2d vs 3d Animation: A Brief History of the Animated Feature Films Industry

In recent years, the animation industry has changed dramatically, what used to be very popular 20 years ago has lost it’s position under the lime light and a new type of animation have been gaining the public’s attention rapidly. It is now a world of 2d vs 3d animation in the animated feature film industry. Over 60 years ago Walt Disney wow the world with his Mickey mouse and snow white and seven dwarfs animated movie, it was a huge success and it soon scaled up to a billion dollar industry making Walt Disney one of the richest guy in the world. During those days, animations were drawn on paper and then transferred and colored on plastic cells. The cells were then layered together to make up a scene which was shot frame by frame on film. The video below will show you in detail how traditional animation is done in Disney 60 years ago.

Although some of the processes of traditional animation have been replaced by computers nowadays, the most tedious process of creating key frames and in between frames are still done by the humans. In 1994 ” The Lion king ” marks the golden era of 2d animation film, with a box office of over 920million dollars worldwide. However the 2d feature film industry went downwards rapidly ever since.

And that was most probably caused by release of the first animated 3d feature film “Toy Story” by Pixar during Christmas eve of 2005. The movie had wow the world with stunning and artistically enhanced 3d graphics making it one of the most talked about topics in the animation industry that year. With the success of ” Toy Story”, it also marked the beginning of the 3D animation era.

Disney did try to produce a few more 2d animated feature films after Lion King, namely, Pocahontas, Hercules, Atlantis: The Lost Empire etc. And all of them failed to be profitable. While Disney was having a big crisis with their 2d animated feature films, Pixar went on to make another bunch of 3d animated feature films that wow the world again and again. More over, they had actually managed to improve their 3d animation system to produce better quality film with shorter amount of time. That was something that gave another big blow to Disney’s 2d animated feature film. With the public and medias’ attentions shifted to Pixar and it’s 3d animated feature films, a lot of the 2d animators in Disney lost their jobs and some department in Disney was forced to close down. “Brother Bear” was the film which marked the worst time for Disney animated feature films and since then the production of 2d animated films was halted for a very long time. From a personal point of view, it’s was not because 2d animation has lost its beauty compare to 3d animation, but rather the public had found something new and equally entertaining. And it’s quite normal for people to behave that way. It would most probably be only a short term down turn for 2d animated films. Other than that, in order for a animated film to be successful, the medium used is much less important than how the story is being told. Being the master of story telling, Disney was exactly the one behind the story of “Toy Story” which made them the copyright owner of the 3d animated film as well. Another word, without Disney, Pixar would never be able to produce such a heart felt animated film at all.

Even though Disney had failed very badly with the 2d animated feature films after Lion King, they are no doubly still the gorilla of the entertainment industry in the whole world. Spending more than 7.4billion dollars, Disney finally bought Pixar in 2006, making it even stronger and unbeatable as ever. It was heart warming to see the union of these two companies and together they are able to push the animation industry to a greater height!

Not surprisingly, in 2009, a fresh new 2d animated film called ” The Princess and The Frog” was released by Disney. That film had leveraged on the combined technologies and experiences of both Pixar and Disney, grossing a world wide box office of more than 267million dollars. I am sure that following the success of ” The Princess and The Frog”, we will be seeing a healthy release of both 2d and 3d films every year.

To Summarizes everything, 2d and 3d animation are just 2 different types of art forms under one category. They are the mediums that helps story tellers and film makers to show their ideas to the world. And they both deserve the limelight in the animation industry.

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