The Evolution Of Animation Films

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Animation is the process of bringing illustrations or inanimate objects to life through motion and pictures, as defined by Masterclass; over the past few decades, animated films have come a long way with new techniques and developments to technology. From Snow White’s 2D hair to Encanto’s realistic ranges of all hair types depicted on different characters within the film, the difference is not surprising though it is fascinating. If you are interested to learn further about the evolution over the years of animation films, then this is the article for you!

Disney has set a lot of standards for animated films by continuing to tell stories that evolve and deeply impact audiences of all ages, exploring a multitude of themes, and even serious real-life issues. Not only do we have stronger female leads, there also seems to be diversity being invited into the animated films; though to make a point, this still needs a lot of improvement. Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty were great in their time as 2D animations, especially as they set a blueprint for the future. 

As the second generation of Disney’s animated films came to be, there were visible improvements in the motions of the characters, though it was not as real as it could have been. Now, with the popularity of 3D animation, the characters such as Elsa, Anna, Moana, Maribel, and Rapunzel, managed to seem as real as they could be. In particular Maribel, from the 2021 film called ‘Encanto’.

Disney has predominantly featured characters with straight hair, using digital animation to build upon its 2D animation roots. Now, Disney has been presenting characters across the entire spectrum of hair textures, as showcased in ‘Encanto’.

In this video from Insider, we hear Edna Liliana Valencia Murillo, who served as a consultant for Afro Colombian representation on ‘Encanto’, explain how animators were trained to imitate the movement, or lack of movement, that changes from texture to texture. They take us from ‘Tangled’ to ‘Encanto’ to show the decade plus of innovative techniques that allowed them to grow from the straight, blonde tresses of Rapunzel and the sisters in ‘Frozen’, to the textured looks of characters in ‘Moana’ and the family in ‘Encanto’.