Sugar Wiki / Awesome Art

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Art_6391.jpg
Like so.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Sometimes, they speak of awesome. This is the place for those pieces of art that happen to meet the requirements of being Awesome Art.

In other words, this trope is about the artistic appearance of a work that happens to be really great, detailed, beautiful, etc.

See the Sub-Trope Scenery Porn for really awesome background art. Compare Visual Effects of Awesome, which is limited to visual effects. Those who've made Awesome Art can sometimes be said to literally be Doing It for the Art, which is usually the case anyway.

Some of the works on the DeviantArt Recommendations page would belong here as well.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Any works by Studio Ghibli. The character art, mechanical design, backgrounds and musical score are always of a level of excellence that shames most animation companies.
  • Studio Gainax, TMS Entertainment and Studio BONES. Special mention for Gainax should go to The End of Evangelion's animation (especially during Instrumentality), which makes even the best battles in the original series look like crap in comparison.
  • Studio 4°C, especially their theatrical, western, short, and video game works. One of the amazing things about this studio is that, even if you know their name, you can never pin down their exact style, because it keeps on changing. And they show their love for every frame they're involved with.
  • Black Butler has some utterly gorgeous. art.
  • Baccano! counts for this in its entirety. Durarara!! from the same studio/author.
  • The Hellsing Ultimate OVA's are impeccable in terms of quality and animation.
    • The manga is no slouch either. While the first three volumes are rather average, the last seven volumes are almost impeccable. Say what you want about Hirano being a lazy artist, you can't deny that he takes pride in his art.
  • If there's one things people remember the 1988 film adaptation of AKIRA for, it's its incredibly fluid & detailed animation, being on-par with a well-done Western-animated production. To elaborate on the film's level of detail, watch the characters' mouths when they talk. Because AKIRA is one of few animes to feature pre-recorded dialogue, it notably forgoes the standard use of lip-flaps, meaning that the character's mouths move in perfect accordance to what they're saying. The whole film is also shot in a solid 24 frames-per-second, twice the framerate of the average anime; that's not even getting into the fact that this entire film utilizes over 160,000 cels over the course of a 121-minute runtime, with the only use of digital animation being the pattern indicator on a single medical computer. As a result, AKIRA is still widely considered to be one of the best-looking anime to date; the trailer alone does an excellent job at showing just how amazing the entire film looks.
  • Samurai Pizza Cats combines great character design with beautifully detailed backgrounds.
  • Inariya Fusanosuke's art is consistently beautiful, detailed, and well-composed in her manga, especially Maiden Rose. The only thing one could complain about is she doesn't do enough in colour.
  • Makoto Shinkai's works. Just Look At This!
  • Red Line takes this trope, drives it Up to Eleven, bangs its brains out, and then it goes beyond even that.
  • Although Naoki Urasawa's characters are fairly simple, his backgrounds, action sequences, and composition are beyond amazing. Just look at the Shining Cities of Pluto, the Giant Robot sequences of 20th Century Boys, and the ridiculously accurate Real Place Backgrounds of Monster. Just to start with.
  • One Piece. It's incredible to think that Oda comes up with these sorts of illustrations, often on a weekly basis.
  • The works of Tetsuo Hara are well-known for their highly detailed and intricate art styles, with Fist of the Blue Sky being a particular example of his artistic talent (every panel is startlingly close to photorealistic). Sadly, Hara ended up developing keratoconus, an extremely rare degenerative disorderNote  where the cornea tightens into a conical shape and become nonfunctional, in one of his eyes. This has killed his sense of depth perception, leaving him unable to draw the beautifully realistic manga that were his claim to fame without an assistant.
  • The Pokémon battles from Masaaki Iwane's animation team tend to be the best in the series.
  • Kara no Kyoukai. Just look at the former page image for Magical Eye. Everything else is just like that or better.
  • The witches' labyrinths in Puella Magi Madoka Magica are beautifully disturbing and wonderfully surreal landscapes, bringing an art style that is rarely seen in anime.
  • The Wandering Son anime looks like a high-quality anime movie, full of Scenery Porn and beautiful character designs. The manga isn't anything to laugh at either, especially when it comes to the character designs.
  • Berserk. There is so much gorgeous, beautiful detail put into every scene, from epic battles, to love scenes, characters,and facial expressions.
  • Mononoke: Stylized and more colourful than a circus, but detailed and gorgeous.
  • Mouryou No Hako: Beautiful colours, gorgeous panoramic vistas, skilful, fluid animation courtesy of Madhouse and lovely character designs by the renowned CLAMP.
  • Amatsuki: Not only are the inked drawings detailed, fluid, and just lovely to look at, but every coloured piece of art is a veritable feast for the eyes.
