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Roger Rabbit Effect

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Nope, nothing loony about this!

Roger Rabbit and his cartoon comrades cast real shadows. They shake the hands and grab the coats and rattle the teeth of real actors. They change size and dimension and perspective as they move through a scene... and the cartoon characters look three-dimensional and seem to be occupying real space.

A special effect intended to show live-action, flesh-and-blood performers interacting with animated (usually ink-and-paint) characters.

If the story is a comedy, and it usually is, the characters tend to be medium-aware and recognize each other as belonging to either category. However, in some early examples like Pete's Dragon, animation is just a special effect and the animated characters are in-universe not different from the actor.

This is one of the oldest special effects in Hollywood (the 1914 animated film, Gertie the Dinosaur, actually had creator Winsor McCay interacting with animated Gertie in real time on a vaudeville stage), and has been done several times with varying degrees of realism, though it was probably perfected by the 1988 Disney/Amblin film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

A sub-category of this trope is any story where cartoon characters are real and exist independently from "real" human beings (which may or may not be set in Toon Town and/or an Alternate Tooniverse). Since this is such a visual idea, it's not very common in forms of media that lack a visual aspect, although exceptions exist—including the trope maker itself.


This is mainly a hand-drawn animation trope. While CGI characters are often depicted alongside live-action characters, they are usually depicted as live-action in-universe, and are rarely portrayed as visually or stylistically different from their live-action surroundings. CGI characters, because they have the potential to look more "real" to audiences, are not as prone to this kind of portrayal.

A subtrope of Medium Blending, and an extended version of Rotoscoping. Compare and contrast Serkis Folk and Starring Special Effects.

Compare Animated Actors (the in-universe counterpart to this trope), Refugee from TV Land, Disneyesque.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • The opening of Excel Saga briefly features Excel, Hyatt, Nabeshin, and a few other characters running through a real-world environment. However, they do not interact with any live-action performers.
  • Twilight of the Cockroaches is a rare Japanese example of the first type of Roger Rabbit Effect. A live-action character lives in an apartment with a society of anime roaches.
  • The wall calendars for Yotsuba&! feature Yotsuba drawn into color photographs, sometimes interacting with real people.
  • "Mom" in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
    • This trope also seems to be referenced in "Vomiting Point", when Panty and Stocking (drawn in their regular cartoony art style) visit a realistic city populated by much more realistically drawn people.
  • Hime Chen Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri's second opening and ending sequences feature the live-action singers with the animated characters whom they represent. The show's replacement, the Pretty Series, also does this.
  • The end of the first half of the 12th and final episode of the Pop Team Epic anime adaptation has Shouta Aoi making a live action guest appearance As Himself in an otherwise animated world, interacting with Popuko and a petrified Pipimi, and taking them back through time during the credits.
  • During the cooking musical number in the first episode of Kirakira★PreCure a la Mode, a live action human, only shown by their hands, is seen cooking alongside Ichika.
  • The end credits of Sarazanmai feature photos and video footage of real world locations that appear in the anime, some of which feature the animated characters standing around in them.
  • Possibly the earliest example of this trope in Japanese animation can be seen in a trailer for the 1960 Toei produced movie adaptation of Journey to the West; Son Goku enters the live action office of the then president of Toei Animation and shakes hands with him. It's just a few seconds, but still impressive given the technology of the time.
  • One episode of Jewelpet Sunshine is focused on Yaginuma, a not-very-sapient goat who is somehow part of Sunshine Academy's high school classes. Ordinarily Yaginuma is animated like the rest of the characters, but in this specific episode he's live-action and some Jewelpets, who are animated like normal, appear next to him. At the end of the episode, Labra notices he looks different and realizes she never undid whatever spell she cast on him to make him live-action before doing just that.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Canimals, the animated Canimals appear in live-action environments, and sometimes humans appear alongside them.

    Comic Books 
  • A storyline from Astro City features an animated lion character, Loony Leo, coming to life and discovering the ups and downs of Hollywood stardom.
  • Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!note  inhabitants of the DC Universe's Earth-C, a World of Funny Animals. Occasionally, they lend a hand to characters such as Superman and the Teen Titans.
  • Dorothy, a Photo Comic adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, mixes photos of human models with illustrated creatures and environments for the Oz scenes.
  • Howard the Duck would fall into in this trope, except for the fact Howard is technically a flesh-and-blood being, and not an actual cartoon character.
  • The Warren Strong episodes of Tom Strong.
  • A section of the second volume of Promethea by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III is done with photographs of the action rather than drawings.
  • An issue of a Superman comic had Mr. Mxyzptlk step out of the comic as it was being drawn and discuss the storyline with the staff of DC Comics. The sequence was done with photographs of the actual staff in their actual office, with a still-toony Mxyzptlk composited in.
  • Issue #8 of Count Duckula (Marvel, based on the Cosgrove-Hall TV cartoon) has Duckula conversing with a live Geraldo Rivera on the cover. The Geraldo in the body of the story is drawn.
  • Megaton Man when he stumbles into Savage Dragon's world

