Cartoons in a New Format: The 3D World Continues to Rise

October 18, 2012 9 Comments by 3DBlog

by Christopher McFarland

My youth was full of cartoons and comics: in all honesty, you could not pull me away from either of these forms of entertainment when I was young. Looney Tunes, Animaniacs, G.I. Joe, and Yogi Bear were at the top of my cartoon list. They were something to talk about—soap operas for the youth, as my mother called them. We had a chance to talk about the newest episode on the school bus and on the playground. Now, cartoons have graduated to a new degree of sophistication. With the onset of 3D technology, cartoons are a lot bigger, funnier, and more creative, in my opinion.

A traditional cartoon is usually made up of many slightly different images, like a flipbook. In this type of animation, each of these images is called a frame, and the rapid movement of these sequential frames results in the illusion of motion.  If you were to put the six images/frames to the left together you would have an animated bouncing ball! Animation can be created by hand, by rendering, or by using three-dimensional objects, e.g., puppets or clay figures.

3D animation is a new monster and is created using graphic rendering by the animator. The process begins with something called a “mesh,”which is like a blueprint for the animator. The animator, at this point, has the ability to manipulate and modify the animation as he/she sees fit. This mesh is controlled using digitalized weights that allow for movement of the geometric figure that is based is reality! This process is called rigging, and during rigging the animator can inject movement into the animation using different techniques. Most of the techniques use mathematical functions: gravity, fur, hair and even things like fire can all be added using different techniques! These techniques applied to the digital skeleton are all considered 3D dynamics. This process of rigging and applying 3D dynamics to characters and scenery is reproduced until you find an entire 3D digital world. Then this is all meshed with modern actors, music, and sounds to create these new 3D cartoons.

Shrek 2 (2004) was the highest grossing 3D cartoon, with lifetime earnings of $441,226,247! That is a lot of money. 3D films and cartoons are going to continue to be produced. The most recent “Brave” and upcoming “The Rise of the Guardians” shows that 3D cartoons are not just for children, but for everyone.

I have heard rumors of a “Popeye” production that will be rendered in 3D. That would take me right back to my childhood! In the meantime, check out some of the more recent 3D cartoons, and you will not be upset by the craftsmanship, storylines, or the visual illusions they are selling.


  1. Juan Salinas says:
    Monday, October 22, 2012 at 5:41am

    I don’t know if these things are related to each other but when 3D was introduced into animation cartoons started becoming more and more adult. You can no longer tell it is only for children. Great


    • Cintia says:
      Friday, October 26, 2012 at 8:18am

      That’s totally true! My son has always been so much fond of cartoons. But I’m having a lot of fun watching cartoons with him. However some of them don’t look good for children


  2. Kyra Dawson says:
    Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 1:08pm

    Not that I have ever imagined the technique to be different from what you describe but I certainly didn’t imagine it THIS way. Maybe I haven’t ever even tried to understand what it might be like 🙂


  3. Jbag says:
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 2:11pm

    You don’t say that cartoons are childish, I totally love them!


  4. Arnaude Labrecque says:
    Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 12:51pm

    Yeah, I like 3D cartoons, especially those by Pixar 🙂


  5. Aleš says:
    Friday, November 2, 2012 at 9:33am

    What I would really like to see one day is 3D cartoons of Amanita Design. They have a very peculiar style. This must come out fine.


  6. Saad Smakman says:
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 5:59am

    What programs do I need to create 3D animation?


    • Aline says:
      Friday, November 9, 2012 at 6:51am

      You can use 3D Max or Maya, it depends on your choice. Not that there is any crucial difference. It’s only up to you to decide which one is better for your needs.


  7. Shalini says:
    Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 7:47am

    Looks like soon we’re gonna have 3D cartoons only. 2D cartoons are already in the past


Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *