"We're waiting for the pendulum to swing back again, which I am absolutely confident it will."
— An exceedingly optimistic Don Bluth
, speaking about hand drawn animation
This is the Age of Animation we live in now, starting from the early 2000s—with the end of The Renaissance Age of Animation
—and continuing to the present day. The usage of traditional 2-D animation methods that thrived in the previous eras is now seemingly all but abandoned, at least when it comes to American works; CGI
animation are the rule, not the exception—just as Limited Animation
ruled the Dark Age
during the '60s and '70s (Especially animation not coming from the USA or Japan). A lot of these shifts resulted from the constant deterioration of the global recession, which came to a head in 2008 and resulted in cheaper production procedures like outsourcing, studios taking safer bets, higher competition, bankruptcy, and massive layoffs. It did not help that any fan of content from the Renaissance Age could not get any decent work in the field by the time they were finally grown up and out of college by 2005. Studios hired unpaid interns by the hundreds, and veterans from the past eras were either out of work, doing their own thing, or dead.
began to experience its first box office failures since the early '80s. Treasure Planet
is often cited as the film where the downward spiral began, though some might say it began earlier with Pocahontas
. The company's next three films would each do worse than its predecessor; after the failure of Home on the Range
, Disney announced that it would discontinue traditional animation for good (blaming the medium itself
instead of, perhaps, the Misaimed Marketing
that went on for most of these movies). For the next five years, they certainly tried to kill 2-D animation; their second attempt at producing a CGI film of their own, Chicken Little
, had a mediocre showing (but ended up making a profit)—then there was a two year gap before their next canon entry
, Meet the Robinsons
, was released. That film was followed in 2008 by Bolt
, which achieved (at least) critical success in spite of having languished in Development Hell
after a much-needed Executive Meddling
by John Lasseter.
While this was going on, Disney was undergoing a shake-up in upper management. Since the release of Toy Story
, Disney had been the distributor for all of Pixar
's films, which were making much more money for them than most of their in-house fare. There was prolonged wrestling between the two companies over creative control, IP rights, and financial stakes over the films. In 2004, Pixar announced that they would be seeking other distribution partners when their contract with Disney was up—despite this, the two companies continued to negotiate in an attempt to patch things up. While this was going on, Michael Eisner left Disney in 2005—some say "pushed out", as Disney was struggling across the board and Eisner was one of the main obstacles to cooperation with Pixar. Ultimately, Disney bought Pixar outright in 2007, though Pixar was allowed to remain a separate entity; as part of the deal, Pixar co-founder John Lasseter became Disney's Chief Creative Officer and Pixar studio president Edwin Catmull also became president of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Allegedly, one of Lasseter's first executive actions was to discontinue the rampant Direct-to-Video
sequels of Disney's back catalog and put that specific animation division - DisneyToon Studios
- to work on new properties (such as the current CG Tinker Bell
series). Under Lasseter's watch, traditional animation also got a second chance with The Princess and the Frog
. The movie was successful enough to make Disney agree to greenlight a new traditionally animated film every two years, starting with a reboot of Winnie the Pooh
. Around this time, a number of Disney classics got converted to the 3D format using the same process as Winnie the Pooh
and were re-released in theater in short runnings, the first title of which - The Lion King 3D
- has been met with rave success. Their next 2D release was to be an adaptation of Mort
; however, the film was canceled due to rights issues, most likely because of the upcoming Discworld live action TV series. Their other originally planned hand-drawn movie, based on Hans Christian Andersen
's The Snow Queen
, has been taken off the shelf and is now in production under the title Frozen
and is now a CG feature, slated for release in 2013, thanks to the death of Mort
. On March 23rd, 2012, 38-year-Disney-animator and producer Glen Keane officially resigned, signalling that Lasseter has yet failed to bring hand-drawn animation back to the forefront, and proving that despite his efforts, Disney still
has no hand-drawn animation on the pipeline!
has had a devastating effect on television animation. Many channels have jettisoned their Saturday Morning Cartoons
and after-school blocs due to cable competition and increasing restrictions on advertising
, and for the longest time, 4Kids Entertainment
created a monopoly over what's left (and even they'd been facing financial problems
), before bankruptcy came and forced them to sell their empire to Saban Brands, who plans on revitalizing their block on The CW
, to be renamed "Vortexx
", by taking advantage of the internet to extend its reach, specifically marketing in a way that invokes a Periphery Demographic
. Cartoon Network
is pushing increasingly towards live-action kids' shows in order to compete with Nickelodeon
and the Disney Channel
, which are in turn becoming increasingly dependent on their respective Cash Cow Franchises
(live-action kid coms
for Disney and Spongebob Squarepants
for Nick), while [adult swim]
also followed suit by increasingly pushing live-action comedies while at the same time becoming over-reliant on it's Cash Cow Franchises
to keep all of CN afloat such as Family Guy
and American Dad!