    Fan Works 
  • Technically, most Intercontinuity Crossovers in fanfiction between live-action and animated series are these. How it is treated vary widely, though. Most frequently, it's not mentioned at all or Handwaved.
  • This Toon Round, one of the side-continuities of This Time Round. In one Round Robin, it's stated that a Toonside character interacting with the regular Outside setting must be carrying his own laws of physics around with him to exist at all.
  • "Ponies in the real world" is a fairly popular genre in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanbase, both in fanfics and in videos on YouTube such as MLP Car Decals

  • The Trope Namer, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The special effects included several mechanical props covered by the animation to create the illusion of Toons being able to interact with real objects. A barroom had slots in the floor and puppeteers with large poles so animated penguins could carry real serving trays. A sink was built with a robotic pipe thingy so Roger Rabbit could splash in the sink and spit out a mouthful of water. One of the most elaborate effects was for the scenes with Benny the Cab; they were filmed with a custom rig which was essentially a steel frame with tires and a small gasoline engine to move about, with Bob Hoskins sitting on an elevated platform holding a fake steering wheel while the actual driver was down below, concealed by overlaying Benny in post. As one critic said in their review, "although this wasn't the first time that cartoon characters have shared the screen with live actors, it was the first time they did it on their own terms and made it look real."
  • Ralph Bakshi's Heavy Traffic, Coonskin and Cool World. The latter gave this trope its alternate title, Noids and Doodles.
  • The 1992 "Roger Rabbit meets Evil Dead" B-movie Evil Toons had this.
  • Non-character example: The 1988 movie Child's Play uses this in its opening scene. The lightning strikes are clearly cartoonish.
  • Monkeybone used this concept with stop-motion animation.
  • Looney Tunes examples:
  • The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle did this, with the title characters animated (but only rendered in cel-shaded CG) and nearly everyone else portrayed by live actors. Lampshaded in the trailer, where the announcer brags about the film being "a groundbreaking blend of animation and live action." One of the characters says "What about that movie Roger Rabbit?", to which Fearless Leader angrily replies "Shut up! This is totally different!" (These lines appear in the film after Fearless Leader states there has never been a way to kill a cartoon character until now.)
  • Rock-A-Doodle, the only Don Bluth film to actually feature live actors.
  • Disney used this for decades, starting with the Alice Comedies series, which started in 1923, and kept right on going through The Reluctant Dragon, So Dear to My Heart, the eternally un-re-released Song of the South, Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Pete's Dragon (1977), The Three Caballeros, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time, Fantasia, Fantasia 2000, and Enchanted.
  • Some would say that TRON fits this as well.
  • The opening of the "Best of Disney-50 Years of Magic" documentary shows Michael Eisner interacting with Mickey Mouse. Roger Rabbit and a few others also appear.
  • Fred Willard and an ensemble of live-action extras share the screen with CGI animated robots on WALL•E. Although in this case, they are only seen in footage of the past and thus never interact with the current-day cast. Word of God says the two styles are indicative of the (d)evolution undergone by humanity in the intervening centuries.
  • The climax of The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie, as a continuation from the series, establishes that the cartoon characters are simply living in an otherwise live-action world when they get to the surface. The movie introduces the point that when the characters are dried up on land, they die and become live-action, inanimate sea objects — enough moisture will bring them back to their cartoony life. The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water also has live-action/animated sequences. However this time, the animation is done with CGI instead of traditional hand-drawn animation whenever real people show up.
  • Detective Whiskers in Last Action Hero is a cartoon cat in a detective outfit, but nobody but Danny sees anything weird about him.
    Jack Slater: He was supposed to be back. He was only suspended for a month. Now shut up!
    Danny: Listen to what I'm saying: a cartoon cat walked right into the police station! Hello!
    Slater: He'll do it again tomorrow. What's your point?
  • The Italian Affectionate Parody Allegro Non Troppo features more interaction with the cartoon characters, who periodically disrupt the live-action.
  • Anchors Aweigh features a dance number with Gene Kelly and Jerry.
  • Both Tom and Jerry also appeared with Esther Williams in a Dream Sequence from Dangerous When Wet.
  • Back to Kelly again; his anthology film Invitation to the Dance features a segment based on Sinbad the Sailor set in an animated Middle Eastern fantasy world.
  • The Mask presents an interesting case. The title artifact transforms anybody who wears it into a bizarre living cartoon until daybreak, but although they convincingly defy reality in the way you'd expect from a Tex Avery cartoon, they're still portrayed by live-action performers. Otis the dog (from the sequel, Son of the Mask) becomes all-CGI if he wears the magical mask, but Milo in the original only had a CGI head over the real dog's body.
  • In the film version of The Phantom Tollbooth, Milo becomes a cartoon after crossing the tollbooth. This leads to an amusing sequence in which he goes back and forth in disbelief until the tollbooth's voice tells him to get on with it.
  • Son of the Pink Panther opens with such a sequence, and several of the other films in the series end with one.
  • The Don Knotts vehicle The Incredible Mr. Limpet has a bit of this.
  • The 1974 Swedish film Dunderklumpen! has a live-action setting with mostly animated characters. Camilla, Jens and their father are practically the only characters in the movie played by real-life actors.
  • The main character of the short film Badly Drawn Roy is a cartoon while everyone else is live-action, including his parents. In-universe, this occurrence is a genetic improbability similar to two parents giving birth to a child of a different race, and while uncommon and remarkable it isn't considered unbelievably impossible.
  • The Smurfs is about smurfs ending up in the live-action human world. Also, Gargamel and Azrael are live-acted.
  • In The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, cavemen are live-acted while dinos and other animals are animated.
  • The Star Wars films, both the more recent ones and updated re-releases of the originals, feature live actors interacting with animated CGI characters or creatures.
  • In 9 to 5, cartoon forest animals appear in Violet's fantasy vision of doing in Mr. Hart (where she is dressed like Snow White).
  • Happy Feet has animated animals and live-action humans.
  • (500) Days of Summer has a scene with animated birds.
  • The LEGO Movie reveals that the movie's events are actually being acted out by a boy and his father, and later, his younger sister.
  • The Ur-Example is likely the 2-minute film The Enchanted Drawing, in which a man draws a cartoon face and also draws a picture of a glass and a bottle of wine (which he then takes and drinks from), draws a top hat and a cigar on the cartoon head (which he then takes; wearing the hat and smoking the cigar, to the displeasure of the cartoon), gives them back to the cartoon and walks off-screen. The copyright is 1900, but the film may be even older.
  • Used in the Yoram Gross, which both have animated humans and animals interacting with live-action environments.
    • Perfect examples are The Little Convict and The Seventh Match, both which follow the classic version of the trope (Pete's Dragon-esque).
    • The obscure film Epic (1984), the characters, who were animated, were placed in videos or pictures of real or realistically painted environments to a somewhat bizarre but charming effect.
  • The Little Rascals short "Thundering Fleas" features animated, anthropomorphic fleas alongside the live action footage.
  • In Ghostbusters (2016), Patty asks Rowan to transform into something small and cute before their final confrontation. Rowan responds by briefly transforming into the cartoon ghost from the Ghostbusters logo.
  • The majority of the movie splits the live-action and animation segments, but The Water Babies (1978) has some small instances of blended scenes.
  • In a piece of promotional material for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Kit Harington tries to play against Toothless in an audition for an "Untitled Fantasy TV Drama." Hilarity Ensues.
  • Forbidden Planet: At the climax of the movie, the invisible Id Monster is made visible when it passes through a force field or is struck by ray-gun fire, and is represented by an animated outline that resembles an enormous fanged head mounted on two clawed legs.

  • Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf and the sequels, not-quite-sequels, spiritual successors, and short stories it spawned, (not to mention a much more famous film adaptation) featuring an alternate 1947 Hollywood where the animated stars are just as real as the live-action film stars. Sadly out of print, these books are hard to get a hold of, but one of the short stories is available for free at Mr. Wolf's website. Interestingly, unlike the movie, the book presents the Toons as comic-strip characters (talking via speech balloons, for instance) rather than animated. One scene has Eddie attempting to reattach Roger's nose first with tape and then glue.
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel The Crooked World implies this — the Planetville du jour is inhabited by cartoon characters. However, none of the protagonists seem to notice that the people they're interacting with are strangely coloured, although they do notice they're generally odd-looking and don't seem to work according to the normal laws of reality, biology, and so on, and the (ridiculous-looking) cover features a cartoon of the Doctor, so it's not clear exactly what is going on.
  • In Simon R. Green's Shadows Fall, cartoon creatures are among the many inhabitants of the titular town of fictional and legendary beings. When the town is invaded by outsiders, some find out just how dangerous it is to fight semi-mutable creatures that always bounce back when injured...
  • While no humans are ever present in the Max and Ruby series, a spin-off series by Rosemary Wells called "Baby Max And Ruby" combines real life objects such as toys and food with the characters.
  • In The Magician King, it's near impossible for magicians to turn themselves completely invisible and those that do never look normal again. They look more like paintings than people.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Walking with Dinosaurs has CGI (or sometimes puppet) dinosaurs on live-action backgrounds, complete with footprints, splashes in water, kicking up dust, and even urinating. Also, sometimes live-acted animals interact with animated ones, like animated Australopithecus watching live-acted vultures.
  • Back in 1968, Hanna-Barbera released a short-lived series called The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which featured live-action actors as Huck, Tom Sawyer, and Becky Thatcher, being pursued through various cartoon milieux by an animated Injun Joe. For the live-action intro, Injun Joe was played by Ted Cassidy (a.k.a. Lurch from The Addams Family). The series occasionally attempted some ambitious effects, such as having the human characters dance around their animated partners, first in front then behind.
  • Out of Jimmy's Head
  • Lizzie McGuire used a cartoon of the title character to represent her thoughts.
  • The Cold Open for one episode of The Drew Carey Show had Daffy Duck trying to apply for a job at Winfred Lauder.
  • Similarly, a brief gag on Night Court features Wile E. Coyote as a defendant.
  • The Walt Disney anthology series often had Walt Disney interacting with his cartoon creations. A perfect example is a 1956 episode entitled "A Day in the Life of Donald Duck", in which Donald Duck goes through a typical day at the Disney Studios. Along the way, he meets the Mouseketeers, the voice of Donald himself Clarence Nash, and of course, Walt Disney.
  • A Hanna-Barbera TV special based on Jack and the Beanstalk has a live-action Jack and Gene Kelly (again) going up the beanstalk into an animated world.
  • Vague example: The BBC version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has animated characters coexisting with live-action, but there was no distinction intended — the animation effect was apparently due to Japanese influence on the production, leading to odd scenes like live-action characters riding a dragon that was animated sometimes, and a practical effect in other shots. It's a bit jarring.
  • A similar example somewhere between television and movie, is the original Superman Serials in which characters would become animated when flying, and return to live actors once on the ground.
  • The Dancing Baby in Ally McBeal.
  • On one episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, as Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion question how to put down dead budgies, one of Terry Gilliam's cut-out animations from the previous link strolls by (it's really a blow-up on a large piece of board being carried around). The two old ladies greet it with a hearty "Good morning, Mrs. Cut-Out!" This was only one of many invocations, as the animations were often required to link together the live-action sketches.
  • Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: Parodied with Grum, an intentionally terrifying CGI character.
  • Pumuckl: The kobold protagonist of a German children's TV series. Everything else is live-action; Pumuckl is animated.
  • Done in an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Ned gets occasional help from The Fairly OddParents; justified since it's an episode about daydreams and they're just hallucinations.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head once appeared "live" at the MTV Music Awards via this technique.
  • The Argentinian soap Mi familia es un dibujo tells the misadventures of a family in which a pregnant woman has cartoon cravings in the last months of her pregnancy and then gives birth to a readheaded, freckled and hyperactive cartoon boy (!). It even spawned three movies! More information in the other wiki (in Spanish).
  • The Saturday Night Live segment "Cluckin' Chicken" is this.
  • Stewie Griffin from Family Guy makes a cameo appearance in an episode of Bones. Not just on a screen, but in the interrogation room itself! He's in fact an hallucination from Booth, who suffers from a brain tumor.
  • The Powerpuff Girls once made an animated appearance on Donny & Marie (the late 90's Fox talkshow, obviously, not the 70's ABC variety show). They also helped Robert Osborne introduce a sing-along showing of The Wizard of Oz on Turner Classic Movies in 2002, when their own movie was about to be released.