  • Trinity Blood: The character designs, clothes, buildings, natural and artificial scenery, jewellery and machinery.
  • Betrayal Knows My Name: Both the manga and the anime have gorgeous artwork; characters, backgrounds, clothes, accessories, buildings, demons, summoned weapons — everything is stylized and elaborate, and really goes above and beyond the Generic Cuteness seen in most shoujo manga/anime.
  • The OVA's of Tales of Symphonia. It's certainly a vast improvement over the game's graphics, which weren't that bad.
  • Wolf's Rain has probably some of the best animation of wolves you'll find in anime.
  • Turn A Gundam. The last Gundam series to use hand-drawn animation and it is spectacularly beautiful.
  • Seirei no Moribito's art can easily rival the best that Studio Ghibli has to offer, which is apparent from its OP, to its fight scenes. Along with a compelling script and an engrossing world to tie it all together.
  • Variable Geo is a 3-part OVA that's loosely based on the Advanced V.G series note , so it uses the same '90s style character design, but with more detailed art and fluid animation.
  • While Death Note maintains high quality artwork throughout, Episode 25 takes this to a whole other level, and is a genuine work of art. Some of the highlights are the opening, Misa's song and her scene in her bedroom, L and Light's conversation on the rooftop, and, of course, L's death.
  • Almost anything from Madhouse, such as the above mentioned anime adaptation of Death Note and the animated versions of Metropolis, Paprika, and Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • Pandora Hearts. While this doesn't apply that well to the anime, it certainly does in the manga.
  • One of the only things fans of Air Gear can agree on is that the artwork is fantastic. The character designs started off weak and somewhat inconsistent, but they were cleared up by the tenth volume, and the backgrounds and technology in the series are always drawn superbly.
  • K is full of this. The animation is so beautiful and fluid, it's hard to believe it's a TV series. Special mention goes to the skateboarding scene in the first episode.
  • From the New World. From looking at the beauty of the background art and the fluid motions of the characters, it's easy to confuse the TV series as a Hayao Miyazaki film. There might be some Deranged Animation and Off Model in Episode 5 and 10, but even then it's purposeful and unique.
  • Akihisa Ikeda's artwork. Every character has a distinct look and the monster designs range from awesome to creepy to nightmare inducing. His men are true bishounen, his children adorable, and he can draw some beautiful women that usually do not need to be busty to be gorgeous. While his early work was rough, over time it has gotten so beautiful it's shocking that this guy doesn't have a manga equivalent of an Eisner.
  • Everything by P. A. Works. From True Tears, Canaan, Hanasaku Iroha, Angel Beats!, Another, to Tari Tari, all their anime are full with gorgeously beautiful detailed art and Scenery Porn. Their new anime trailer, Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea shows us that they are master of this trope.
  • Toriko. The amount of detail Mitsutoshi Shimabakuro puts into the characters, animals and environments is staggering.

    Arts 
  • When it comes to finding beautiful, influential fine art, Sturgeon's Law need not apply. Just check out the works of any of the artists on these many, many list over on wikipedia.
  • Every and anything that was ever made by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • The artworks of M. C. Escher, specifically "Relativity", is so awesome it has been recreated in numerous works of fiction. Just look at the details and enjoy the Mind Screw of it.
    • One of Escher's inspirations was the decoration of the Islamic palaces in Spain, which are quite awesome on their own.
  • Edward Hopper has made some delightfully calm pieces that evoke loneliness, Nighthawks and Automat come to mind.
  • In no particular order: Vincent van Gogh, Hokusai, Albrecht Durer, Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Mary Cassatt, Ansel Adams, Pierre-August Renoir, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, Alfonse Mucha, Ralph Steadman, Francisco Goya, Salvador Dalí, Piet Mondriaan, Grant Wood, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Jacques-Louis David, Bob Ross, The Bass-Reliefs of Ankor Wat, The Bayeux Tapestry, The Book of Kells, Cave Art at Chauvet, any kid with a crayon.
  • Rembrandt van Rijn's Jewish Bride, such a touching work of a loving couple.
  • Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring.
  • Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec's portraits of dancers and prostitutes are drawn with such elegance and exuberant style that you can't help but smile at it.
  • Do a Google image search for a Mr. Drew Struzan. Be awed.
  • Sandro Botticelli. See the list of his works with cute little images of his magnificent paintings. Special mention goes to "The Birth of Venus", "Primavera", "Venus and Mars" and "Pallas and the Centaur".
  • Amedeo Modigliani. His women and their long necks, their sad eyes, their eerie beauty.