. Toon Disney
was consumed by Jetix and eventually scrapped altogether to make way for Disney XD
Overall, thanks in large part to economic woes mentioned above, animation as a whole is widely considered to have suffered, though there are exceptions. Avatar The Last Airbender
started a growing trend of high-budget animated action series for TV, and is one in a long list of popular shows that are pushing against the walls of the Animation Age Ghetto
. On a different but related front, the phenomenally successful My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
is creating a stir in large part because it has taken great steps to blur the line between "girl shows" and "general audience shows"
. The influence of anime on American shows is largely the reason for the rise of shows with continuous, overarching story lines such as the aforementioned Avatar The Last Airbender
, which may be a Trope Codifier
in this regard. Further examples of shows of this type include Star Wars: Clone Wars
(the Tartakovsky cartoon), Star Wars: The Clone Wars
(the Lucas CG show), Samurai Jack
, The Spectacular Spider Man
, The Batman
, Sym-Bionic Titan
, and Young Justice
, a number of them becoming smash successes in their own right. One could very well say that, generally speaking, action cartoons produced in America has actually reached a higher medium standard than what was the case during the Renaissance Age (back then, while mature action cartoons did exist, the vast majority where quite juvinile and rarely had very complex storylines). A looser continuity is still the norm when it comes to comedy shows however, such as Spongebob Squarepants
, which rose to the position of Nickelodeon's Cash Cow Franchise
, and Disney's Phineas and Ferb
. This era also saw "adult-aimed" cartoons, which started their comeback with The Simpsons
in the 80s, reaching mainstream status with the ongoing success of shows like South Park
, Family Guy
, as well as The Simpsons
itself, along with many others.
Cartoons from previous eras are either shoved onto Boomerang or not shown at all, relegated chiefly to DVD releases. While home video releases of classic cartoons initially thrived during the early-to-mid 2000s, this trend eventually came to a crawl when a combination of piddling sales, the high cost of restoring the cartoons, and the general state of the economy caused many companies to pull back or scale down future releases of old cartoons, much of the chagrin of many collectors. note
Fortunately, older cartoons are starting to see more of a comeback, with future DVD releases lined up for Warner Bros.
(including an all new and improved Tom and Jerry
collection and, to the delight of animation purists everywhere, the first official home video release of The Censored 11
). Columbia Pictures
has also began reairing many of its old cartoons
on Antenna TV, with plans for DVD releases in the works; Twentieth Century Fox
is also planning to release a Mighty Mouse
collection in a couple of years, and Jerry Beck has been attempting to get the classic cartoon anthology program "Totally Tooned In" to finally air in the US—but the real highlight of all of this is that the original Looney Tunes
have finally returned to air on Cartoon Network
! Many fondly-remembered Saturday morning cartoons
during the Renaissance Age
such as Jonny Quest The Real Adventures
have yet to receive this revival (with Animaniacs
having only been saved by The Hub
at the close of 2012 and Tiny Toon Adventures
in mid-2013), much to the outcry of the young adult demographics.
Anime dubbing has struggled too; Geneon
and ADV Films
both folded from poor sales, Network Decay
resulting in disappearing anime blocks on television, and competition from online subtitled episodes (which could be posted shortly after their Japanese premieres) released by fans
and streaming services such as Crunchyroll. FUNimation
is probably the only dubbing studio to remain prosperous—it acquired a number of Geneon, ADV, and 4Kids' titles, while continuing to license new titles—but even they have financial issues. After its fold, ADV eventually formed Section 23 Films
, and along with Funimation, Aniplex, the recent newcomer NIS America
and (who else?) Disney, are currently holding licenses to the majority of essential anime titles on this side of the Pacific (though NIS America is not
actually dubbing them). Around New Years Day 2012, Bandai Entertainment
announced their end releasing prints and DVDs of manga and anime, focusing on digital distribution, broadcast and merchandising instead.
