The Stigma Against Animation

Let me ask you something: what’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say ‘animation’? Is it a long, expensive, painstaking process that, when well executed, can result in a visually striking product that will stand the test of time? Maybe it’s a specific movie or show. Or, if you’re an average movie-goer, do you think ‘Oh, that thing for kids’?

If you’re in the laddermost category, congratulations! I’m about to spend an entire article telling you why you’re a dummy dumb dumb!

Most people tend to think that animated movies are for children. This isn’t a complex matter; most average movie viewers, particularly Americans, are only exposed to it through cartoons and the occasional Pixar/Dreamworks movie. There are more than a few cartoons with adult humor, especially on Netflix, but those don’t count; they use a childish presentation as a juxtaposition to the subject matters at hand. Even some executives in Hollywood see it the same way, looking down on animation as if it’s a lesser art form. Why do you think we keep getting live action remakes of animated movies?

Besides the obvious answer.

Granted, this is a mostly American opinion. In other countries, especially Japan, animation is seen in a much broader, more respectful lense. It can be for children, yes, but it can also be for adults. It doesn’t lean entirely into one market, instead choosing to cast a wider net. And that style of animated movie/show has definitely gained traction over the last few years.

Yet the stigma remains. Animation is still not given the same credit as live-action movies. People still think it’s just a silly little thing for children.

Here’s the thing: anyone who has this opinion has no goddamn idea how difficult animation is.

There is a lot of shit you need to know in order to animate. You gotta know how to use tons of different tools in tandem with one another. 2D animation and stop motion are both real bitches, requiring a huge amount of time and effort to make something that looks smooth and energetic. Sometimes it requires the animators to go frame by god damn frame to do it!

And in case you don’t know movie talk, a single frame is one twenty-fourth of a second. I feel like I need to repeat that. One twenty-fourth of a second. Do you realize how many of those are in a movie? 2D animators need to deal with all of that. Betcha have more appreciation for Studio Ghibli movies now, huh?

3D animation isn’t much easier. Not only do you need a metric fuckton of computer power to create a high quality model and put it in a high quality setting and actually make it move. Plus, 3D animation software is an absolute bitch to work with. It requires a ton of time and patience to make one of those look good.

Plus, 3D animation is often used in Hollywood movies these days. Like, it’s a goddamn miracle to not find a Hollywood movie without CGI in it these days.

Technical skills aside, people tend to ignore the benefits of animation. With it, you can make faces far more expressive and emotional. You can turn the most mundane actions into something super fun and energetic. With real people, you can only do so much. But with an animated character? You can do literally anything your heart desires!

But no. It isn’t live-action, therefor it isn’t a valid artform. I am a smart man who doesn’t believe in climate change and wears a tin foil hat in my garage.

4 responses to “The Stigma Against Animation”

  1. It’s sad that animated fiction is seen as below live action. And it’s a shame that so many wonderful stories won’t get the proper recognition because of that. Animated movies/shows is a completely different way of telling a story and you can see completely different worlds there that can’t be replicated in any other form.

    Liked by 1 person

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