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5 Fascinating Facts About Animation

“Animation offers a medium of storytelling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world.”

 Walt Disney

As animators, we create worlds, stories, and characters that are designed to inspire something - whether it be a courageous tale, an inviting advertisement, or a visual example for learning.

With realms of style, seas of research, forests of awards, hidden treasures, clans of companies, and a host of characters to role-play, animation itself is a most magical world.

map and equipment

Image by Suhash Villuri via Unsplash

We at Business of Animation [BOA] are comfortable inhabitants of this world and are here to offer a map of fascinating facts about animation to help you further explore the place we as animators share.

As you read through our animation facts, as varied as they are, we hope that you too will grow more at ease in the world of animation. Without further ado we present - 6 Fascinating Facts about Animation:

Facts About Animation #1: Animation Styles are Ever-Increasing 

Like most art forms, animation hasn’t stopped developing and with the constant technological advances, the opportunities ever increase.

All you have to do is type “different styles of animation” in Google and articles pop up with various amounts of styles and examples. And that’s because animation is constantly evolving!

different styles of animation

Image via Reeeel

As an animator - freelancer or business owner - a smart move would be to look at the market and pinpoint which animation styles are gaining attention, being overused, or having the potential to set you apart from other animators. These facts about animation are crucial.

Our BOA Blog has dozens of articles on specific styles of animation, what tools you need, and comparisons between animation styles.

Our blog on 8 New Animation Trends Animators Need to Try! will definitely expose you to some recently evolved styles.

Get comfortable with your classic and popular styles like 2D animation or motion graphics but so do your research, master, and use one or two styles that are just that little bit different and cutting edge.

Here are a few styles you may not have known of or haven’t considered learning and using in a while:

  • Chuckimation
  • Sand Animation
  • Plexus Animation
  • Paint-on-glass Animation

Facts About Animation #2: Animators REALLY do their research!

an animator doing research on a big book

GIF by US National Archives via Giphy

All art comes from some form of inspiration. In animation, understanding how objects move is vital to really realistically capture the essence of that movement.

That means RESEARCH! And your really good animators go all out to really understand the movement of the subject they are creating - making some interesting tales in the process.

With some fascinating, some hilarious, some surprising, and some rather strange research methods, we had to mention some of our personal favorite facts about animation research processes:

  • For "How to Train Your Dragon", animators had to attend flight school so they could really capture the movement of flight which played such a significant part in the animation process.
a boy and a dragon from animated movie "how to train your dragon"

Image via WallpaperCave

  • To understand and capture an accurate depiction of mud for "Shrek" - the effects department took mud showers. Yep, mud showers.
  • Do you know that adorable waddle Baymax from "Big Hero 6" does? The inspiration is taken from the way a toddler walks with a full diaper!
  • Animators of "Soul" found inspiration in aerogel, a solid material known to be the lightest in weight. 
aerogel inspired some animation styles in pixar's "soul"

Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech via Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  • In "Over the Moon", Chinese fashion rockstar, Guo Pei, was enlisted to help create liquidity to the goddess's dresses.
  • "The Little Mermaid” and “The Beauty and the Beast” used live actors for realistic inspiration for the character's movements.
  • To capture those mysterious mountains in "Up", the creative team went about climbing Mount Roraima in Guyana, South America.
bird from up was made through actual field research

GIF by Artips Factory via GIPHY

And they actually brought ostriches to Pixar for the animators to successfully create Kevin.

  • For "The Lion King", a three-week trip took place in Kenya with animators & artists - again to capture the wild surroundings and animals that would fill the animation.
  • "Frozen" is riddled with Nordic & Scandinavian inspiration - from clothing to reindeer to Norse runes, symbols, and trolls. 
  • For our final inspiration research, we offer you this story about Disney's most handsome animated character - Flynn Rider from "Tangled":
flynn from tangled was created through researching on what traits make the most attractive man

GIF via Giphy

His design was thanks to a “handsome men '' meeting that happened at Disney. The character designers and animators pinned up photos in a room of leading, well-known, handsome men from throughout Hollywood history.

Then they brought in a group of females and simply took note of the repeating remarks of admiration about looks and personality.

They combined all those characteristics to produce Flynn Rider - making him officially the most handsome animated character.

Facts About Animation #3: Animated Films have Claimed Numerous Academy Awards

animated characters attending the oscars

GIF by The Academy Awards via GIPHY

Yes, animated films have left and are still leaving strong marks in the film industry; and here are some facts about animation and a few examples:

  • The first ever animated Disney film to receive an oscar was "Pinocchio" in 1940. And it won two! One for the best original score and best original song.
  • "Dumbo" received the best original score the following year. But after that, animation took two silent decades before appearing on the Oscar winner's list again.
  • However, starting in 1990 to 2022, animation films have won academy awards almost every year, with a steady winning streak from 2002 to date.
the oscars have awarded animations since its inception

GIF by The Academy Awards via Giphy

  • Ironically, a significant amount of the awards went to the best original score or best original song.
  • Disney & Pixar were often competing for best-animated picture or feature. But they had Warner Bros. Sony, DreamWorks, and Paramount Pictures honorably winning the awards in between.
  • Our most beloved animation films have at least nominations under their belt with many of them coming away with an Oscar.

For a more detailed list of these animation wins, you check out this article: “Every animated movie that's won an Oscar

Facts About Animation #4: Companies have Contributed to Animation History

Most animation companies started with either a freelancer in animation or by starting a small company and since then they have made significant contributions to the art form.