In contrast to the problems that animation for television has faced, the theatrical feature film market is thriving. Before, it was a high risk field with intimidating high stakes that has eventually crushed all comers outside of Disney, even greats like the Fleischer Brothers
and Don Bluth
. Now, it has became a highly competitive field with more animated features being produced by more major American companies as viable, sustained competitors than any time in history. The opening signal could be considered when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) introduced the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film starting in 2001, indicating a new level of respect and vibrancy for the art form; it could also be considered an aid to encourage more films, since they now have an Oscar of their own to shoot for. This presented a problem, too: with animation in its own category, there is an implication that an animated film will never be considered
for plain old "Best Picture". This trend was reversed thanks to Pixar—Up
and Toy Story 3
got nominated for Best Picture in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
The big champion in the field of american animated films is undoubtedly Pixar; it still flourishes and finds success to this day, thanks to their extremely solid track record in regards to the quality of their films. However, the company that blew open the field was Dreamworks Animation
(the spiritual successor to Steven Spielberg
's earlier animation studio, Amblimation
). Although its traditional animated films like Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
all flopped (the exception being The Prince of Egypt
), the company's partnership with Aardman Animations
(with features like Chicken Run
and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
) proved a real success. However, it was their runaway success of Shrek
in 2001 that finally helped get the company begin to wrestle down the All Animation Is Disney
stereotype while taking the first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Alas, while Shrek 2
was an artistic success, the company fortunes sank through the decade until they hit their nadir in 2007 with their films sinking with critically derided embarrassments like Shark Tale
, Shrek The Third
, and Bee Movie
, while alienating Aardman into ending their partnership when Flushed Away
underperformed. However, everything changed in in 2008 when the studio grew its beard
with hailed new franchises like Kung Fu Panda
and How to Train Your Dragon
that signaled a new commitment to good storytelling even as the Shrek
series wound down and the Madagascar
series made the transition beautifully with improving films.
There are also the efforts of production studios like Blue Sky Studios
(for 20th Century Fox
) and their Ice Age
series, Warner Brothers' Happy Feet
, Sony's Open Season
, and Universal/Illumination's Despicable Me
. Even ILM
got in on the action with its debut film, Rango
, a film so successful that distributor Paramount
has decided to get into the animation game with their own department 40+ years after they fired Ralph Bakshi
in closing their old one in 1967. (Incidentally, Avatar
isn't listed here because—despite the fact that the bulk of it involves a handful of live-action actors in a CGI setting—it is generally considered a live-action film.)
On the Direct-to-Video
market, the fans of the now-deceased DC Animated Universe
franchise found a new source of sophisticated Super Hero
animation with the DC Universe Animated Original Movies
—and, to a lesser extent, the Marvel Universe
videos. All of these films were explicitly produced for the formerly Periphery Demographic
of teens and adults.
European traditional animation, meanwhile, has made a comeback with the development of several new studios and directors who have produced critically acclaimed films, including The Secret of Kells
and The Triplets of Belleville
. These films tend to address serious or artistic subjects in an avant-garde style (influenced by John Hubley
and lost animated classics such as The Thief and the Cobbler
) while still going out of their way to appeal to families with small children
. Hayao Miyazaki
and his colleagues have carried the torch for traditional, movie-plotted, fully-animated films in Japan, returning to hand-drawn films which Disney (and especially John Lasseter, a Ghibli fanboy
) has taken it on to promote
in the US, with mixed results
The result has been a series of art films that didn't do well in the US, but were critically acclaimed enough to grow their studios. The challenge, of course, will be to determine how long the backers of such films insist on making art films
restricted to families with children
Adult aimed animation found a new home on Cartoon Network's nighttime block, [adult swim]
, which turned out to be responsible for Family Guy
both getting Un-Cancelled
. After the fall of Toonami
, [adult swim]
continued airing adult-oriented anime as well, while 4Kids
still aired watered-down dubs
of anime on Saturday mornings for the kiddies. SyFy
showed Anime for a period, but was short lived, ending in 2011 as part of the network's shift from Sci-Fi in general
. MTV revived their Liquidation animation block since the '90s in 2011 and kicked it off by bringing back Beavis And Butthead
! Anime continues to be popular among teens and young adults, although the effects of the Animation Age Ghetto
polarize it just as it does Western Animation
, with an extra spoonful of All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles
. Meanwhile, adult Western Animation
tends to rely a bit much on pop culture references and Black Comedy
, but at least the Animation Age Ghetto
is slowly disappearing.
