Animation in the 1930’s was a very involved and lengthy process. If you think it’s a lot of work today then you’d be right, but even so it’s a lot less arduous than it was back in the 30’s, when the current technology was nowhere to be seen and most everything had to be done by hand. Armies of artists, animators, landscape designers, and even painters and tracers had to be employed to produce a single cartoon. While it still takes an army to produce cartoons in their current form a lot of the backbreaking labor is taken up by computer programs and machines that have been designed to make the process just a little bit easier.
Think about how fluid cartoons are now, and then think about how fluid they were back then. There were more mistakes, the voices didn’t always fit the movement of the characters’ mouths, and of course the animation was a lot more grainy and tended to jump a little more than it does now. This was true even back in the 70’s and 80’s with some of the more popular cartoons that are now being watched out of nostalgia. If you watch the old G.I.JOE and Transformers cartoons then you’ll see that the animation isn’t quite up to the same level as it is now. Thanks to computers and more innovative and revolutionized techniques the art of making cartoons as they did in the 30’s is quickly fading into memory. Back then however things were a lot more labor intensive and there was almost no room for error.
The proportions of the characters had to match the landscape and vice versa, the movement had to be very little between one drawing and the next, and the landscape even had to move in order to make it seem like it was moving with or around the character. Entire sets were even built for cartoons and used again and again in order to give some feeling of depth to each episode. When you look at all this and think that everything you see was used to make just a handful of cartoons you kind of have to sit back and wonder at just how important pop culture really is. The amount of effort that’s put into it is amazing and the money and labor that went into the creation of each toon was something that was hard to believe but was undeniably great.
Cartoons now are almost all computer generated it would seem, though there are still the old-fashioned 2D cartoons that can be seen on various channels. Which style is better is entirely subjective since personally I still love the old Looney Tunes and have a soft spot for Transformers and a few other cartoons. But kids today thoroughly enjoy the current style of cartoons and likely won’t know how they came to be unless someone teaches them eventually. It’s not a matter of life or death but it would be interesting to see how they react after being told just how the cartoons of then eventually made the cartoons of now possible.