Traditional animation is a term that may confuse some readers. You may be thinking animation, shmanimation; it’s all the same to me. However, traditional animation differs greatly from the animation we see in many major films in today’s industry. There are several distinctions that can be made between traditional animation and digital animation used in movies today.
Back when Disney and other major companies began producing animated films, each frame was hand-drawn and they were put together to make the motion picture. Films like “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “The Sword in the Stone” were all hand-drawn frame by frame, which lends itself to the artistic aspects of the films. This is also referred to as cel animation or classic animation. Animation of this type was truly considered a labor of love, as each frame had to have the detail, concentration, and sweat that went into every other frame created, sometimes taking extremely long periods of time.
However, you rarely see such animation anymore in today’s film industry. Now with films like “Gnomeo and Juliet” by Touchstone Pictures or even “Despicable Me” by Universal Pictures, the sketches begin as drawings before engineers use computers to make a rendering of the image. A “rendering” is another word for a computer-generated image. Whether the images are generated in 3D, 2D, or in any other fashion, it is a much faster process when using a computer. While there is still effort and hard work placed into the films using the computer, it is a whole different kind of art and skill behind the animation. Animation companies in Singapore believe that the service that they provide will still be existing in the future. It is more than just a service they provide, it is pure art.
Although artists who draw and artists who use a computer to render an image both need an artistic eye, the physical labor differs greatly. Using a mouse and computer program would seem to be a much more effective way to remain artistic while being precise. The art behind drawing cel animation is still a precise process, but it lends itself to some inconsistencies – which I believe help create a true art piece. Little inconsistencies and mistakes can make for a unique product, whereas using a computer program or a program similar to what other production companies use lend itself to a much more watered-down and similar looking animation.
Either way you look at it, both traditional animation and digital animation both require a knowledge and skill far greater than most possess. However, the art of cel-animation is a dying one — one that hopefully a production company will choose to revive in some form or fashion. For now, we can continue to enjoy the spectacle that digital animation has brought forth to this generation and beyond.
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