On the Internet, a huge amount of Adobe Flash
animation (most of which can be viewed for free) has arisen in various genres, with fewer restrictions on creativity than commercial releases. Leading the way here is the popularity of the Flash site Newgrounds
. While the early 2000s saw a rise of ultraviolent genre series like Madness Combat
and Happy Tree Friends
, more sophisticated series also appeared as time went on.
open/close all folders
Series/Films that are associated with this era:
- For anime series from this era, see:
- Adventure Time: One of Cartoon Network's better animated shows. (2010)
- Almost Naked Animals (2011)
- Alpha and Omega: Lionsgate's CGI film about wolves that should really get more recognition than it does. (2010)
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: Receiving a new incarnation in seemingly every era of animation since their creation, now they're back as computer animated characters in a live-action setting—and because of this movie's success, Yogi Bear and The Smurfs have already gotten similar treatments. Other Hanna-Barbera properties such as Tom and Jerry and Wacky Races are rumored for future projects (to the dismay of many).
- The Amazing World of Gumball: A Cartoon Network UK/US co-production made distinctive by it's blending of many different animation styles. (2011)
- American Dragon Jake Long (2005)
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2001 - present, currently (as of 2013) airing under the title of Aqua TV Show Show, but the premise is still the same.)
- Arthur Christmas (2011)
- Astro Boy (2009 American CG film)
- Avatar The Last Airbender
- Axe Cop: Based on Ethan & Malachi Nicolle's popular webcomic. (2013)
- The Backyardigans (2004)
- The Batman (2004)
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
- Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003)
- Batman The Brave And The Bold: Re-invigorated the Silver Age essence of Batman and introduced this generation to more obscure DC characters (Blue Beetle, The Metal Men, Crazy Quilt, etc). It found success despite debuting not too long after The Dark Knight.
- Beached Az (2009)
- Ben 10 series
- Big Buck Bunny (2008)
- Biker Mice from Mars (the 2006 revival)
- Bob's Burgers (2011)
- The Boondocks (2005)
- Brandy & Mr. Whiskers (2004)
- Breadwinners (2013)
- Bubble Guppies (2011)
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (2000)
- The Buzz on Maggie (2005)
- Cartoonstitute (2010) (A multi-short cartoon showcase project that never got off the ground.)
- A Cat in Paris (2010)
- Camp Lazlo (2005)
- ChalkZone (2002)
- Chowder (2007)
- CJ the DJ (2009)
- Clone High (2002-2003)
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
- Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island: A shameless knockoff of Spongebob Squarepants, made by Warner Bros. Only lasted for 13 episodes.
- Code Lyoko (2003)
- Codename: Kids Next Door (2002)
- Coraline (2009)
- Da Boom Crew (2004)
- Dan Vs. (2011)
- Danny Phantom (2004)
- Despicable Me (2010)
- Disney Animated Canon:
- Disney's Tinker Bell and its sequels.
- Dora the Explorer (2000)
- Drawn Together (2004)
- DreamWorks Animation films:
- The Drinky Crow Show (2007)
- Duck Dodgers (2003)
- Enchanted: This movie had traditional animation only at the beginning and a few more times throughout; the rest was CG/live action hybrid. A Shout Out and Affectionate Parody of classic Disney.
- Elephants Dream
- Escape From Planet Earth
- The Fairly OddParents (2001)
- Family Guy (1999, though it was canceled twice [once in 2000 and again after the show's third season in 2002. Due to high ratings on Cartoon Network, high DVD sales, and FOX dropping all of their replacement live-action shows left and right, the show finally came back in 2005 and has completed its ninth season)
- Fanboy and Chum Chum (2009)
- Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes (2006)
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
- Father of the Pride: The first totally-CG theatre-quality rendered network sitcom, this Dreamworks Animation effort starred John Goodman and Carl Reiner as white lions in Seigfred and Roy's Las Vegas act.
