Modern American Animation
This article describes the history of animation in the United States of America from the late 1980s to the early 21st century. This period is often referred to as the renaissance of American animation, in which many major American entertainment companies reform and revive their animation divisions after the downturn in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
From 1988 to the present, Disney’s Return
In the mid-1980s, the American animation industry fell into disrepute. Toy commercials, disguised as cartoons for entertainment programs, dominated the evening and morning of Saturday, and the only experiment was conducted by independent developers. Even animated films were sometimes projected in the cinema, but the glory of yesteryear was gone. Even Disney, which was fighting a corporate takeover in the 1980s, thought about stopping making animated films.
When the much-anticipated renaissance of animation began in the oldest and most conservative company, Disney, enthusiastic audiences, critics, and animators alike were taken aback.
In the 1980s, Disney underwent a dramatic transformation, with the new chef, Michael Eisner, bringing the company back to its feet, returning to its roots, and revitalising its studies. The study teamed up with Steven Spielberg in 1988 to produce the animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, directed by Robert Zemeckis, to much fanfare.The film was a success, and gave the animation industry the boost expected at the time. Roger Rabbit not only made him a tonne of money for Disney, but also fueled the popularity of classic animation that continues to this day. The history of animation suddenly became an object of study (and its fans). Several directors and business legends, such as Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng, were suddenly in the spotlight and acclaimed after decades of being virtually ignored by the public and industry professionals.
Disney continued the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? with “The Little Mermaid,” the first of a series of animated films that seemed to recapture the magic of the golden age of Walt Disney himself. The studio invested heavily in the new technology of computer animation for such purposes, but was able to create super productions such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”, which attracted audiences not seen for decades and once provided a visual feast that has not been exceeded since the 40s. The peak of the hit for Disney was in 1994, when his film “The Lion King” exceeded all expectations of the study to become one of the most successful of all time. Even later Disney movies like “Pocahontas”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and “
Disney has also penetrated the neglected part of the animated TV series. With the success of shows like “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, “The Adventures of the Gummi Bears Disney” and “Duck Adventures”, the “new” Disney has made its mark on TV imagery. Through association and repetition, Disney is able to deliver high-quality animation for TV. A series of major releases were made in the mid-1990s, with some critics touting “Gargoyles” as the Disney TV animation project’s most ambitious and artistically best-executed. The soundtracks of each of these animated films were an important part of their success, as Disney incorporated a loud voice from the music world into each of these projects, such as Elton John (The Lion King), Luis Miguel (The Hunchback of Notre Dame),
Spielberg and animation
As Disney revived animation, Steven Spielberg made his own way. In addition to his amateur animation life, Spielberg was also interested in creating high-quality animation and teamed up with his animation producer rival, Don Bluth, to produce “Fievel and the New World.” The success of this and Bluth’s next film, “In The Land”, in Hollywood made him realise that Disney did not have a monopoly on animated films. The other Hollywood studios resumed production of their own animated films, but still fell into the trap of trying to imitate Disney’s 1997 film, Don Bluth. The Fox Animation Studios, produced by Fox, are credited as the ones that launched the Fox Animation Studios and Disney’s rival, DreamWorks. However, these studies failed to succeed after “Anastasia” and were closed in 1999.
Spielberg and Warner Bros
Spielberg, meanwhile, switched to TV and teamed up with animation studio Warner Bros. to produce “The Tiny Toon Adventures,” a high-quality animated series that paid tribute to the great cartoons of Termite Terrace. “The Tiny Toon Adventures” received a high rating from its young audience, inspiring Warner Bros. to resurrect its dying animation studio and create yet another contender in animation. The Tiny Toon Steven Spielberg continued with the presentation of “Animaniacs” and “Pinky and the Brain”. New viewers were also drawn to Warner Bros. because of the latter. People of all ages, as well as adults, were also interested in the show.
Ralph Bakshi, director of innovative animated films such as “Fritz the Cat” and the original “Lord of the Rings”, returned to animation after a brief hiatus in the mid-1980s. In 1985, he teamed up with young Canadian animator John Kricfalusi and the legendary British band “The Rolling Stones” to create an animated music video for “The Harlem Shuffle,” which was completed in early 1986. Although the music video didn’t speak much, he built a production team for the “Bakshi Animation” project, continuing with the short-lived but well-received “The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse.” Bakshi & Co worked on numerous projects in the late 1980s, but the biggest project was “Cool World: A Blonde Between Two Worlds,” which premiered in 1992.
