As promised, here is part two of Traditional animation vs. CG. Each form has its pros and cons, so let’s review them, shall we?
Traditional Animation Pros
Each frame is physically touched by a human hand. I see this as more of an artistic achievement, whereas I see the actual animation of CG films as a technical achievement. Traditional animation has many styles, where CG is limited in its unique look. For traditional, there is anime, cartoony Tex Avery style, rotoscoping (hand drawing over frames of live-action film), bright, dull, lush, etc. CG animation has yet to prove its diversity in styles (although The Book of Life looks a little different visually). This is mainly do to the fact that CG films are almost exclusively created for a childhood audience, and since since these films are marketed to that demographic, brighter colors are usually used.
Traditional Animation Cons
Traditional animation sometimes lacks depth, which I will explain more later. Besides that and all of CG’s pros, traditional animation does not attract a mass audience today.
When done properly, CG animation looks the most realistic and life-like out of all forms. Pixar is a master at this. CG has the ability to create a sense of depth and vastness sometimes absent in traditional animation. For example, the scale of the large bag check in Toy Story 2 would be difficult to replicate in a hand drawn work.
Also, CG captures certain textures and light in a way that traditional animation cannot. A key example of this is the magnificent way the light shines off of Merida’s hair in Brave. Each strain of her hair is incredibly detailed in a GC only way too.
When CG is done poorly, it looks terrible. When traditional animation is done poorly, looking at it does not induce pain.
There are some expressions that work in traditional animation that do not translate well to CG. These include exaggerated expressions that by very nature look “cartoony.” These types of animation techniques do not translate well to CG, probably because people have always associated them with anime and classic Hanna-Barbara type cartoons.
CG animation needs to branch out stylistically. This will come in time.
GC animation is very new compared to traditional animation, so CG has a long way to go to match tradition animation’s diversity, techniques, and range. Give the industry 50 years, and CG will be there. It still needs more of a history.