  • H. R. Giger. This is the man who created the conceptual art for the "Alien" movie, which means we have him to thank for the Xenomorph.
  • Zdenek Burian's art is all-round great, but he's most well known for his paleontology pieces. Sure, his dinosaurs and some other creatures are laughably outdated by scientific standards, but his art itself, his iconic compositions and grand sceneries have burned into the retinas of an entire generation of dino-nuts, and he's often said to have been one of the most influential paleo-artists of the mid-20th century. Here are some decent-sized sets of his works.
  • Takeshi Murata's ''Melter 3-D'' uses strobe lights to create an illusion that a spherical sculpture is moving and churning like a giant ball of T-1000 metal.
  • Max Erst was one of the of under of surrealism with his painting The Elephant Celebes is one of the most often used examples of the movement. but he has done so munch more.
  • How you have ever pictured a terrifying nightmare where everything was misshaped and creepy, violence seemed every where yet chilling all around. But what made the nightmare truly memorable was that it was strangely beautiful? If you haven't heard of or seen any painting by Zdzislaw Beksinski then the answer is no. Here is all the evidence you need to know why.

    Comic Books 
  • Hellboy. Beautifully stylized characters exploring unbelievably atmospheric settings, with as much attention payed to a flower sprouting out of crumbling stonework as to a nine-foot-tall armored demon with horns for eyes.
  • Kazu Kibuishi's work is absolutely beautiful. Also the creator of Amulet and Copper.
  • Gaspard de la nuit is an incredibly obscure french four-comic-books story. The quality of plot and such is about average, but the art... Oh god, the art.
  • Geof Darrow. Everything he has ever done. EVER.
  • ElfQuest, especially in its earliest 20-part incarnation as drawn by Wendy Pini. It helped that the schedule in those days was one 32-page black and white issue every FOUR months. (The quality does slip a bit in the middle, but picks right back up again by issue #12.)
    • The "remastered" DC Comics compilations of the above, now on the website, constitute awesome digital coloring.
  • The Archie Sonic the Hedgehog series has some pretty epic art in the earlier stories, and even now has a decent amount.
  • The Franco-Belgian comic Les Cités obscures drawn by François Schuiten (who did constantly amazing work and not enough of it). Some examples.
  • Jack Kirby. Probably the most influential comic artist of all time. And for good reason. He could draw exciting action scenes, design incredibly unique characters and machinery, express emotions through body language alone. There's a reason Stan Lee called him "The King".
  • Same goes for Gabriele Dell'Otto, whose drawing style is also that of photorealistic paintings.

    Comic Strips 
  • In its heyday in the 60s and 70s, British strip The Perishers had such beautifully-detailed artwork by Dennis Collins that you wondered how he ever kept up the standard on more than 300 strips per year. 60s Perishers strips are currently re-running in the Daily Mirror, though the continuity is a bit wobbly at present.
  • Calvin and Hobbes.
  • Any cartoon strip drawn by Ken Reid.
  • Little Nemo.
  • Krazy Kat.
  • S1ngle (Netherlands) is not a particularly deep strip, but the line art is absolutely amazing — very minimalistic and calligraphic.
  • MAD. Mort Drucker and Tom Richmond are some of the greatest caricaturists of all time, and special mention goes to Al Jaffee and his magnificent(ly hilarious) Fold-in.

    Films — Animation 
  • Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole. Full Stop. This is just plan breathtaking, and the music they choose for this scene just underscores how awesome and beautiful it is. Pretty much the entire movie is this trope.
  • Pixar. All of their movies have gorgeous art. From toys that can make you cry to expansive underwater landscapes to beautiful shots of a landfilled earth and space, every last one of their movies have frakking awesome art. Though, the first Toy Story has become a victim to Seinfeld Is Unfunny.
  • Disney Animated Canon. People think All Animation Is Disney for a reason.
    • Bambi and its sequel (yes there is one) deserve a mention.
    • The Little Mermaid is another great example, especially during the song sequences and the ending with the Giant Ursula and Ariel's wedding sequence.
      • If you've seen any of the "making of" documentaries about the production of this and other films from the Disney Renaissance period, you know how much love and dedication was put into these films. The scenes of Howard Ashman and Jodi Benson working together from Waking Sleeping Beauty reveal enough artistic dedication to make a man weep.
    • Beauty and the Beast to the point that it contributed to it being nominated for Best Picture Of The Year when it first came out.
    • The The Lion King. Especially the opening sequence and the wildebeest stampede.
    • Tarzan features Disney's most complex character (at the time, anyway). Complex not just because of surface detail but because Tarzan was rendered with as much anatomical accuracy was possible. Tarzan moves like a gorilla and pulls off spectacular acrobatics and his muscles still flex and move believably. Not to mention the groundbreaking use of CGI for backgrounds that beautifully blended 3D movement with a classic hand painted look.