  • Former CBC children's block Get Set For Life did this with Radio and TV, two CG characters who would function next to the two human cohosts Alyson and Michael, and mostly existed within their Space Case.
  • On the live-action game show Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego, Carmen and all of her crooks are cartoon characters. Greg Lee's "father" Gus lampshaded it in one episode.
    Gus Lee: Listen, son, I've been meaning to talk to. Are you aware that this, uh, "Carmine Santiago" lady you've been chasing around is... she's a cartoon, son. She's not a real person. You're aware of that.
    Greg: Dad, that's how the show works.
    Gus Lee: As a matter of fact, all the crooks are cartoons! And to put them in jail, you just pull on a chain that's connected to nothing! That is ridiculous!
  • Angelica Pickles once appeared as a guest on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. (She also collaborated on O'Donnell's album A Rosie Christmas.)
  • The live broadcast of the Academy Awards sometimes has cartoon characters as presenters. They almost always present the Best Animated Short award, although there's been exceptions (Woody Woodpecker for the Special Achievement Award to Walter Lantz, Beavis and Butt-Head presenting Best Sound Effects, Edna Mode for Best Costume and Ted for Best Sound Editing/Mixing). Belle and the Beast and Chicken Little and Abby Mallard (the latter appearance had a hilarious lampshade of the Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal trope where Abby made makeshift pants out of the envelope) are among those who have presented for Best Animated Short. Almost always, with a few exceptions, whenever animated characters present at the awards, their mouths are covered up by the envelope when announcing the winner. For the Best Animated Feature awards, the characters from the nominated films are sometimes shown sitting in the audience. If those weren't enough, Donald Duck co-hosted the 1957 ceremony!
  • A few Mr. Show episodes do this. The "Biosphere" sketch features David Cross, after unsuccessfully trying to pick up woman scientists, interacting with Limited Animation animals, trying to get advice. Also, to get David out of a cult, Tom Kenny reveals who he'll meet when he goes to heaven, all of who are animated. Also the Disney-esque birds in the Intervention link that fly along with a singing John Ennis.
  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade:
  • In 1970, comedian Pat Paulsen interviewed Foghorn Leghorn and Daffy Duck on two separate episodes of his Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour. See both interviews here
  • The eponymous McGee in McGee and Me!, who was an animate cartoon character created by the live-action Nicholas Martin, who both had adventures and learned things in a live-action neighborhood. It was also done the other way as Nicholas sometimes entered fully animated worlds in Imagine Spots and Dream Sequences.
  • ABC's prime time preview of their 1976 season Saturday morning shows had Jimmy Osmond and Scooby-Doo performing the Osmonds' 1971 confection "Yo-Yo."
  • Similarly, the year before, the Cosby Kids introduced CBS's 1975 season line-up and intermingled with the live-action stars of The Shazam!/Isis Hour (Isis kisses Russell on the cheek in one scene).
  • Press Your Luck had the show's penalty, the Whammy, appear in front of the contestants' score and perform a cartoony stunt to erase it when it was landed upon at the big board. Similarly done in its 2002 reboot Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck which was in CGI as where the original was computer-composite 2-D. Reverted to the limited animation version when it was revived in 2019 with Elizabeth Banks, although with some mixed results in humor.
  • NBC's 1969 sitcom My World...And Welcome To It was based on stories by author James Thurber and had his art style rendered in animation (by the DePatie-Freleng studio). The animation would interact with series star William Windom (as James Monroe, assuming the Thurber avatar).
  • The obscure 1987 Christmas Special A Mouse, A Mystery, and Me is about an author named Jill Roberts and her animated mouse sidekick/co-author Alex investigating the kidnapping of a Mall Santa.
  • The main character of Son of Zorn is an animated character in a live-action world.
  • The '90s Spanish variety show ¿Pero Esto Que Es? ("But What Is This?") was co-hosted by an animated rabbit named Vicky, who also starred in the occasional short on the show.
  • If CGI fits into this trope, Odd Squad employs this often, showing dinosaurs, laser chickens and flying goldfish among the live-action cast, among many other CGI creatures as well as gadget effects. Agent Ocean, his profession being dealing with CGI creatures, is the character to use this trope.
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at times features interviews with cartoon versions of personalities, the most frequent being Donald Trump.
  • Hollywood Dog was a 1990 unsold pilot where an animated, talking dog interacted with live actors, in a rather blatant swipe of the Roger Rabbit formula.
  • Kingdom Adventure: Most of the special effects (e.g. fire, rain, and magic) were done using hand-drawn animations that interacted with live-action puppets and objects, and when Dagger shapeshifted into his vulture-form, he went from a live-action puppet to a cartoon bird.
  • The French 70s-80s show Les Aventures électriques de Zeltron features the robot puppet Zeltron superimposed on live action footage, usually in his visits to Earth. He's also placed over cartoon backgrounds, like in his space station and in his adventures in the early episodes. The way his puppet was visually altered after filming gave him a brightly colored appearance, in which he looks like a CGI cartoon character.
  • In the second season premiere of Teachers (2016), an animated bluebird visits each of the teachers as they are getting ready to go in for the first day of school.
  • Happy!: The titular character is a blue, flying unicorn created via CGI who interacts with human detective Nick Sax, played by Christopher Meloni.
  • Llan-Ar-Goll-En is a Welsh show starring a live-action detective and his 2D cartoon dog partner which, of course, uses this effect extensively, as demonstrated by this showreel.

