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Art Evolution / Film

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  • Pixar itself has undergone this as it has grown more skilled at averting Uncanny Valley and No Flow in CGI. This is especially noticeable when you compare the look of the Toy Story characters from movie to movie.
    • In the first Cars film, Lightning McQueen is depicted with a pair of large stickers on his front bumper that resemble fake headlights (hence his nickname, "Stickers", from his girlfriend Sally). In the sequel, he has his fake "headlights" replaced with real ones for the World Grand Prix, and it has remained that way ever since (calling him "Stickers" would now be pointless since he has real headlights now, but Sally keeps the habit out of affection). Also, in the first film, all of the background cars are clearly based on completely fictional models, while in the sequel, all of them are now based on real models.
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  • Wallace & Gromit look very different in their first short, A Grand Day Out, which was effectively a glorified student film. Wallace, in particular, lacked his characteristic wide-mouthed grin (except while saying "cheese"), and Gromit looked rather anemic. Also, the modelling and production were rather more rough-and-ready. The designs (and production methods) were greatly refined in their next film, The Wrong Trousers, and have remained that way ever since.
  • A curious example, but take a look at Piglet's one-second appearance in the original intro song of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (the "there's Rabbit, and Piglet, and there's Owl" part). Someone at Disney must have done some heavy redesigning before Piglet made his "official" animated debut in the second featurette.
  • Most of the Disneytoon Studios Direct-to-Video sequels from The Lion King II onwards, due to a budget increase and transition to digital animation, make a better attempt to replicate the level of quality of the original theatrical films, compared to the TV episode quality of earlier sequels such as Aladdin: The Return of Jafar.
  • Combining this with Technology Marches On, try watching the first Shrek after watching Shrek Forever After. Three films' worth of subtle CGI improvement become immediately apparent.
    • The look of DWA films before Shrek the Third was way more appealing than most other CG studios, yet it was a huge step below Pixar, specially regarding character and prop rendering. Beginning with this film however, the aesthetics of the studio's output became much more polished, coinciding with DWA's Tone Shift into more character-driven works.
  • The Asterix movies animation gets better with each installment, for example Asterix the Gaul was animated in an early 60's Hanna-Barbera/UPA cartoon style while Asterix Versus Caesar uses a style reminiscent of Disney theatrical films.
  • Godzilla has had numerous changes made to his appearance over the years, with newer designs often bringing back elements of older designs that had been abandoned.
    • The later Showa films gave him an Anthropomorphic Shift.
    • The Heisei films gave him (particularly post-Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) stout legs, a feline face, and red eyes.
    • The Millennium films gave him very large dorsal plates starting in Godzilla 2000.
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    • Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack! gave him an even more monstrous face with larger fangs and blank white eyes.
    • Godzilla: Final Wars shrunk his eyes and made his body more compact to facilitate the elaborate fight scenes.
    • Godzilla has once again had his design updated in Godzilla (2014). The most noticeable changes are gills on his neck, round, sauropod-like feet, and a much longer tail. The film crew also spent quite a while tweaking his face:
    Edwards: "Trying to get the face right was the main thing... I guess he's got more of a bear's face, or a dog's. We also used eagle. There's a lot of nobility in an eagle. It made him feel very majestic and noble"
    • And this doesn't include the much more drastic changes seen in the Marvel Comics series, The Godzilla Power Hour, or the 1998 film.
    • Here is an index of pages that go more in-depth with the various idiosyncrasies of each design.
  • DC Extended Universe
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice leaned on a slightly brighter and higher contrast color palette compared to Man of Steel. Superman's costume also had a few minor cosmetic changes (the "buckle" on his waistline was square whereas it was previously oval).
    • Suicide Squad (2016) had a generally more realistic visual design, more resembling crime dramas than bright superhero movies.
    • Wonder Woman (2017): Prior movies had a much darker and more muted color scheme. Diana's Wonder Woman outfit in this film has almost supernaturally vibrant blues and reds, which was a deliberate contrast to the outfit in the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (it appeared to had been scuffed up over a long period of time whereas in this movie it has never been used before).
    • Justice League (2017) seeks to really amp up the brightness in an attempt to placate complaints of Real Is Brown (which was also criticized, as it resulted in "bright and colorful" garish look as the costumes and sets were not meant to be seen that way). It does find a medium ground with Wonder Woman's costume, cleaned up compared to BVS but not quite as bright as in her movie.
    • Aquaman uses very bright, crisp colors. Atlantis is depicted as very alive and busing with activity compared to the more sedate, rusted look when briefly seen in Justice League (2017)
  • An American Tail has a much higher level of quality than its sequels, which feature stiffer animation and less detailed backgrounds.
  • Frozen is a pretty noticeable place to explore advancements in modern CGI. The CGI in the first Frozen is impressive enough, but by Olaf's Frozen Adventure, Elsa and Anna's dresses flow more naturally with their movements, up to the hairs on Elsa's fur collar. And by Frozen II, the CGI has become so much more evolved that one can actually make out the peach fuzz on Elsa's cheeks.
  • Thor: Ragnarok has a very different colour palette from the two previous Thor movies. There's a lot more neon, for a start, and it's generally brighter and more colourful, since while all three films are Science Fantasy, Ragnarok is heavily aesthetically inspired by the Science Fantasy cartoons of the 1980s.


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