    • Tangled although not hand drawn, proves how much CGI has evolved and grown since the early Pixar era. Just look at it. The character, hair and fabric animation is also quite awesome too and the lantern sequence is breathtaking.
    • Frozen has a very similar art style to Tangled, but takes place in a region with a snow and ice theme, and is just as gorgeous as Tangled, if not more so.
  • Dreamworks has some wonderful art in The Prince of Egypt.
  • The Secret of Kells is breathtakingly beautiful. Watching this movie is like watching a living tapestry. When you finally get to see a page of the book of Kells itself, the gorgeousness will make you cry.
  • Song of the Sea, from the same director as Kells, is no slouch either. If you wanted to see a moving watercolor painting looking like something out of a storybook, this movie is your closest bet.
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron shows the wild west in all its beauty.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars
  • Many of James Cameron's works, especially Avatar and Titanic (1997) have qualified as this.
  • Just about any Terrence Malick film qualifies, particularly The New World and his new film The Tree Of Life.
  • The Godzilla films have some of the most incredible monster designs ever ranging from the beautiful Mothra to the horrifyingly evil-looking Destroyah.
    • Just the sets used for the films use an incredible amount of detail and look absolutely stunning. It's almost a shame they end up being destroyed in practically every film.
    • The posters for the films as well. Just take a look at a few.

    Literature 
  • Warren the 13th: Will Staehle's lush illustrations are some of the most enjoyable parts of the book. Special mention goes to the beautiful establishing shot at the beginning of the book, as well as the surreal, sinister images in Aunt Annaconda's scenes.

    Manhwa 

     Vanity Plate 

    Video Games 
  • Etrian Odyssey Untold 1 and 2 have gorgeous artwork. Most notable in the first stratum of the first game, and the fourth stratum of the second game.
  • The Metal Gear franchise has some awesome concept... art, speed-paint unique thing. It just has something, something that you just can't quite deduce on how it's done or what it is to it.
    • Yoji Shinkawa's art is instantly recognizable because his ukiyo-e-esque style. His work is very stylized and abstract, yet his work is still technically accurate. When you see his work, you know it's Metal Gear, usually. Some of the most gorgeous cover art you'll see out there.
  • Retro Studios of Metroid Prime Trilogy and Donkey Kong Country Returns fame have gained prestige for this. And they have unlockable concept art in every game they have released, for players to enjoy.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise in general has nice artwork, so much that some games, like Sonic Classic Collection as well as Sonic Colors for the Nintendo DS have a proper "Gallery". This even carried over to the post-Sonic Adventure era, as the distinctive style of said artwork is Sonic-ish enough to be considered part of what made Sonic the character we know today. So much, in fact, an official website is mainly known for its official artwork.
  • Amongst Run n' Gun games, Metal Slug stands out for its incredibly detailed animation and spritework, going so far as to include wacky animations for the enemy vehicles and even regular Mooks which other games would have simply glossed over in the interest of saving man-hours. According to a staff interview with NAZCA Team, each frame of animation is hand drawn by a team of artists before being carefully inspected—and sometimes personally edited—by the art leads to ensure a tight consistency between all assets. And that's not even getting into the stage backgrounds, which are nigh-photorealistic despite being rendered in cartoony pixel art. The result? An incredibly seamless-looking, beautiful game.note 
  • The Donkey Kong Country series combines this with Scenery Porn, with Tropical Freeze setting the bar even higher.
  • The Super Smash Bros. series starts out decently, reached a new level in Melee, and reached an even higher level in Brawl. In U/3DS, every newcomer gets artwork with old characters in the style of their original series.
  • While the character art from Touhou is often debated, the background art from Mountain of Faithis absolutely gorgeous, and the background art from Ten Desires is just well-animated all around.
  • Advanced V.G. II: For such an old game, it has amazing '90's style anime visuals and character designs, to compliment its gameplay. And with such detailed narrative cutscenes like these, it's no wonder they finally decided to just make an OVA of it.
  • Ōkami is known for its distinctive, beautiful style. To think, they were originally planning to make the game realistic. It's a good thing they didn't.
  • Rayman Origins was praised for it's beautifully detailed backgrounds and smooth character animations. Even people who haven't bought the game admit that it looks amazing. Michel Ancel and co. went for a unique and striking look so as to stand out from other games on the market, and man did they succeed.
    • Rayman Legends is looking to take this further by giving it a more painterly feel, and lighting the 2D characters with 3D lighting.