    Music Videos 
  • A music video for The Apples in Stereo song "Signal in the Sky (Let's Go!)" features the band members playing their song in a cardboard recreation of the city of Townsville while The Powerpuff Girls fly around in the background beating up a guy dressed as the orange fish monster with the many eyes. You know the one.
  • The video for "Opposites Attract" famously has Paula Abdul dueting with MC Skat Kat, a cartoon cat.note  Continued in the video for MC Skat Kat's single "Scat Strut", where a cartoon version of Paula makes a small cameo.
  • The video for "Breathless" by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds has cartoon foxes, rabbits, and other animals running around.
  • The video for Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" from So has Gabriel next to stop-motion characters. Blending was actually made more believable by stop-motion animating Peter Gabriel himself as well.
  • The video for A Ha's "Take On Me" featured a pencil-sketch character "drawing" a live-action woman into his life.
  • Gorillaz occasionally interact with live-action performers; during a concert, their computerised selves performed alongside Madonna. Within the canon, it varies as to whether they know they're cartoon characters; 2D once said he's pleased to be a cartoon character because "Paternity suits don't stick 'cos I don't have any DNA." (Apparently they do stick when the mother is another cartoon character, as shown by the existence of 2D's numerous illegitimate children.) Murdoc also shrugged off a potential murder charge after the El Manana The Plan in which he used the crashing windmill to kill off a stalker of his, on the grounds that "I don't even have fingerprints." Murdoc claims Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, the actual band creators, are their producer and photographer/video producer, respectively (although, as he further stated, "it's all bull because Damon mostly sits around playing his banjo or looking up 'ethnic instruments' on Google, and Jamie's mainly designing his beard"). Then there's this, to prove the point visually. There was also the interview with Franz Ferdinand that had a "photoshoot" with both band's members.
  • Vocaloid: Hatsune Miku did this during her "live-action" concert in Los Angeles. Each time a member of her band was introduced, she would turn to them, smile, and wave. In fact, the entire concert was an example of this. A virtual diva in the real world? Sweet!
  • The smooth jazz band The Rippingtons once did a music video for their song "Tourist in Paradise", in which an animated version of the band's trademark anthropomorphic mascot, the Jazz Cat, interacts with the members and some chicks on a beach.
    • They also did a video for "Curves Ahead", which has the Jazz Cat performing alongside the band members and snowboarding with them.
  • The French pianist Richard Clayderman has a clip, "Smiling Joey", where for some reason he's at his piano in a boat floating down a river while various animated woodland critters are playing the parts of the orchestra.
  • Disney's Princess Kesha.
  • A.B. Quintanilla III Y Los Kumbia All Starz - Speedy Gonzalez
  • German Punk Band Die Ärzte filmed a video starring Lara Croft.... Watch it here.
  • This is done (badly) in the video for Billy Ocean's "Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car". A cartoon duck is crudely overlaid onto the live action footage, but it doesn't convincingly interact with the environment nor seem to have anything to do with what's going on.
  • Jazz singer Al Jarreaunote  did this in his video for "Mornin'".
  • The Rolling Stones' "Harlem Shuffle" (Dirty Work) has an animated music video, where the live-action scenes are directed by Ralph Bakshi and the animated scenes by John Kricfalusi.
  • Meghan Trainor's "Better When I'm Dancin'" has her filmed alongside the classic Peanuts characters (the song was made as a tie-in with The Peanuts Movie).
  • In The B-52s' "Song For A Future Generation" video, an animated bird lands on Kate's finger at around the 2:11 mark.
  • Many of Jack Stauber's videos combine live-action with animation.
  • Barenaked Ladies' video for "Get In Line" (off the King of the Hill soundtrack) has the band superimposed into the animated setting of the show, where they perform the song and spy on resident Conspiracy Theorist Dale Gribble. Cartoon versions of the band also made a non-speaking cameo at the beginning.