- Felix the Cat Saves Christmas
- Fish Hooks (2010)
- Foot 2 Rue
- Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends (2004)
- Four Eyes! (2005)
- Futurama (1999; much like Family Guy, FOX dumped this show after screwing with its timeslot and gained a cult following that led to its revival — only Futurama now has new life on cable TV. It found a temporary home on Cartoon Network until 2007, when it lost the rights to Comedy Central, which now airs not only the original series, but also the made-for-DVD movies and new episodes)
- Geronimo Stilton (2009)
- Get Ed
- G.I. Joe: Renegades (2010)
- Go, Diego, Go! (2005)
- Gravity Falls (2012)
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (2003)
- Growing Up Creepie (2006)
- Happiness Is A Warm Blanket Charlie Brown (2011)
- Happy Feet (2006)
- High School USA! (2013)
- Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi (2004)
- Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: A parody of cartoons from The Dark Age of Animation. (2000)
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002)
- Hoodwinked (2005)
- Horton Hears a Who! (the Blue Sky Studios film), (2008)
- Hotel Transylvania (2012)
- House of Mouse: A much-loved Massive Multi Player Crossover about Mickey Mouse owning a club for Disney characters only and showing animated shorts.
- Ice Age (2002)
- Invader Zim: (2001)
- Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks (2003)
- Johnny Test (2005)
- Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters (2012) A tie-in series for the Western re-boot of the Duel Masters franchise, also known as Kaijudo, which in turn was made to be Wizards of the Coast's answer to Yu-Gi-Oh!note . This show is more in line with the idea Wizards wanted originally for Duel Masters: a show about the world of Magic itself, rather than the card battle show it eventually became.
- Justice League (2001)
- Justice League Unlimited (2004)
- Kappa Mikey (2006)
- Kim Possible (2002)
- King of the Hill
- Kong: The Animated Series (2000)
- Korgoth of Barbaria (2006)
- Krypto the Superdog (2005)
- The Last Days Of Coney Island (TBA): A series of shorts in the works by Ralph Bakshi.
- The Legend of Tarzan (2002)
- The Life and Times of Juniper Lee (2005)
- The Lion King 1 ½: A midquel reinterpreting the original movie from the viewpoint of Timon and Pumbaa, this is another of Disney's more successful direct to video sequels, as it doesn't go by their standard rules of storytelling.
- Looney Tunes: Many things related to it are listed below:
- The Lorax (2012)
- MAD (2010): an animated sketch show based off MAD Magazine and may or may not be the revamped cable version of MADtv (a live-action sketch show on FOX that was canceled in 2009 due to low ratings, budget restrictions, and Seasonal Rot. Unlike MAD, MADtv was only tenuously related to MAD Magazine).
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack (2008)
- Megas XLR (pilot broadcast in 2002, series premiere in 2004)
- The Mighty B! (2008)
- A Monster in Paris (Un Monstre à Paris, 2011): A French CGI and 3D animated feature.
- Moral Orel (2005)
- ¡Mucha Lucha! (2002)
- My Life as a Teenage Robot (2003)
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (2010): The latest My Little Pony series, notable for its tremendous Periphery Demographic.
- The Oblongs (2001)
- Oggy and the Cockroaches (1999)
- Oscars Oasis (2010)
- Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (2013)
- The Penguins of Madagascar, the first Nicktoon from DreamWorks Animation.
- Phineas and Ferb: Notable for its Periphery Demographic (many parents and teenagers admit to enjoying the show, despite the show being marketed mainly to 8-12 year olds) due to its insanely clever writing, musical content, and engaging characterization.
- Pixar's films:
- Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea saw a US release in August of 2009, though it performed well under expectations.
- The Princess and the Pea (2002)
- The Problem Solverz (2011)
- Puppy in My Pocket (2011)
- Rango (2011)
- Recess: School's Out (2001): Based off the animated series from The Renaissance Age of Animation, the film served as the Grand Finale for the shownote .
- Regular Show (2010): One of Cartoon Network's 15-minute animated series that airs on Monday nights (along with Adventure Time, MAD, Problem Solverz, and The Amazing World of Gumball). Based on J.G. Quintel's "2 in the AM PM" and "The Naive Man From Lolliland," this show (like many of Cartoon Network's past oeuvres) is What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? incarnate.
- Rise Of The Guardians (2012): The last DreamWorks Animation film to be distributed by Paramount Pictures.