  • Wario Land: Shake It! was a 2D platformer...with hand-drawn, anime-style graphics and cinematics by Production I.G.
    • Going back even further than that: Wario Land 4. The sprites are amazingly well put together to the point where Wario looks like he's actually moving. You wouldn't believe that it's sprite-based at all. And what platform did it come out for? Game Boy Advance. Yup.
  • Anything by Vanillaware (examples: Odin Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade) is hardcore scenery porn. It's like playing a moving painting.
    • Considering pretty much all the visual games are hand painted, they certainly fall under this.
  • Even eroges and Visual Novels aren't immune to this. Just look at ef - a fairy tale of the two.'s OP. Justified that the OP's directed by Makoto Shinkai
  • Ayami Kojima's official art for Castlevania... well, what can we say? For two specific examples, see the page images for Symphony of the Night and the Sorrow duology.
  • Asura's Wrath has plenty of awesome concept art and well done character models and animation, and truly pushes the limits of the Unreal Engine's graphics capabilities, to boot.
  • Xenoblade. The areas are of a very grand scale yet finely detailed, and each has a well-defined ecosystem and weather effects. They must be seen to be believed. Xenoblade Chronicles X takes the beauty of the first game and cranks the scale Up to Eleven with an entire breathtakingly beautiful world to explore, all of which is seamlessly rendered in-game.
  • Albion has some amazing graphics for a sprite based game.
  • The Final Fantasy series:
    • Say what you want about Final Fantasy XIII, but it still has breathtaking backgrounds and character designs. Lake Bresha, for an example.
    • When you think of the earlier Final Fantasy games, Amano's work will usually come to mind. They're breath-takingly beautiful, you'll forget they're video game art.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has some of the best art direction in any MMO ever, with a completely unique and frankly gorgeous aesthetic with dozens of amazing, memorable designs.
    • Final Fantasy VI onwards featured some amazing background art, not to mention Final Fantasy 6's sprite work.
  • Pick a Kirby game. Any Kirby game. Chances are, if you're playing one with SNES-style graphics, looking at the painting-style backgrounds will make you drop your jaw on the freaking floor. Wow. Just wow. And the ones you've seen are just the most relevant ones, although some from Kirby Squeak Squad are missing. The first five links are from Squeak Squad, the following seven are from Nightmare In Dreamland and the final one showcases the backgrounds from Kirby & the Amazing Mirror. Alternatively, have fun with these search results.
  • BlazBlue. Yeah, it's a 2D sprite game in an age of photo-realistic 3D, but don't be fooled: these aren't ordinary sprites. Each character's sprite set include 1000 frames, all meticulously made for high-definition. And don't get me started on the stage backgrounds... Here's a gameplay sample.
  • Long before BlazBlue, there was Guilty Gear. While the first game wasn't really anything to write home about in terms of asset designnote , Guilty Gear X upped the ante by switching from the usual 320x240ish screen format used by most fighting games, instead going for a whopping ~640x480 in order to showcase higher definition sprites and backgrounds, a practice which carried over to its pseudo sequels. Then after several years of silence following Guilty Gear 2: Overture, Arc System Works pulled out all the stops by painstakingly rendering Guilty Gear Xrd in gorgeous cel-shaded 3D using the Unreal Engine as a base, making the entire game look like an anime movie.
  • Anything on the Gambryo engine used most notably by Bethesda from Morrowind on through the remaining TES and into Fall Out 3. Though the textures and models displayed can always be improved on (and usually are, quite significantly, by modders,) the engine itself has fantastic potential to provide breathtaking panoramas.
  • Though not consciously seeking to be visually bombastic as other Nintendo games, The Legend of Zelda has shown several beautiful landscapes and exotic character designs over the years. Two well-known examples are The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, with the former using cel-shading visuals with realistic effects (like heat haze and motion blur) that are usually too difficult to program in a normal cel-shading game, and the latter showing an impressive realistic style with some cel-shading effects (such as the animations of the bomb explosions or the disappearance of the deceased enemies). It helps that both games were actually made with the same engine.
  • Dark Souls shows amazing craftsmanship, with the artists at From Software being great at creating memorable and just downright awesome designs for monsters, armor, locales, etc. The concept art is breathtaking in how beautiful the paintings are, which just makes the amazing designs stand out even more.
  • Skullgirls has absolutely gorgeous hand-drawn artwork, done simply because the dev team wanted to, even if it was more expensive than 3D models. The art style was based off 1930s Art Deco and Batman: The Animated Series. And while the art is great, the best part is the animation: the characters are better animated than many major releases that use full 3D models, with incredibly smooth animations (see, for example, Filia's run cycle) with a ridiculous amount of frames. In fact, Skullgirls holds the world record for most animation frames per character in a 2D fighting game.
