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Recycled Animation

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Sometimes, to take some budget shortcuts, you have Stock Footage scenes reused multiple times. But you want to recycle scenes from completely different creations you already made, changing the setting or the characters.

What distinguishes this from Stock Footage is that only part of the artwork is reused, not the entire footage. For example, the same cels used for one scene could be shot against a different background, or the drawings could be recolored on a different set of cels, or redrawn so that you have a different character doing the same action. In CGI, a character model may be altered to create another, or the actions of one character may be programmed onto a second character. While this allegedly is a money-saving move, in some occasions editing pre-existing footage to fit a new scene is actually more expensive than making new footage from scratch.

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Often a feature of Limited Animation. Compare with Wraparound Background (when background assets are just repeated over and over). Reused Character Design can coincide with this. A Transformation Sequence is very often either this or Stock Footage, depending on the series. New Work, Recycled Graphics is the Videogame equivalent.


Examples:

Anime

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion frequently recycles its own Stock Footage, but also recycles its own animation. This can be seen as early as the 2nd episode, where the characters' movements in Misato's apartment (Misato reaches forward and grabs Shinji's head) are exactly the same movements seen in the fight later (the Angel reaches forward and grabs Unit 01's head). The most egregious examples are the second half of 14 (in which Shinji attempts to sync with Unit-00, only for Unit-00 to go berserk in an almost beat-for-beat recycling of the first berserk Unit-00 scene,) and the final two episodes (when Gainax pretty much ran out of money and had to scrape together two more episodes with 90% recycled material.)
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  • Yuri!!! on Ice reuses some of its animation for the characters' figure skating programs, even recycling a crash scene, and a shot of Minako twirling is seen more than once.
  • Pretty common in Magical Girl anime that use the same transformation and attack sequences every episode, such as Sailor Moon and Pretty Cure.
  • Dragon Ball Super and its predecessors are responsible for this. The Universal Survival saga was quite criticized for this, but for some it was tolerated as the artwork was more polished than earlier episodes.

Disney

  • Worth noting that according to animator Floyd Norman, this is one of the trademarks of Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman, and it wasn't really done out of a want to save on time or money, he just wanted to play it safe and stuck to an already-done animation that did the job, hence why most of the Disney examples below are from works he directed.
  • 101 Dalmatians:
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    • The animation of Tibbs entering Hell Hall is lifted from Figaro opening the window in Pinocchio.
    • The animation of Tibbs running away from Jasper and Horace is lifted from Cinderella, when Lucifer is being chased away by Bruno.
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: When Ichabod is travelling through the woods, there is a shot of hollow reeds blowing in the wind, creating an eerie whistling sound. These are taken from "The Old Mill".
  • Alice in Wonderland: The fish watching the Walrus lure away the oysters are from Pinocchio.
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • Some of the deer seen in the distance at the beginning are taken straight from Bambi. This actually led to an urban legend that Gaston supposedly killed Bambi's mother, although both films take place in different locations.
    • The final dancing scene of Princess Aurora and Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty is recycled for Belle and the Prince dancing at the end.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • In the 1929 short The Haunted House, one scene of the performing skeletons is lifted from The Skeleton Dance, with an added twist in their top halves getting blown away while their legs continue to dance.
    • In the 1931 short The Castaway, the dancing seals were taken from Wild Waves, while the introduction of the gorilla was from Jungle Rhythm.
    • In the 1946 short Squatter's Rights, the animation of Mickey saying "Gosh, Pluto, I can't be mad at ya" is taken from The Pointer.
    • In the 1948 short Donald's Dream Voice the crowd of people who wants to buy brushes from Donald is recycled from the one seen in Donald's Dilemma, just replacing the autograph paper with bills.
    • In the 1954 short Donald's Diary, part of Donald's nervous breakdown near the end is lifted from Der Fuehrer's Face and Mickey and the Beanstalk.
  • Escape to Witch Mountain: Yes, it's a live-action film, but it has an Animated Credits Opening in which the animation of the chasing dogs is recycled from Bambi.
  • The Fox and the Hound:
    • Some background birds are taken from Bambi, most notably shots of ducks swimming and a family of quails running from the rain in the "Little April Shower" number.
    • A shot of a squirrel running through the trees is from The Sword in the Stone.
  • Goliath II:
  • The Great Mouse Detective: The coach that Toby, Basil and Dawson pass on their way to rescue the Queen is the dog catcher's wagon from Lady and the Tramp.
  • The Jungle Book:
    • The scene where the wolves lick Mowgli's face is copied straight from the one in The Sword in the Stone where dogs lick Wart's face.
    • The scene where the elephant brigade piles up is lifted from Goliath II.
    • The scene where Bagheera and Baloo rescue Mowgli from the monkeys is copied from the scene in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad where Mr. Toad's friends try to get his deed from Winky and his weasel henchmen.
    • The same animated shots of Mowgli are frequently reused throughout the film.
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:
    • A lot of Tigger's animations in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day were later recycled in Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.
    • In the epilogue, the animation of Christopher Robin walking and throwing a stone is recycled from Mowgli in The Jungle Book.
    • The blowing reeds in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day are from "The Old Mill".
  • The Little Mermaid: When Sebastian calls for winds in the intro to "Kiss the Girl", the reeds that blow in the wind are also taken from The Old Mill.
  • Robin Hood:
    • Little John and Sir Hiss have some animations recycled from The Jungle Book's Baloo and Kaa.
    • The dancing sequence recycles animations from the dancing sequences seen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Maid Marian dancing with the dog with a broken leg, Maid Marian clapping), The Aristocats (the band playing music, Maid Marian dancing with Robin) and The Jungle Book (Little John dancing with Lady Cluck).
    • Animation of the Sheriff of Nottingham is often used more than once throughout the film (most notably his leisurely walk cycle.) The Sheriff's main animator Milt Kahl was reportedly not amused by his animation being reused more than once.
  • Sleeping Beauty: When Maleficent's goons are running for cover from their master's rage, their animation is recycled from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (when the dwarfs hide from the "monster" in their cottage).