- Robotomy (2010): Cartoon Network's shortest-lived cartoon series ever (and one of the only current shows it had that used traditional cel animation). It only lasted ten episodes (it would have been 12, but two episodes were never finished), and was canceled due to high production costs and lack of appeal in foreign markets. The show is also the very definition of Keep Circulating the Tapes (though a lot of episodes are available on iTunes): after the final episode ("From Wretchnya With Love") aired, Cartoon Network never reran the show and a week later, deleted all evidence that the show existed from their website. Seems like they were ashamed of it...
- Robots (2005)
- Romeo And Juliet: Sealed With A Kiss: A 2006 independent animated feature done entirely by ex-Disney animator Phil Nibbelink.
- Ruby Gloom (2006)
- Samurai Jack (2001)
- Sanjay And Craig (2013)
- Scaredy Squirrel
- Scooby-Doo, like Alvin, continues to be adapted into a slew of new shows and DVD specials—as well as two particular movies no one likes to mention. There was What's New, Scooby-Doo?, which brought the original team back and updated the stories for the times, and then Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Inc." is currently airing, which takes a darker, more action-oriented, and slightly dramatic spin on the show. Cartoon Network also produced a series of original, live-action TV movies about slightly younger versions of the characters.
- Secret Mountain Fort Awesome (2011)
- The Secret of the Magic Gourd: A CG and live action hybrid. Co-produced by Disney and China Movie Co Ltd and marketed towards mainland China.
- The Secret Saturdays (2008)
- The Simpsons Movie: One of the only hand-drawn films in this era to be successful, and the most profitable movie to be based on a TV show.
- Skyland (2005)
- The Smurfs: with two 3D CGI/2D animation features from Sony Pictures
- Spirited Away: The only hand-drawn animated film to receive an Oscar for Best Animated Film. (2001)
- Spliced: a Canadian Genre Throwback of '90s Cartoons (2009)
- Spongebob Squarepants: This is arguably the most popular show of this era. (1999)
- Stanley (2001)
- Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
- Star Wars: Rebels
- Static Shock (2000)
- Steven Universe: The first Cartoon Network series to be created by a woman. (2013)
- Super Duper Sumos
- Superjail (2007)
- Sym-Bionic Titan (2010)
- Team Toon (2013)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
- Teen Titans (2003)
- Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo (2006)
- Thomas Timberwolf: A short-lived 13 episode flash series, the very last work directed by Chuck Jones.
- Three Delivery (2008)
- ThunderCats (2011)
- Titan A.E. (2000): Don Bluth's final film, unless he ever gets around to making that Dragons Lair movie. Its box office failure led to the closure of Fox's animation studio.
- Tom and Jerry Tales: An interesting Shout Out to the original Tom and Jerry shorts (something rare for this era), the series ran from 2006 to 2008, being cancelled when 4Kids took over Kids' WB!.
- There have also been quite a few Tom and Jerry Direct-to-Video films in the past decade, all of which seem to have been far more well received than their first film in the 1990s.
- Total Drama: Cartoon Network's saving grace of the later half of the first decade (2006), resulting in more Canadian-made sitcom teen shows, including:
- Titan Maximum (2009)
- Totally Spies! (2001)
- A Town Called Panic (2000)
- Transformers Animated (2007)
- Transformers: Go-Bots: The most obscure and short-lived series in the Transformers franchise. (2003-2005)
- Transformers Prime (2010)
- Transformers Rescue Bots (2011)
- The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
- Trollz (2005)
- Ugly Americans (2010)
- Uncle Grandpa (2013)
- Valiant (2005)
- The Venture Bros.: A wildly popular [adult swim]-distributed tribute to '70s Hanna-Barbera action shows like Jonny Quest. (2003)
- Wakfu (2008): From the French studio Ankama, and one of the culminating points of Flash art maturing into a legitimate tool for animation rather than a plague.
- Wander Over Yonder (2013)
- The Wild: A Disney-distributed film from Canada. (2006)
- Wishology: A The Fairly Oddparents film aired in 2009.
- The X's (2005)
- Yakkity Yak (2003)
- Zevo-3 (2010)
Real life people who are associated/are directly involved with this era:
- Notable Disney Regulars (writers, directors, composers and songwriters for Disney films):
- Bob Iger, current Chief Executive Officer
- Ed Catmull, current President
- John Lasseter, current Creative Chief Officer (also see Pixar below)
- Mark Dindal and Randy Fullmer, directors (The Emperors New Groove, Chicken Little)
- Stephen Anderson and Don Hall, directors (Meet the Robinsons, Winnie the Pooh)
- Chris Sanders and Dean De Moise, directors (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon). Now at Dreamworks Animation.