  • Any of the MOTHER Games. EarthBound Beginnings didn't look very good for the most of it, being a NES game, but the battle sprites are very good looking. But MOTHER 3 deserves a special mention.
  • Transistor has amazing visuals. The empty city of Cloudbank is beautifully drawn.
  • Say whatever you want about Dm C Devil May Cry's tone, gameplay, and story, but it's hard to deny that Alessandro "Talexi" Taini's artwork is gorgeous and stylish.
  • Chrono Cross has very good graphics for the PlayStation, with colorful and varied designs done in pre-rendered graphics which haven't aged much. Even the character art is amusing.
  • Some of the designs for demons in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise are truly awesome (which is why they can be downright terrifying). For example, Beelzebub.
  • Gargoyle's Quest was always about pushing the limits of whatever system the games were on, with Gargoyle's Quest II and Demon's Crest having absolutely gorgeous, beautifully animated sprites. Demon's Crest was so impressive in its level of detail that the game is prone to lagging when there's an excess of enemies on the screen.
  • Pokémon X and Y:
    • Bounce's animation now reminds one of an orbital cannon, somehow.
    • Most of the moves and Pokémon animations are quite impressive, most notably the Honedge line.
    • Oblivion Wing. It's essentially a black and red Wave Motion Gun that Yveltal blasts the enemy mon with, then drains 75% of the damage to heal itself with.
    • The Brave Bird attack animation makes every flying type look amazing.
    • The animation for Palkia's Signature Move, Spacial Rend, utilizes a flurry of slashes and an array of effects, ending with a striking visual that makes it seem as if you're not just cutting into space/subspace, but rather shattering the very fabric of reality itself.
    • Arceus' Signature Move Judgment has finally shed its rather underwhelming (considering that it is the trademark technique of a Pokémon that is fabled to have created the universe and has a higher BST than all others) animation from the Gen IV and V games, and now has a much more impressive animation that resembles its appearance in the Jewel of Life movie - in that it rains down a barrage of light from the sky.
    • Seismic Toss now resembles the iconic "around the world" shot that was popularized with Ash's Charizard in the Pokemon anime, much to the nostalgic delight of veteran fans.
  • Smogon:
    • The custom Generation V sprites made for the Generation VI mons look very impressive, to the point that sites like /vp have been known to "steal" them for their own use.
    • The site has a surprisingly large group of artists that make works for The Smog web magazine or just like to post their stuff on the forums. Special mention goes to long-time member Yilx, who makes a ton of amazing pieces for The Smog and himself.
    • Many CAP Pokémon have great designs and look like actual Pokémon Game Freak would make. For Gen. VI, the CAP community has been developing 3D models with extremely accurate renders.
  • The entire World of Mana franchise.
  • The in-game posters of War of the Monsters are so There's No "B" in "Movie" it's glorious. Have a few examples here, here, and here.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Many cartoons of the 1930's, especially the cartoons made by Walt Disney and their competitors such as Fleischer Studios and Harman Ising, produced some of the most ambitious short cartoon films ever made, and set a technical standard seldom surpassed since. The characters move fluidly and gracefully, with their designs often featuring illustration level details (especially in the Happy Harmonies and MGM Oneshot Cartoons) there are countless crowd shots and impressive effects animation work, and the background art and colors have masterful craftsmanship and composition theory. Meanwhile, Fleischer Studios, prompted to emulate Disney, still held their own by incorporating brilliant color theory with their own stylized character designs and animation in shorts like the Color Classics and the three Popeye color specials, and they even used three-dimensional tabletop sets that they optically combined the animation with—and this predated Disney's own use of the multiplane camera in "The Old Mill"! Their short "Play Safe" even combines their tabletop sets with a stop motion train!
  • The films of The National Film Board Of Canada excel at this, but especially in regards to the work of Norman Mclaren, who may be one of the most innovative animators who ever lived.
  • Animator Mark Kausler's independent short films "It's the Cat" and "There Must Be Some Other Cat". Besides being amazing one-man animation shows with hilarious 30's style cartoon animation, "Other Cat", along with the short films "The Last Belle" and "Imitation of Life", shares the distinction of being one of the last animated films ever made to use the menial, painstaking craft of traditonal hand-inked and hand painted cels and 35mm physical film—a true rarity in contemporary animation.