Web Animation

  • Monty Oum occasionally reused parts of fight scenes from his older projects in RWBY, although he would change the camera angle to make it seem fresh.

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Western Animation

  • Filmation was particularly fond of this trope, since they mass-produced so many TV cartoons in The '70s and The '80s on substantially small budgets. It was not uncommon to see the same walk cycles and close-ups of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, or Prince Adam and Cringer changing into He-Man and Battlecat respectively.
  • Hanna-Barbera, whom also mass-produced TV cartoons on the cheap (though not as cheap as Filmation), also often recycled animation when necessary, especially shots of characters talking and their various walk and run cycles in their output from the late 60s to the early 80s. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was especially guilty of this.
  • The The Loud House episode "Fed Up" recycles a bunch of shots from earlier episodes:
    • The stills of Luna rocking out are from "No Guts, No Glori".
    • Thee scene of everyone running downstairs is almost identical to the one in "The Sweet Spot", with the biggest difference being Lola using her princess car.
    • The scenes of the siblings fighting each other and then stopping to reassure dad that everything is fine recycle the battling shot from "Slice of Life" and the "One boy, 10 girls" shot from the theme song.
    • The scene of the sisters getting ready in the bathroom before going to bed is almost identical to the one from "Space Invader", with the main differences being that Luan is not in her night gown, Leni and Luna's positions are swapped (and Leni isn't brushing her hair) and Lana is not present.
  • Mainframe Entertainment recycled a few polygonal models between their productions:
    • An episode of War Planets briefly uses Rattrap's model as a generic rat in the background.
    • In the Scary Godmother movies, Harry the werewolf is blatantly Noble's character model recolored, made fatter and covered in a blue Hawaiian jacket.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic season 7 episode "All Bottled Up" reuses the distinctive rage face for Starlight Glimmer that she first used in the season 5 premier episode "The Cutie Map".
  • The Simpsons:
    • The beginning of the third act of "Bart the Daredevil" where Otto drives the kids back from a field trip to the Springfield Gorge reuses footage from "Homer's Odyssey" of the school bus driving down a winding road and past a prison. The Season 1 gradient-style backgrounds are especially noticeable.
    • In "Lisa's Pony", the footage of Lisa calling Homer while he's at work to tell him she loves him is taken from "Bart's Dog Gets An F", which is notable since she was sick with Mumps in that episode.
    • In "Radio Bart", the footage of the police interviewing Homer and Marge is lifted from "Bart vs. Thanksgiving" (with new dialogue dubbed over).
    • The scene in "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" where Homer bemoans Herb's treatment of him to Marge in bed was taken from "Saturdays of Thunder" because they decided to explain the plot a bit more.
    • Parodied in "Another Simpsons Clip Show" when Bart and Lisa watch an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon that we as an audience have seen in a previous episode, causing Marge to ask them how many times they can watch that particular cartoon? They lampshade by answering that it's a new episode made from stock footage. This is also selfreferential comedy because the entire episode itself is made from stock footage from previous Simpsons episodes, only with occasional new dialogue spliced over them.
    • Bart waking up from his soulless nightmare in "Bart Sells His Soul" is recycled from "Treehouse of Horror II", albeit with Lisa removed.
    • In "The Boy Who Knew Too Much," Bart running down a hill is a recycled shot from "Kamp Krusty" although flipped horizontally and with the other characters removed.
  • Season 3 of Spider-Man: The Animated Series had little to no budget and often recycled animation from older episodes. Not counting the infamous "Spidey swinging through CGI skyscrapers" Stock Footage seen over and over during the show, of course.
  • The second half of the second season of VeggieTales on TV recycled footage from prior episodes and had the voice actors record new dialogue over it. This is probably the reason that these episodes did not air on television until the show hit syndication in 2015.
  • Hey Arnold! frequently reused animation of establishing shots from older episodes, with a notable one being outside the P.S. 118 school building with the flag waving in the wind. It got especially noticeable when the show switched to digital ink-and-paint in the fourth season, due to the old footage using hand-painted cel animation.
    • Another noticeable use of recycled animation happens in the fourth season episode "Synchronized Swimming," opening with footage of Arnold and the other kids playing and swimming in the city pool taken from "6th Grade Girls." This results in another jarring change between the old hand-painted cel animation to the newer digitally-colored animation.
  • The Raccoons had the same recycled close-up shots of the main characters (including Mr. Knox, Lady Baden-Baden and Bentley) talking, even after switching from Atkinson Film-Arts to Hinton Animation Studios at the start of season 2.

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