- Ron Clements and John Musker, directors (The Princess and the Frog)
- Glen Keane, animator (Mulan [Mulan], Treasure Planet [Silver]), producer and conceptual designer (Tangled) Resigned as of March 23rd, 2012.
- Mark Henn, animator (Meet The Robinsons [Wilbur], The Princess And The Frog [Tiana], Winnie the Pooh [Pooh, Christopher Robin])
- Eric Goldberg, animator (The Princess And The Frog [Louis], Winnie The Pooh}} [Rabbit], Looney Tunes: Back in Action [all cartoon characters], Flintstones Coco Pebbles commercials) Is now teaching.
- Tony Bancroft, director (Mulan), animator (The Emperor's New Groove [Kronk])
- Andreas Deja, animator (Lilo And Stitch [Lilo}, The Princess And The Frog [Mama Odie and Juju], Winnie The Pooh [Tigger])
- Dale Baer, animator (The Emperor's New Groove [Yzma], Home On The Range [Alameda Slim and Junior], Winnie The Pooh [Owl])
- Bruce Smith, creator of The Proud Family, animator ('One by One' sequence for the scrapped Fantastia 2006, The Princess And The Frog [Doctor Faciliar], Winnie The Pooh [Piglet, Kanga, Roo])
- Alan Menken, composer (Tangled)
- Henry Jackman, composer (Winnie The Pooh, Wreck-It Ralph, Monsters vs. Aliens)
- Rich Moore, director and writer (Wreck-It Ralph)
- Notable Pixar Regulars (writers, directors, composers and songwriters of Pixar films):
- John Lasseter (Cars, Toy Story 3)
- Lee Unkrich (Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3)
- Pete Docter (Monsters Inc, Wall E, Up)
- Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille)
- Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL•E, Toy Story 3)
- Joe Ranft (Monsters, Inc., Cars)
- Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up)
- Randy Newman (Monsters, Inc., Cars, Toy Story 3)
- Thomas Newman (Finding Nemo, WALL•E)
- Seth Mac Farlane
- Jeffrey Katzenberg
- Emily Hamshire
- Henry Selick - director (Coraline)
- Chris Wedge and Carlos Sandahla - directors (Blue Sky Studios)
- Chris Meledandri - executive producer (20th Century Fox, Illumination Entertainment}
- Tress MacNeille
- Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh - creators, voice actors, writers, and producers of Phineas and Ferb
- Noah Z. Jones - children's book illustrator, designer and creator of Almost Naked Animals, Fish Hooks, and 7D
- Genndy Tartakovsky: Artist and creative director largely responsible for The Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Dexters Laboratory, and the original launch of Star Wars: Clone Wars (among others). He faded into obscurity with personal projects about 2005, but resurfaced in 2010 with Sym-Bionic Titan and directed Hotel Transylvania. Is currently helming his own studio.
- Spike Brandt: Animator at Warner Bros. who has directed much of the studio's output in recent years.
- Greg Weisman: The man behind Gargoyles has written for many recent animated titles seen above, such as The Batman, and has been heavily involved with The Spectacular Spider Man and Young Justice.
- William Joyce: Children's book writer and illustrator whose stories were adapted by many studios (Meet the Robinsons and Rolie Polie Olie for Disney, Robots for Blue Sky Studios, and Rise of the Guardians for Dreamworks Animation).
- Peter De Seve: Illustrator and character designer (all of Blue Sky Studios' films, A Bugs Life, Hop).
- Lauren Faust: The wife of Craig McCracken (creator of The Powerpuff Girls and Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends, who left Cartoon Network in 2009 thanks to CN Real) and the developer of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
- Jeff Kline: Veteran animation producer, responsible for shows like Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, Jackie Chan Adventures, and Godzilla: The Series. Seemed to have vanished for a while throughout the mid-to-late 2000s, but re-emerged in 2010 to produce G.I. Joe: Renegades and Transformers Prime, core series in The Hub's action block.
- Pendleton Ward: Creator of Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors.
- J. G. Quintel: Creator of Regular Show.
- His friend Sam Marin, who has also animated at Disney.
