Clip Art Animation

The cheapest way to create an animated short is, simply put, not to animate it at all. Rather than actually creating a new set of cel animation drawings, you can simply take some existing piece of clip art and just sort of... move it around on the screen. It doesn't have to look realistic; in fact, the more obviously fake, the funnier it will be.

While forms of this have been around for as long as film, it was until recently mostly associated Terry Gilliam's sequences in Monty Python's Flying Circus and the subsequent films. Now, however, with the explosion of web-based Video Collage, the techniques have become democratized, and entire new genres based on it have arisen.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • The Guinness Draught "Brilliant!" ads that aired in America featured this style heavily.

    Anime & Manga 

     Film — Live-Action 
  • Birdemic has a lot of this in its bird effects. Sadly, it was meant to be serious.
  • Madeline applies this to the front covers of the first three Madeline books in its opening credits, and to title and "Fin" cards drawn in a similar style.

    Live Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • One of the levels in killer7 has cutscenes done in this style.
  • The entire game of The World Ends with You is done in this style... but done so well it barely counts. Plus, the room they saved was put to good use with one of the best soundtracks on a DS game ever.

    Web Animation 
  • Jib Jab is famous for doing this for political parody.
  • Animutations, Flash animations featuring cutouts of random characters and things usually lifted from Google Image Search.
  • Almost all Flash Poop variants of YouTube Poop are done that way.
  • The Homestar Runner animation "The Reddest Radish."
    • Also, the saleswoman in the Teen Girl Squad animation about the girls going to camp.
  • The Spongmonkeys, a pair of lemurs wearing bowler hats and sporting rather creepy-looking human faces that were once featured in a Quizno's sub shop commercial.
  • Inferno Cop is done this way; the characters are cut-out models who don't change - they even get reused as different characters.

    Western Animation 
  • The Marvel Super Heroes, one of the few uses not meant solely for comedy. It was like watching a comic book on TV with classic art by comic book greats like Jack Kirby.
  • Angela Anaconda - It's très interesting how they did this. They had models come in and take about 30 or so pictures for every mouth movement and a mouth movement for every letter in the alphabet. They then took the model's face and mouth movements and created each character.
  • Parodied in the "Badly Animated Man" shorts on Raw Toonage: the titular character is "animated" in this manner, while every other character is done in Disney's typical fluid style.
  • South Park was originally done like this, at least for the pilot - today, it's done in CGI drawn to resemble this style.
  • MAD, when spoofing real people.
  • All of the land animals from Fish Hooks.
  • One episode of Arthur featured a parody of South Park where Arthur Read is kidnapped by aliens and Buster Baxter is crushed by their flying saucer.
  • The storybook characters in Super Why!.
  • Wonder Pets
  • Transformers Beginnings; based on the prequel comics for the film.
  • The [adult swim] cartoon Tom Goes To The Mayor was done using this. The people in the show appeared to be clip art photographs run through Photoshop's "Photocopy" algorithm to render them monochromatic (blue, looking somewhat like a mimeograph of a traced photo) and would usually Jump Cut from pose to pose, with occasional more "sophisticated" movement (like cutting the photograph's arm at the elbow and moving the forearm piece from side to side to make them appear to wave).
  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger from Uncle Grandpa is done this way.
  • Twice Upon a Time uses a technique its director calls Lumage. The characters are made of small pieces of plastic or fabric that are moved on top of a light table. It also uses black-and-white photographs for the land of Din, which is meant to be the real world.
  • The Adventures of Prince Achmed uses a similar technique known as silhouette animation, which uses jointed figures made of black cardboard lit from behind. The effect is similar to Oriental shadow puppets.

Alternative Title(s):

Cut Out Animation