  • The George Pal Puppetoons are some of the most ambitious, skillfully crafted stop motion cartoons ever made, much less for their time, and they can easily hold their own against more famous stop mo efforts like The Nightmare Before Christmas. The series used thousands of painstakingly crafted, custom made wood carved puppets (mixed with articulated rubber limbs) all to apply exaggerated animation principles to very stylized designs. Making even one of them was a Herculean effort; planning them required the patience and precision of an engineer combined with the mind of an artist, as each individual movement or expression of a puppet, be it a walk, pose or expression change, required either a new part or an entirely new puppet to be made altogether for the film. Each cartoon varies from 5 minutes and up in length, there are often numerous crowd scenes and customized character actions, and everything is animated on ones, it takes quite a bit of time to set up everything before even shooting one frame out of thousands, at a grueling, slow work pace. Oh, and the puppets were animated straight ahead, so if the artists goofed up a scene, it would risk having to reshoot an entire scene from scratch! And with all this, the films also pulled off extremely difficult camera moves (watch "Philips Cavalcade" and the jaw dropping, seamless pan shots of the restaurant and dancers), careful lighting, and tricky effects work (i.e. the water ripple effects and the girl jumping in mid-air in "Hoola Boola", the Witch flying through the castle in "Sleeping Beauty", Jasper doing stop-mo motion blurs, occasionally inserting hand-drawn animation with the puppets, such as Bugs Bunny's cameo in "Jasper Goes Hunting"). And not to mention the set pieces were exquisitely crafted (the eponymous rickety shack in "Jasper and the Haunted House" and the forest in "Mr. Strauss Takes A Walk" really show this off). This level of work forced the cartoons to be made on a very protracted production schedule and keep their releases sporadic, but as a benefit to this expensive, time consuming process, the Puppetoons achieved a cartoon like motion that allowed the characters to move very expressively and with vigor and vitality, and in very creative, funny ways, with the puppets constantly "breaking model" for humors sake.
  • Hanna-Barbera. Despite their Limited Animation, it's amazing how the studio can have beautiful character designs (thanks to Ed Benedict) and colorful backgrounds despite having a very low budget. Ask John K. for more.
  • Wakfu is animated in Flash and boasts some absolutely breathtaking scenes. Just take a look at the scene from the First episode. It's pretty much like that for the whole series.
  • Most western cartoon series whose animation was done by Tokyo Movie Shinsha (now know as TMS Entertainment)/Telecom Animation Film (just brush most of the animation of Spider-Man: The Animated Series under the rug). Bonus points if it's from their A unit (being led by Toshihiko Masuda, Nobuo Tomizawa, Kenji Hachizaki, Kazuhide Tomonaga and Hiroyuki Aoyama).
  • Spectrum Animation's work is so awesome that the creators of Batman: The Animated Series gave them a round of applause on the "Heart of Ice" commentary, and how the studio nearly went bankrupt just for that episode. Bruce Timm mentioned that Spectrum's staff in particular, who took it upon themselves to personally airbrush the slight "frosting" inside Mr. Freeze's helmet, and make sure it was consistent throughout.
  • John Kricfalusi's The Ren & Stimpy Show. Finally after a long mainstream absence since the 1950's (besides the stuff TMS was animating) does a piece of animation made for TV reclaim the same artistic wild Bob Clampett-style or Tex Avery-inspired flair grace the screen, not to mention the return of storyboard-driven art, and subtle-yet-exaggerated acting and John K's strict policy of hyphenated, complex character expressions, color theory and general rule of never drawing the same expression twice. Or at least in the better produced episodes like "Big House Blues", "Stimpy's Invention", "Space Madness and "Sven Hoek". Adult Party Cartoon raised the bar even higher by having some of the most ambitious, slick made-for-tv cartoon animation ever (episodes like "Ren Seeks Help" and "Fire Dogs II" not only have amazing hand-painted backgrounds, fluid walk cycles and amazing character acting, but even fully animated, three-dimensional backgrounds in some scenes) At times hit-and-miss, but especially in that highly valued second season. Never anything quite like it since the old Warner shorts (and the stuff TMS animated), and certainly nothing quite like it ever again (unless TMS starts opening up animation services for more Western Animated productions besides Green Lantern: First Flight).
  • ReBoot considering that it was one of the first (and arguably the best) shows completely rendered in 3D. The amazing thing about this show is while it may look pretty tame by today's standards, it was created in the early 90's when they only had Windows 3.1 the first version of Windows to work with, and still maintained a high level of quality which only increased substantially in later seasons.
    • And then we have arguably the most popular work Mainframe ever made, Beast Wars. It was made with the same tech, and actually won an Emmy and revived Transformers.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender which starts out strong enough already, increases in both art quality and animation quality every season, which hits unbelievable levels in season three, especially during Aang and Ozai's final battle.
  • Its spinoff, The Legend of Korra, increases the quality even further, partly due to a switch to HD.
    • Along with much more realistic anatomy, and a different studio.
