A Brief History of Computer Animation: 1996-2018



In the fourth and final instalment of our series on the history of computer animation, we look at the period of 1996 up until today! Topics covered include the dominance of computer animated films, motion capture and the rise of flash cartoons! Featuring work from David Firth, the Brothers Chaps, Paul Debevec and Andy Serkis!

related material:

CNN Special Report on dot.com Bubble 1999

Dice Raw – Thin Line (Between Raw & Jiggy)

Salad Fingers 2: Friends

Salad Fingers 3: Nettles

The Brothers Chaps: Interview on Pulse

Strong Bad Email #3 – Butt IQ

Strong Bad Email #68 – Caper

The Lord of the Rings (1978, Bakshi) – Making of

Nikolai Bernstein – physical motion as waves, 1930s

Waldo – The Jim Henson Hour – The Jim Henson Company

Genesis of Jar jar Binks

Creating Gollum

The Matrix Revolutions – 04 Super Burly Brawl (Behind the Scenes/Making of)

The Polar Express_Behind the Scenes

Avatar Featurette: Performance Capture

The Campanile Movie

Animating a photo-real digital face – Paul Debevec

Activision R&D Real-time Character Demo

Digitizing Photorealistic Humans Inside USC’s Light Stage

I do not own any of the clips presented. Credit to the copyright holders and thanks to the original uploaders.

For the purpose of review/appreciation.

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19 Responses

  1. Alan Becker says:

    Technology? Alan Becker!!!!!

  2. mauropainter says:

    I animated the Thin Line video. I can’t remember the names of the artists who did the drawings and ran the project. I was so inexperienced.

  3. Jermaine Conway Jr says:

    Awesome series fr thanks!

  4. the747videoer says:

    it's crazy to think that we're becoming closer and closer to able to actually experience in person 3D scenes, especially with VR. just imagine when it becomes indistinguishable from reality, it's quite scary yet exciting at the same time, as is with all new technology.

  5. PastelStudios says:

    RIP flash player 🙁

  6. José De La Cruz Correa Gámez says:

    Wow, quite a lot of information. Thanks for all these videos.

  7. Mike Aninger says:

    Great series. I would have liked to see more of the time between Young Sherlock Holmes and say Jurassic Park. That was the budding age of photorealism CGI.

  8. Mamone says:

    Amazing series, i'm studying animated computer graphics and its relatively dificult to find a comprehensive doc on this subject, since every decade the artistic process changes so much…

  9. MightyJKF says:

    I love flash cartoons because they look so unique and epic.

  10. Richard Forget III says:

    incredible series – I feel like this should be an essential watch for anyone going into 3D graphics

  11. Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

    One interesting development over the past quarter century or so is what one might call the “democratization” of CG, where it becomes possible, with sufficient skill and patience, to achieve a lot of these high-end effects on hardware that you or I can buy and take home.

  12. Faktorial || says:

    Thanks for this! Great series! 🙂

  13. Don Troutman says:

    Part 4 of 4. (The internet years)…video covers individuals and companies who continued to work on the evolution of CG, from personal use to "Hollywood" film companies, and WETA.

  14. Cameron McManus says:

    Great Series!

  15. dza101 says:

    Amazing and well made series . Thank you very much for making this!!

  16. NPC #10111456 says:

    man i love this series

  17. J Melara says:

    I’m a simple man. I see Strong Bad, I click.

  18. Eric Alvaro says:

    I find this subject utterly amazing.. I mean, just imagine the future? You being able to easy and affordably (and this part is important, I mean, with the current technology you already able to do a bunch of things, but usually they are too expensive, so it's not like the kind of thing that a young director with a tight budget have at his disposal) create any scene you could imagine. The possibilities here are endless.

    Maybe, and this could seem like a pie-in the-sky -idea today, but.. when you bring together things like artificial intelligence and photorealistic 3D… it really make me wonder if we are before a future in which… you have computers able to create art out of the blue? Not only the CGI part, but the art as a whole? Like, you say to the computer "Computer, make a movie about space pirates" and the computer would analyze your taste in movies and would create a movie especially for you.

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