  • Data East's Playboy 35th Anniversary pinball shows real-life people (Hugh Hefner and the Playmates) interacting with cartoon characters (Little Annie Fanny, the Playboy Femlin, and the Playboy Rabbit).
  • Similarly, the backbox translite for Last Action Hero includes Whiskers the cartoon cat hanging out with the rest of the human cast.
  • Space Jam, like the film that inspired it, mixes the live-action Michael Jordan with various Looney Tunes characters.

  • As Gertie the Dinosaur was originally a vaudeville act with a man performing live on stage with a cartoon character, it fits here. Let The Other Wiki explain:
    McCay would stand on stage in front of a projection screen, dressed in a tuxedo and wielding a whip. He would call Gertie, who appeared from behind some rocks. He then instructed her to perform various tricks, similar to a circus act. He would appear to toss a prop apple to her — McCay palmed the apple while Gertie caught an animated copy of it...
    • The act ended with McCay appearing to climb onto Gertie's back (actually, he stepped through a hole in the screen, and a filmed copy of himself climbed onto Gertie), and the two rode off into the distance, which resulted in three mediums interacting with each other.
  • Avenue Q: Nobody bats an eyelash at puppets and humans interacting (though a team-up with the cast of Fiddler on the Roof for Broadway Cares explored the idea in greater depth.) The audience can easily be lulled into ignoring the actors onstage who are controlling the puppets. This can be jarring when the cast comes out for the curtain-call at the end without the puppets in their hands. ("Who's that guy?")
    • In fact, the characters seem to think the difference between monster puppets and human puppets is more striking than between human puppets and human... humans. However, in various in-character interviews and events, the characters seem to be aware that humans and puppets are different (they sometimes reveal themselves as Animated Actors). One video featuring Rod even treats puppets as a separate race, with him calling himself "the first Republican Puppet-American".

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl, insofar as Solid Snake can be considered a normal human being. Or, for that matter, Link, Samus, and any other "normal" human characters. And the coexistence of Link and Toon Link. Sort of an odd case. In Melee, one of the Event Matches pits you against what the game calls the "realistic" characters, presumably contrasted with the "cartoony" characters. But the supposedly realistic characters include the anthropomorphic animal Fox (though Fox & friends are space aliens who just happen to look like a bunch of Funny Animal cartoon characters). And the Final Destination stage's changing background is meant to show the characters actually traveling from the video game world to the real world.
  • Toonstruck, wherein the real world animator Drew Blanc (played by Christopher Lloyd) gets sucked into the toon world.
  • Similarly, Comix Zone for the Sega Genesis.
  • Consider the mere existence of a Pirates of the Caribbean world, called Port Royal in Kingdom Hearts II. It is a bit jarring, because it's done in a more realistic, grittier style than the anime/cartoon styles of the rest of the game. it's even lampshaded. The protagonists are baffled upon landing on Port Royal and immediately comment that the world looks different. Kingdom Hearts III rectified this by giving the trio pirate attires when they return the third time.
    • Subverted with Space Paranoids, which is based on TRON. The only live-action-style characters in that world are Tron and Sark, though unlike the cast in Port Royal, they look a bit closer to the main human cast. It helps that Space Paranoids is all blue and shiny, and that Sora, Donald and Goofy receive armor that match the world's style.
    • Played straight with The Grid, which was based on TRON: Legacy, which appears in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Like with Port Royal, the cast found there are more realistic, which results in a few awkward scenes, as Sora and Riku, despite their world-exclusive armor, still resemble anime characters.
    • The more cartoonish Disney characters (like Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Winnie the Pooh), and even realistic looking ones like the Disney Princesses, stick out like sore thumbs next to the Square Enix characters. The modern anime style used for the Square characters clashes with the western style of the Disney characters.
  • One TV special with Backyard Sports characters had Chuck Downfield (animated) talking with live-action NFL stars.
  • Cosmic Osmo has a framed photo of himself with Jethro from The Beverly Hillbillies.
  • Nicktoons MLB features both Nickelodeon characters and real MLB players.
  • Some of the Garry's Mod animations that have realistic characters interacting with cartoonish characters (i.e. Left 4 Dead characters interacting with Team Fortress 2 characters) could count as this.
    • Videos in which the Left 4 Dead characters interact with characters from other Valve games (not just TF2) also count as this, since the other Valve games exist as games in the L4D universe.
  • Poker Night at the Inventory... sort of. The game features the normal 3D for characters such as Max and The Heavy, while using cel-shading for Strong Bad and Tycho.
  • Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing: The realistic Jacky, Akira, Ryo Hazuki, and B.D. Joe race against the cartoonish Sonic the Hedgehog and friends, Aiai, Billy Hatcher, and more. They can also get Squashed Flat, hit with flying boxing gloves and missiles, and have other cartoonish things happen to them. Beat may also count since he comes from a realistic-type game but with stylish graphics. Real-life racer Danica Patrick joins the party in All-Stars Racing Transformed.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine features living cartoons (who are fictional in-universe) emerging from the Ink Machine as you explore the abandoned animation studio. In Chapter 1, Bendy himself appears to be out for blood, while you can also find his old partner/nemesis Boris the Wolf, strapped to a table and vivisected. Chapter 2 gives us Boris alive and well. And then there's Sammy Lawrence, who at this point is a hybrid of human and ink-dripping cartoon. Then there's Alice Angel, made from the body of her first voice actress, Susie Campbell. Other examples revealed are The Butcher Gang, ANOTHER Alice Angel, made from the audio logs of her second voice actress, Allison Pendle, and another Boris, made from the audio logs of Thomas Connor, the man who built the Ink Machine in the first place. The last chapter reveals that the Ink Machine was made for an attempt to bring the Toons to life so that people could interact with them and get to know them better... But it didn't.

