Friday, January 16, 2015

2D Animation, Is It Dead?

*This is mainly talking about animation from major Hollywood studios, as that's what is commonly brought up when someone says 2D animation is dead. 
It Started It All
   With animated films now being successful for studios other than Disney, one thing remains a curiosity, why aren't there more studios, namely the big studios like Fox, or Warner Bros., etc. doing 2D animated films?  Even Disney as of late only occasionally puts out 2D animated films, with no sign of another coming soon. Why  are we no longer seeing these kinds of films regularly? Why has the animation king itself, Disney, followed the other studios? Is 2D just a thing of the past?

The easy answer of course would be pure laziness, at least that's how most people who hate 3D animation view it to be. The computer doesn't require as much work because once the models are done it's only a matter of doing the movement, no hard work required, it's just easier to work with, therefore other studios would rather do that because no one in Hollywood wants to do hard things. That would be a good answer, if it weren't blinded by hatred,  3D animation may not have the same hardships as 2D animation, but by no means is it easy, it's just a different kind of hard work. Easier work has no direct effect on the lack of 2D animation, even if it did hold up some kind of plausibility it would only bring another question to mind, then why is Stop-Motion, arguably the hardest form of animation in mainstream animated films, still doing relatively well? Within the last few years we've had at least four or five major animated Stop-Motion features , while 2D was pretty much nowhere to be found. 2D animation only seems to be found whenever a foreign animated feature draws attention from being nominated during awards season, while Stop-Motion seems to have features coming out with the public's attention before any awards ceremony decides to give it some, which is especially strange considering most major studios find it to be time consuming, as well as not very profitable.

Low amount of success does have a place in 2D features though, which is often forgotten by a lot of the people crying foul over the 3D dominance. Most animated features that weren't Disney (though even Disney had it's share of failures) were never really successful during the pre-3D days, in fact most studios did not care to dip into animation regularly like today, it just wasn't box-office gold, in contrast, nowadays most animated features are guaranteed to succeed. 2D animation just wasn't always guaranteed to be cash cows like the 3D features of today, so it comes to no surprise that studios would abandon this, and yet stop-motion hasn't been much of a cash cow either. With the question of success bringing up the obvious of Stop-motion being rarely successful, 2D animation simply can not blame it's shortage on this, at least not entirely. When talking about the old animated films, people often seem to forget one thing, while there are classics, a lot of the 2D animated films were often pretty bad, and obvious cash-ins to the Disney style,perhaps that is where the lack of support stems from, there were some great 2D animated films, but a lot of what flooded the market in animation was poorly made Disney ripoffs,which in the end seems to cement why 2D is no longer the popular go to animation form.

Something like stop motion regularly gets acclaim, as well as awards and nominations, perhaps that's why it gets more attention from Hollywood, it's almost a guarantee to get some award, or notoriety which always pleases studios regardless of box-office success, which then seems to sum up why CG has become common even with the Mouse House, it gets the award nominations, while also being hugely successful, making it no surprise studios have seemed to shun out 2D animation, it didn't regularly get either throughout a lot of it's lifespan.That's not to say it's a positive way of looking at things, just what probably makes most sense. Will 2D ever come back in a big way? I can't honestly say, but if it were to come back I predict it will come back in a form we wouldn't recognize, that is to say, that just maybe it will come back as an excuse to do more animated features for older audiences, things like Family Guy or South Park, but that's my guess.

Written By Octaviano Macias.

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