stray away from realism.

Here are 3 stylistic changes that are currently being done within the animation industry within film:

  1. Move Away from Realism As previously stated, prior films were chasing this idea that realism within their films was the greatest accomplishment. It was amazing to see every single little detail within a scene like the number of hairs on a characters arm or the details in a tree in the background. Yet, Into the Spider Verse animators completely moved away from this idea into experimenting with all sorts of animation styles in the making of this film. This allowed individuals and animators on the team to be more freely creative in certain scenes than to focus on the flow of a character’s hair in the air. Typically, animation studios would simulate the movement of a character’s hair, clothes, etc. but with new films like Into the Spider Verse they completed ignored this process to use other stylistic choices.

  2. Use of Stepped Animation/ Frames per Second Typically, films will often be shot at a frame rate of 24 frames per second, which is the standard style choice. Yet, many new films like Puss in Boots: The Last Wish have started to animate at 12 frames per second. Again an influence brought upon by the 2019 release of the animated Spiderman movie. Another stylistic choice that is starting to change is the use of splined animation versus stepped animation. An example of the difference between the two is that in a splined animation a character motion will change every frame making their movements flow smoothly. While a stepped animation will have the characters hold their motions for about one to three frames making their movements look more jittery.

  3. Mixture of 2D and 3D Animation One last style that is now started to be incorporated into these new 3D-animated films are the using regular 2D hand drawn animations. For example, in the film the Mitchels vs the Machines there are a lot of pop-up titles that use hand drawn technique that helps set the mood of an aspiring artist being the protagonist and narrator for the rest of the film. Another general example is the look of the two films Into the Spider Verse and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. With the Spiderman film the directors wanted to stay true to a comic book illustration look and decided to use hand drawn techniques to give this 3D film a 2D Comic book look as well. In the Puss in Boots film, the directors decided on giving their film a fairytale painting look. The directors have stated that they also used hand drawn techniques in order to print out this sort of painterly style to the film throughout it’s entirety. These three points are just a couple ways that the animation industry is changing within film. Before we know it, we’ll be seeing television shows incorporating these techniques and even commercials. There will be many more change in the future when it comes to creating such magnificent pieces of artwork

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