    Web Animation 

  • Sam Sprinkles, from Zebra Girl, comes from an alternate dimension inhabited by cartoon animals (literally; they are the cartoons of the main ZG universe). In the process of saving his dimension, he ends up trapped in Sandra's.
  • Love Me Nice takes place in a Who Framed Roger Rabbit-like world where toons are a whole different species with Rule of Funny bred into the blood (it's apparently regarded as the toon equivalent of nigga behavior, judging by an argument Mac and Claire have on the subject), and cartoons are live productions made with toon actors. There's even a "Toon Quarter" (outside which items like bottomless handbags are contraband), but it's implied to be more like a toon ghetto.
  • The Platypus Comix story True Believers portrays such comic characters as Spider-Man as actual people, and such editors as Joe Quesadilla as both their bosses and their gods (any possible comic-world occurrence they write down instantly happens to the characters).
  • A bizarre example in Sonichu in which Chris-chan inserts photographs of himself to replace his drawn self in order to destroy an evil expy of 4chan... with the power of rock and roll.
  • The premise of Greystone Inn, in which some of the stars of the Show Within a Show are living cartoon characters.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Older Than Television: Winsor McCay's animated short, Gertie the Dinosaur, despite being one of the oldest animated films, successfully used this trope in live performances. McCay set up a projector on a vaudeville stage and interacted with the animated Gertie, commanding her to do tricks, tossing her a pumpkin (he palmed the real one while she caught an animated one), and ending the show by climbing into her mouth and being carried away. All this in 1914. Sheesh!
  • Another early proto-example is the Felix the Cat cartoon Felix Saves the Day. Some scenes use still photographs for Felix to interact with, and some live action film is cut in with the animation, but neither interact together at once.
  • Looney Tunes
    • The cartoon You Ought to Be in Pictures.
    • Bob Clampett's Eatin' on the Cuff ends with a live-action narrator getting his pants eaten by a cartoon moth.
    • Zig-zag: The 1941 cartoon Porky's Pooch used live photographs as backgrounds.
    • The short "The Mouse That Jack Built" features an animated mouse version of Jack Benny running by his real life counterpart.
  • Done in Behind the Scenes segments of the original Woody Woodpecker Show. However, Woody is only shown animated against static photo backgrounds, and is never seen interacting with Lantz or anything else.
  • Even earlier than the original Woody Woodpecker show, Walter Lantz briefly tried this out with an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short, and used this even earlier in his Silent Age Dinky Doodle shorts.
  • Disney's Alice Comedies.
  • Max and Dave Fleischer's Out of the Inkwell shorts. This and the Alice Comedies are especially notable for being one of the first attempts at playing around with animation/live-action blending.
  • Briefly in the opening of Jackie Chan Adventures.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi features an episode in which the live-action J-Pop stars sit on a couch with their animated manager, while the animated versions of the girls wonder who those two women are and who would want to watch them.
  • The Fairly OddParents
  • Infrequently done for comic effect on SpongeBob SquarePants when the characters go on land. In one episode, they were all portrayed as crude puppets. In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, part of the climax even involves SpongeBob and Patrick receiving help from an Adam Westing David Hasselhoff.
  • During the first year of Kids' WB!, the stars of the sitcoms on The WB appeared in promotional spots and bumpers depicting them hanging out at the animated version of the Warner Bros. studio lot (as seen on Animaniacs).
  • Many of Tex Avery's cartoons used live action:
    • TV of Tomorrow has live action for all the televised images.
    • Who Killed Who? starts with an onscreen presenter introducing a murder mystery, and in the end the murderer is unmasked and revealed to be the very same presenter.
    • Señor Droopy ends with Droopy sitting on the lap of '50s actress Lina Romay.
    • In Three Little Pups, the dog-catcher swears he'll "go into television" if his final scheme to catch the dogs doesn't work. It doesn't, and as the cartoon ends he shows up in the (live-action) western the dogs are watching.
  • The Peanuts special It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown has Snoopy's brother Spike becoming infatuated with the live-action title character (played by Charles Schulz's daughter, Jill).
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • The Disney Channel's music video of "It's On", made to promote the Camp Rock 2 movie, in which Phineas and Ferb are periodically depicted dancing with real people who were hired to lipsync to the song.
    • The spin-off Take Two with Phineas and Ferb has the title characters hosting a talk show where they interview real-world celebrities.
  • The Simpsons
    • "Homer³", one of the Three Shorts of "Treehouse of Horror VI" , ends with 3D Homer being transported into the real world (if you can call Los Angeles real). If you pay attention to the people around him, they seem very well aware that the strange, yellow man walking down the sidewalk isn't normal. None of them seem to do anything more than stare, however, and Homer freaking out over being in the real world is cut short when he goes inside an erotic bakery.