The main reason for the increasing quality of American animation is the ability to outsource the heavy lifting to lower-cost animation houses in South and Southeast Asia, which allows a large number of frames to be obtained at a low cost. The script, character design, and storyboarding are all done in US offices. The storyboard, models, and colouring books are sent abroad. This sometimes causes problems because the finished product cannot be completed until the frames are mailed to the US. Although budgets have been reduced, foreign production houses are chosen by episode, or even by scene, depending on the amount of money available at the time. As a result, there is a big difference in quality from one episode to another. This is especially evident in shows like “Gargoyles” and “Batman”: The Animated Series, where sometimes animation
In the 90s, a new wave of animated series whose primary target was adults returned to the genre after an absence of more than a decade. In 1989, “The Simpsons,” an animated short based on “The Tracey Ullman Show,” became the first prime-time animated series since “The Flintstones” and captivated much of the audience. It was the first hit series for the fledgling Fox, and it provoked little sensitivity, entered popular culture, and gained wide acceptance. In 2008, “The Simpsons” seemed to show no signs of stopping, and “Gunsmoke,” as the on-the-air fiction program, could surpass American television history for longer. In 2007, they released their first movie, entitled “
Ren and Stimpy.”
In 1991, Nickelodeon premiered “The Ren and Stimpy Show”. “Ren and Stimpy” was a quirky series riot that broke all the traditional limitations of Saturday morning correct drawings, preferring instead the quirky style of the short golden era. Bob Clampett was also a big influence on series creator John Kricfalusi, who worked as an animator during the Saturday morning downturn and was a big fan of his work.
Spike and Mike
In addition to mainstream animation from the 1990s, there was a strange and experimental movement. In a short animation festival in 1989, hosted by Craig Decker and Mike Gribble Spike (known as “Spike & Mike”) and originally based in San Diego, It all started with the showing of a collection of thematic short films, known as the Classic Festival of Animation, at places of business meetings and trade across the country.
The collections are primarily created by Oscar-nominated short works by students at the Institute of the Arts in California and experimental work by the National Film Board of Canada. The first festival featured works by John Lasseter, Nick Park, and Mike Judge. Judge’s work, “Frog Baseball”, marked the first appearance of their franchise characters, Beavis and Butthead.
However, the festival gradually became a film programme called Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation and turned into an underground movement of adult humour and subject matter.
Swimming for adults
In 1994, Cartoon Network authorised a new series called “Space Ghost” from coast to coast with a certain postmodern twist, showing live interviews with celebrities mixed with original cartoon animations. Space Ghost: The series made the leap with the production of Hanna-Barbera, now owned by Cartoon Network. It was the beginning of a common practise of using old Hanna-Barbera characters for new productions, such as the surreal “Underwater Laboratory 2021,” based on the early 1970s cartoon short “Sealab 2020.” Also, Harvey Birdman, an attorney for a mediocre superhero, Birdman, who was originally the star of the Birdman and Galaxy trio, had become a lawyer. His clients, like many of the characters in the series, come entirely from the old Hanna-Barbera characters.
In addition to big, old and cheap animation files, independent animators have also started to take advantage of new digital technologies. An artist with sufficient technical skills could explore new styles and forms with much more freedom. The traditional animation skills of drawing and painting have given way to digital manipulation and the aggressive use of new animation techniques.
Along with these new programs, American audiences, particularly in geographic areas influenced by the fusion of Pacific coast cultures, began to embrace Japanese animation, or anime, 80.This growing market for anime videos is satisfying the public’s desire for children and adolescents with a large number of Japanese series translated into English. Initially, access was limited to videos, but as anime became mainstream, it found its way into US movie stores. Because the animation occupies a different place in Japanese culture, it includes a series of issues that are not addressed by American animation.
“Adult Swim” is an adult animation block released at the start of primetime on Cartoon Network, leading the adult industry and featuring the latest technology in animation. Adult Swim, which originally aired on Sunday nights in 2006, was on air until 5:00 a.m. and aired every night except Friday. “The Brak Show,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” and “Tom Goes to the Mayor,” all produced exclusively for Adult Swim, are often surreal and bizarre, but also considered fresh and original.Adult Swim re-released the series “Futurama” and played an important role in preventing the cancellation of “Family Guy”. In addition, it also publishes numerous popular anime series, such as “FLCL,” “Lupine III,” and “Inuyasha.”
Other drawings for adults
Other TV channels have also experimented with adult animation. MTV has produced several animated series, especially for young and adult audiences, “Liquid Television” and “Beavis and Butthead”. Even the USA Network programme found a cult following with its “Duckman Show”. The most successful adult animated series of the 1990s, however, was “South Park,” which debuted in 1996 as a cartoon pirate on the Internet.