- Rebecca Sugar: Creator of Steven Universe.
Tropes associated with this era include:
- 3-D Movie
- Adobe Flash
- All Animation Is Disney: Or, to update this trope to the 21st Century, All Computer Animation Is Pixar/DreamWorks Animation.
- All-CGI Cartoon: Chronic.
- Animated Adaptation: Actually is being seen less, though The Mummy Trilogy and Jackie Chan randomly received animated shows, among a few others. Plus there was Star Wars: Clone Wars.
- Animation Age Ghetto: While it's not as strong as it used to be, it still has quite the influence on works and viewership.
- Animesque: Justifiably more common. Many current animators grew up on Anime and cartoons of the 90s, and have blended the two styles together as a result.
- Arch-Competitor: Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, although they're very different as well.
- Pixar uses polygons to model characters, DreamWorks uses NURBS models.
- Pixar isn't union. DreamWorks is.
- Pixar is owned by Disney, one of the six major Hollywood studios. DreamWorks is independently owned.
- Pixar has a reputation for more drama-based films, and has a release schedule of about one movie a year. DreamWorks has a reputation for more comedy-based films (though in recent years has gone a more dramatic route with films like Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon), and has a release schedule of two or three movies per year.
- Crossdressing Voices is increasingly averted, with preteen male characters in major properties like Finding Nemo voiced by actual boys and series like Avatar The Last Airbender, Adventure Time, and Chowder explicitly aging the characters in real time to accommodate deepening voices.
- Dance Party Ending: A favorite ending to lot of animated movies (Shrek is a big example... and is probably the Trope Codifier) end with everyone dancing to old music kids have never heard before.
- Direct-to-Video: Had to release those Disney and The Land Before Time sequels somehow.
- Dreamworks Face: Phenomenon that changed how animated films are marketed. Characters who never sport a Fascinating Eyebrow in the movie will do so on movie posters to make the movie seem more edgy and comedic.
- Genre Throwback: In an attempt to regain the ground it lost to various CG animation studios in the 2000s, Disney appears to be intentionally invoking this trope in their more recent films. The Princess and the Frog and Tangled are meant to be throwbacks to the Disney films of The Renaissance Age of Animation, and Winnie the Pooh eschews the style of the more recent Pooh movies in favor of the tone from the 1970s film. Even though we aren't very far removed from the Renaissance period, there's already enough nostalgia for the era for there to be a throwback.
- Human-Focused Adaptation: Just about every old cartoon character given their own movie has this: Alvin and the Chipmunks, Smurfs, Transformers, and so forth.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Already existed for traditional animation, but this became far more feasible (and common) among CGI films as technology progressed.
- Lighter and Softer: The animated films of this era were less dramatic and were more comical than the previous era .
- Limited Animation: Akin to the age before it, shades still exist. Serves as the norm for most Flash animated shows.
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Disney did this a lot.
- Live-Action Adaptation: Or more increasingly, live action/CG adaptations.
- The Movie: Continues to be strong from the Renaissance era.
- Network Decay
- Non-Human Sidekick
- Parental Bonus
- Serkis Folk: The line between live-action and animation has become increasingly blurred. Computer-generated characters appear in movies of all genres.
- Small Annoying Creature: There is a character like this in every movie. He is usually the sidekick.
- Thick-Line Animation: Nowadays if a cartoon isn't Animesque, it's this.
- Toilet Humour: Very popular in CG animated films throughout most of the 2000s, thanks to most American animation studios copying DreamWorks' style (or more specifically, copying Shrek). Became less and less prevalent around 2007/2008 as the Shrek style started to lose popularity and as the other animation studios (including DreamWorks) began to look at Pixar as the studio to emulate. It still pops up in films occasionally, however.
- Toon Boom: If a 2D cartoon in the Americas is not animated with Flash, it's most likely animated with this.
- Unusual Animal Alliance: You can find this trope in about anything where the protagonist is an animal.
- Vanilla Edition: If an animated movie from the Renaissance age was NOT Disney, chances are the Vanilla Edition is the only one that exists.
- Villain Protagonist: Despicable Me, Megamind, and Wreck-It Ralph all feature different variations on this trope. The first film is about a villain who slowly becomes a hero throughout the course of the film, the second film is about a villain who comes to the realization that deep down he's really a hero, and the third film is about a villain who tries to prove to others that he can be a hero.