  • The Boondocks. Taken up to obscene levels in season three, where its production crew hired an actual Japanese studio to animate it. There was a reason why it was nominated as the one of the best American cartoons after one season.
    • Both the strip and the cartoon, the cartoon of which is based on Samurai Champloo.
  • Samurai Jack which has incredibly fluid animation.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan which managed to combine a flat Flash animation style with 3D elements and make it look absolutely beautiful.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses an older version of Flash animation to create a wonderful and detailed world with great backgrounds and colorful character designs in what can only be describes as a massive Sugar Bowl of awesomeness.
  • The Adventure Time title cards look like high-price paintings.
  • The whole DCAU, fondly remembered for bringing many young viewers into DC Comics, is also fondly remembered for its awesome art and animation. In particular, Batman: The Animated Series had a revolutionary background art style produced by drawing light colors on black paper, making the backgrounds as dark as possible. Justice League (Unlimited) also had beautiful detailed backgrounds, in particular the cityscapes.
  • The Ruby-Spears cartoon of Mega Man was...rather lackluster, visually speaking. The pilot trailer, on the other hand, features incredibly slick animation the likes of which was usually reserved for high-end Japanese OVAs.
  • Motorcity combines intricate urban background art with amazingly unique character designs and breathtakingly fluid animationnote . And whenever Mike takes out his dual-sided zippo lighter chainsaw staff, you can be sure that you're about to watch an incredibly animated fight scene.
  • The Fleischer Superman Theatrical Cartoons (which had an influence on the aforementioned DCAU) had lavishly painted backgrounds as well as amazing use of Rotoscoping that didn't look creepy. It holds up well even with Disney's creations.
  • Sonic SatAM. Even though it was very much an In-Name-Only adaptation of Sonic, it was good in its own right, and one of the reasons why was that the backgrounds were lush and detailed, and the animation was very fluid.
  • While Beast Wars (mentioned above), revived the franchise and gave it their first Emmy, Transformers Prime, released almost 20 years later, looks stunning for televised CG. While it's telling when the quality just keeps improving in every season (let alone every episode). The fact that it won four Emmys (all of them around the animation) should also say something. And before Prime, there was Beast Machines. Now say what you will about most of the other aspects, but there is no denying the animation looks just as good (if not better) as season three of its predecessor.
  • The rejected Nicktoons pilot, The Modifyers, has great design for both background characters and the scenery that just screams British mod fashion.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • The animation on Rumble McSkirmish. Not only is the sprite art amazing, his attack animations are both fluid and detailed, not to mention looking like a legitimate videogame character.
    • The backgrounds in this show are stunningly beautiful.
    • The animation in the intro is noticeably smoother than the animation in the show itself, and it's very expressive, too. Some scenes were even animated by Disney veteran James Baxter.
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold may not really be all that notorious for its art, but the 2012 remake which was a Franco-Belgian collaboration is, while static not really appealing, almost photorealistic when the whole thing starts moving.
  • Over the Garden Wall has pretty slick animation and great art all around, but some moments deserve special mention, such as the animation for the Highwayman's song.
  • Steven Universe: An early indicator of the series' general animation quality is the beach scene in "Laser Light Cannon," which features a gorgeous wash of peach and orange across the entire screen as the sun sets. This was in the series' second episode. The colorful, expressive character designs and hand-painted backgrounds at times look absolutely stunning.
  • Wander over Yonder: By just looking at the intro itself, you can notice that a lot of effort was put on backgrounds and character design, although the show itself doesn't disappoint because of the concept of the show; there are many different and unique backgrounds as well as wacky character design everywhere, each of them in different form in literally every episode, one scene alone can show a lot of different and creative background characters, each with their own unique touch that makes them harder than usual to get out of your mind and backgrounds that fit perfectly with the environment.
  • Eight Crazy Nights: The thing almost everyone seems to agree on with this movie (even people who hate Adam Sandler films) is that the animation is really freaking good. It's more fluid and well-done than some Disney films, which gives an effective balance to the film's vulgar tone.
  • The Loud House: The backgrounds look just like they came right out of an comic strip.
  • The Simpsons While some of the first- and second-season episodes suffer from some noticeably limited animation, and even the newer episodes seem a bit stiff, seasons 2 to 13 boast some of the best hand-drawn animation in a half-hour animated sitcom format. Highlights include Lisa's disillusionment fantasy in Season 3's "Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington" that look like a political cartoon come to life, and any episode with Sideshow Bob, which sport some of the heaviest use of color contrasts and shadows this side of Batman: The Animated Series.

Alternative Title(s): Awesome Animation

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/SugarWiki/AwesomeArt