The faster the animation and the more disturbingly clandestine the light, the more dominant the force in television animation led to increasingly hectic territory and perhaps eschatologically, for example in “The Tick and Duckman”.
In 2005, adult animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi said he would be working on another film, “The Last Days of Coney Island,” which he would independently finance and produce.
Saturday morning decay
After nearly two decades of being in a coma, the American animation industry experienced a sudden boom in the 1990s. Several new studies seemed to take risks and found a multitude of markets to sell their talent. Along with the animated TV series, the animation is used in TV commercials, video games, and music videos. The small animation studios challenged “Hanna-Barbera Productions” in the TV animation market.
Hanna-Barbera couldn’t even compete with the new types of animation on the market. During the time that dominated the entire spectrum of Saturday morning photos, Hanna-Barbera had virtually no competition, deteriorating the quality of her series. In the 1990s, the study could only offer baked goods like “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo” and “Tom and Jerry Kids Show” to compete with “Fox Kids” and the new Warner Bros. “WB Television Network.” Hanna-Barbera was left behind and found herself bought out entirely by Turner Broadcasting.
Hanna-Barbera didn’t just have trouble adapting to the changes that are spreading across TV. The “Big Three” networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) found their loyal audiences being eroded by competition from new channels, including new varieties of “Cable TV” such as Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network. Video games and movies available on video also helped change the market, to the point that NBC cartoons didn’t exist at all for a while. The ABC was bought by Disney, and Disney set the tone for a series of Disney animation productions on Saturday.
While the animated series seemed mediocre on major networks, the cable television cartoon achieved several successes. Nickelodeon did see minor cult hits like “Doug”, “Rugrats”, “Ren and Stimpy”, “Rocko’s Modern Life”, “SpongeBob”, “Invader Zim” and “The Fairly OddParents”. Meanwhile, Hanna-Barbera’s new owner, Time Warner, focused the investigation on creating new drawings for Cartoon Network. Hanna-Barbera was an influx of fresh blood and a new generation of Hanna-Barbera cartoon drawings were born as “Dexter’s Laboratory”, “Johnny Bravo”, “Cow and Chicken”, “Powerpuff Girls” and “Courage the Cowardly Dog.”
Still, every new bit of animation wasn’t a goldmine. The Disney animated films began to suffer from quality issues until the late 1990s, after producer Jeff Katzenberg left the studio and formed DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Also, several animated films were released in the 1990s that attempted to imitate Disney’s success, but as in the 1930s and 1940s, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. animations failed to capture a significant market segment of Disney films that had been dominant. Notably, Warner Bros. had a string of failures. “Cats Don’t Dance,” “The Magic Sword,” and “The Iron Giant” (the latter praised by critics and audiences but largely ignored by the general public) all died on the box office.Warner Bros. also tried to mimic the success of “Roger Rabbit.”
In addition, the children’s market trend continued into the 1990s, almost as ubiquitous as it was a decade earlier. Two major events dominated many weekend afternoon kids’ shows: “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” in the mid-90s and “Pokemon” from the second half of the 1990s to the mid-2000s. Until animation experienced a revival in the 2000s, a lot (and a lot of dollars) were spent on merchandising.
The growth of computer animation
Another joker is added to this busy and competitive atmosphere with the emergence of a new wave of “computer animation”. The decade of the 90s saw an exponential improvement in the use of computers to enhance animated sequences and special effects. This new form of entertainment soon dominated the world of special effects in Hollywood (the movies “Terminator 2,” “The Judgment” and “Jurassic Park” featured impressive computer-animated sequences), and it was only a matter of time before a movie was made entirely with computers.
Again, it was Disney who led in this area. Disney animators had cautiously introduced computer-generated sequences into their films, such as in “Beauty and the Beast” in early 1991. A computer-generated flying carpet played a major role in “Aladdin”. In 1995, Disney produced Toy Story, the first fully computer-generated film, with Pixar. The film was a huge success and sparked a new movement. Other research studies are producing their own computer-animated (CGI) films.
Perhaps because it was first developed as a new method of creating special effects, computer animation was not seen as a form of “child entertainment.” After decades of being related but separate industries, the line between animation and special effects is being eliminated by the popularisation of computer special effects, to the extent that the use of computers in Hollywood movies has become a matter of course. The best special effects are often so subtle that they go completely unnoticed. The Oscar winner for Best Special Effects, “Forrest Gump” (1994), relied heavily on computer special effects to create the illusion of realism, to the extent that actor Tom Hanks shook hands with US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The movie “Titanic” used computer graphics to bring each scene to life in three hours.
Computer animation has also made its way into television. Saturday morning’s series “ReBoot” gained a lot of popularity among adults. This was the first of many CGI series such as “Beast Wars”, “War Planets” and “Roughnecks”. The quality of computer animation has improved significantly with each new series. Many non-animated TV shows (particularly science fiction “Babylon 5”) invested heavily in CGI production, resulting in higher quality special effects than their predecessors could have hoped for at a low cost.
Other Disney studies tried their luck with computer-animated movies and discovered their weaknesses in the monopoly that made animated Disney box office successes. While DreamWorks pales in comparison to Disney-Pixar’s “Bug” and “Toy Story 2” productions with “Antz” and “Small Soldiers,” it finally got big hit numbers in 2001 with “Shrek.” “Shrek” was a huge success at the box office, attracting audiences for the production and mastering of the summer of that year’s “Atlantis”. Even 20th Century Fox turned heads when it ran a CGI animated movie titled “Ice Age” in early 2002. Not all studies were successful at the box office with computer animation, Paramount said, “
But the real star of the CGI revolution seemed to be Pixar. Even before “Toy Story”, the study made a name for itself by producing amazing animated shorts (his short “Tin Toy” won an Oscar) and when Disney tried to make a CGI movie of its own without Pixar (“Dinosaur”), the result was remarkably disastrous.
Despite this success, computer animation continues to rely on drawn and stylized characters. In 2001, the first attempt to create a world fully animated using “human actors” was “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,” which received moderate critical acclaim but did well at the box office.
CGI special effects were so rampant that the 2002 sci-fi movie “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” was considered by its director, George Lucas, to be the first animated film to use real actors. In fact, CGI effects have become so common that it’s hard to distinguish between real and computer-animated life. A growing number of movies use entirely computer-created characters that interact with real parts on screen, such as Jar Binks in “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” Gollum in “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” and the main character in “Hulk.” While computer-generated characters have become acceptable actors,
Disney seemed poised to lead the decline of hand-drawn animation. Despite the box office success of “Lilo & Stitch”, the failure of the hyped summer “Treasure Planet” seemed to assure there would be further cuts in the study of Disney animation. The loss was most damaging to Disney in 2002, when the Oscar for Best Animated Feature went to the artist (by hand) Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away.” Disney inflicted a second defeat after the Academy Awards.
Disney arranged all of their agencies, and Dreamworks Animation also announced that it would abandon traditional drawn animation and focus solely on computer-generated productions from 2003. Although traditional frame animation is likely to be supported by TV cartoons and TV ads for the foreseeable future, The schools of animation history believe that “the era of classic American design,” which began with the Walt Disney film “Snow White,” is about to end. Others disagree, pointing to the mediocre success of the traditional animated film “Brother Bear” and the fact that Pixar has announced it will be producing traditional animated films in its own effort to revive this art form.
In 2004, he debuted with the films “Sky Captain” and “The World of Tomorrow”. Note that the entire movie was shot against a blue screen, with the background completely computer generated, and the actors were all real actors. Robert Zemeckis’ movie “Polar Express”, starring Tom Hanks, with five characters, is made entirely with CGI animation but uses motion capture technology to animate the characters.
In July 2005, Disney announced that it would close its studies in Australia in 2006. That study, responsible for video sequels like “The Lion King III,” was the last bastion of hand-drawn Disney artists. In 2006, Pixar creative director John Lasseter told Time magazine that he could restore Disney’s traditional animation unit, saying that “of all the studies that should do 2D animation, it should be Disney.”
In December 2009, the last major animated film to make huge box office gains was 20th Century Fox’s “Avatar,” directed by James Cameron, who has received a lot of praise for the quality of the special effects that are really impressive.
Animation has become so widely accepted that at the turn of the twenty-first century (2001), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences introduced the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The two main rivals for the first year of this award were two CGI films: DreamWorks’ “Shrek” and “Monsters Inc.” by Disney Pixar. The prize was for “Shrek”. However, there were complaints that the award seemed to be more focused on family films than animated films. “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” was the third nominee, not the innovative and critically acclaimed adult film “Waking Life” or the visually innovative “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.” Hayao Miyazaki’s critically acclaimed “Spirited Away”
The Annie Awards were presented at the Los Angeles branch of the International Animation Society (Association international du film d’animation or ASIFA), better known as ASIFA-Hollywood, in the month of February for competitive animation in film and TV.