Let's take a look at a few companies and discover some fascinating facts about animation from them and what they have brought to the animation stage:

a recap of animation history

Image via blundellisobelle

  • DreamWorks:
  • They have 35 full-length animated features films
  • "Monsters vs Aliens" cost DreamWorks $174 million making it their most expensive animation to produce with "How to Train Your Dragon" coming second with a budget of $164 million.
  • DreamWorks' "Shrek" was the first animated film to win the Oscar for the best-animated feature film.
shrek smiling

GIF by Peacock TV via Giphy

  • In BoxOffice, "Shrek 2, 3, and Forever After" take the lead.
  • Meanwhile, on Rotten Tomatoes, we have "How to Train Your Dragon" claiming a 98 rating with Chicken Run and Antz hot on its tail.
  • Disney/Pixar
pixar logo animation lamp

GIF by Regal via Giphy

  • You know that cut lil' lamp that jumps into the Pixar logo at the start of every Pixar film? Its name is Luxor Junior which is actually from its own little short animation with the same name.
  • Hairy facts:

"Monsters Inc.'s" Sulley has very carefully animated 2.3 million individual hairs! It took 12 hours for one single frame to be produced.

Pixar created a whole new program just to animate Merida's gorgeous red curls in "Brave".

Disney had to do the same for "Tangled," with the program itself taking 9hrs to create. Those golden, magical strands of Rapunzel are to blame for the $274 million cost to the studio.

the hair of rapunzel in tangled required extra work to look realistic

GIF by Popxo via GIPHY

  • Disney was the first animation company that used 3D tech to help produce the animated feature film "Toy Story".
  • Whenever Walt Disney came down the hallway, 'Man is in the Forest' was code for the staff to jump back into their work.
  • During one brainstorming session over lunch,  the ideas for favorite animation films, Wall-E, Monsters Inc, A Bug’s Life, and Finding Nemo, were munched into reality.
finding nemo as an animated film was just a lunch idea by a few animators

GIF via GIPHY

  • There is an asteroid named Disneya after - you guessed it - Walt Disney. Bambi, Thumper, and Donald Duck also have their names flying through space on asteroids.
  • By the end of 2022, Disney would have produced 123 full-feature animation films.
  • The last film Walt Disney was personally involved with is "The Jungle Book".
  • Warner Bros:
  • "Looney Tunes" pretty much put Warner Bros' animations and films in the limelight.
all the different characters of the looney toons universe

Image via Cartoon Research

  • The voice of many beloved cartoon characters, Mel Blanc, has "That's All Folks" on his gravestone. With Bugs Bunny being his most famous, he was also the voice behind Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck, and the list goes on.
  • 1997, Warner Bros has claimed fame for having the first cartoon character appear on US postage stamps - Bugs Bunny stamped all over the US and beyond.
  • There are more than 50 cartoon characters in "Looney Tunes" alone and Company boasts about 61 animated short cartoons.

Facts About Animation #5: There are a Lot of Animation Job Opportunities

Now you may be new to animation, a great freelancer, or have your own animation business but sometimes we forget the limitless possibilities in this industry.

We have a blog post on 10 Career Opportunities in Animation You Never Thought Of that will certainly expose you to this fascinating fact about animation.

there are an endless amount of job opportunities in the animation industries

Image via Yans Media

If you want to break it down in terms of general animation positions and jobs, you'll probably land with the following and what they do:

  • Production Management - they choose and put the team together, get the funds budgeted and available, and ultimately put everything into working production order with deadlines, descriptions, and final calls.
    • Director
    • Producer
    • Production Coordinator
    • Runner
lots of ideas for animation job opportunities

GIF by andrewillustration via GIPHY

  • Development - they are the ideas and concept factory. They give suggestions and proposals to get the whole show on the road.
    • Concept Artist
    • Writer 
  • Pre-Production Team - these are the ones that take all the information from the above two teams and lay out a detailed action plan. Covering story, characters, design, and shots.
    • Art Director 
    • Background Designer
    • Character Designer
    • Head of Story
    • Modeler/Model-Maker
    • Storyboard Artist 
pre production animators create the foundation of animation

GIF by Giacomo Cerri via GIPHY

  • Production Team - they do the practical creating. Pulling together the animation, the lights, and the layout for every shot, etc.
    • Animation Technical Director 
    • Animator
    • Compositor
    • Effects Technical Director 
    • Layout Artist
    • Lighting Artist 
    • Rigger
animation production is where animators work hard to bring ideas to life

GIF by Corey Egbert via GIPHY

  • Post Production Team - they inspect and fine-tune the created content. They are also the people behind the music and sound effects.
    • Composer
    • Edit Assistant
    • Editor
    • Sound Designer 
  • Distribution - this one is pretty obvious - get the animation on the screens. Whether it's in movie theaters, or on broadcasting platforms like Disney+, Netflix, etc. Apple TV, or onto the general television channels.
    • Marketing Executive
    • Sales Executive 

We got this breakdown from Careers in Animation by Screen Skills - you can have a look there for some more details.

Blog posts like Popular Animation Roles Every Studio Looks For and 21 Techniques of Animation Freelancers Must Master are full of facts about animation that can be discovered from our blog that will broaden your knowledge and expertise too.

Forging Fascinating Facts About Animation Together

The world of animation is rich in fascinating facts about animation, from research to awards to job possibilities. Forging these facts together creates a framework to both wonder and be inspired by.

We believe that these fascinating facts about animation can help you see what you are capable of as an animator or animation business owner.

We also believe that guides who are familiar with the numerous paths to take are also vital, and that is why we have a free masterclass and free marketing handbook to assist you on your journey.

A journey that starts right here with - “How to Start an Animation Studio”.

And, as mentioned earlier, our blog contains endless resources on job potentials, tools, and tips that will turn fascinating facts about animation into fascinating animation realities for you and your business.

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