    • Also "Treehouse of Horror IX", "The Terror of Tiny Toon", has Bart and Lisa trapped inside a TV with Itchy and Scratchy trying to murder them. At one point Homer changes the channel and they end up ruining a scene for Regis and Kathy Lee (it was originally going to be the FOX legal dramedy Ally McBeal, but Calista Flockhart (the show's star) declined. It does explain why a morning show like Regis and Kathy Lee would air at night).
  • In March of 1959 Cambria Productions came up with the show Clutch Cargo, which used the then cutting-edge idea of combining animated characters with live-action mouths superimposed onto their faces, called "Synchro-Vox", this show had the distinction of horrifying its target audience and inducing more childhood nightmares than H. R. Giger could ever dream of. Cambria struck again a year later with Scott McCloud: Space Angel and also prepared a pilot based on the comic strip Moon Mullins (which did not get optioned as a series). Both used the Synchro-Vox technique.
  • South Park has a two-parter ("Pandemic") featuring giant, real-life guinea pigs "rampaging" through town.
  • In a truly bizarre example of this trope, in the late '40s, when Columbia Pictures was making live action Superman serials, in order to save money on the flight effect, they actually had Superman turn into a cartoon version of himself when he flew!
  • NBC's preview of the Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel shows in 1965 had the titular characters conversing with their creators, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
  • CBS's ill-fated attempt to mimic the Walt Disney anthology series was 1956's CBS Cartoon Theater in which Dick Van Dyke hosted and interacted with Terrytoons characters (who appeared on a TV set).
  • On the 100th episode of Arthur, the segment inbetween the two parts has the animated characters being interviewed by a live Larry King.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Brian Writes a Bestseller", Brian appears on the real set of Real Time with Bill Maher sitting with Maher, Dana Gould, and Ariana Huffington.
    • One segment of "Road to Rupert" was nothing but the scene in Anchors Aweigh (see "Films" above) with Stewie drawn over Jerry.
    • In "Brian's Got a Brand New Bag", Brian mentions to Rita that he had a bit part in Die Hard. It then shows actual footage from the movie with an animated Brian inserted into the clip.
  • The whole premise of Space Ghost Coast to Coast is an animated talk show where Space Ghost would interview live-action people via TV screen.
  • Archie's Fun House shows Archie and friends performing for a live-action audience of children.
  • Similar to the Archie example, the Animaniacs episode "You Risk You Life" had Yakko doing a game show in front of live action people.
  • Sit Down, Shut Up zigzags this trope. The backgrounds are live photographs, but the characters are animated.
  • Robot Chicken
    • Used to insert Playboy model Robin Bain into 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    • A sketch that parodies the Boglins have the creatures themselves as live-action puppets, but the rest of the characters are stop-motion as usual.
  • The opening to NBC's The Pink Panther Show opens with a live-action opening where a kid driving a "Panthermobile" drops the Pink Panther and The Inspector off at Grauman's Chinese Theater. The credits show the Inspector going in and the car drivingaway, leaving the Panther to chase after it.
  • The Japanese version of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic ends their episodes with a Japanese hostess chatting with an (poorly) animated Twilight Sparkle.
  • At one point in Clone High's Mushroom Samba episode, Ghandi is miniaturized and eaten by a (live action) housecat.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has static, heavily-edited photographs for backgrounds and characters that are animated in 2D, CGI, and one character and her family is a live-action puppet (specifically a live-action actor's upside-down chin). However, the live-action actors only appear on in-universe videos and TV shows, never together with animated people, until the Series Finale has a live-action human (seemingly) as the antagonist.
  • A Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids television special made before the Saturday morning series was done in a much more realistic, sketchy character style against live-action backdrops.
  • Zig-zag: The Beatles episode "Paperback Writer" has the cartoon Beatles in concert with photos of their real-life counterparts in the background.
  • The Lingo Show uses this in every episode.
  • In 1968, Hanna-Barbera had The New Adventures of Huck Finn, which had Mark Twain's titular boy protagonist along with Becky Thatcher and Tom Sawyer, all live-action youths, amidst cartoon backgrounds and figures.
  • The Alan segments in Modern Toss feature the titular character, a sort of animated scribble with a face, playing very cruel tricks on his live-action co-stars.
  • The obscure Game Show Skatoony features live-action children competing against toons on an animated quiz show.
  • The earliest Terrytoons from 1930 opened with a silhouetted live-action orchestra performing over an animated background.
  • The 1991 short Manipulation, inspired by the classic Duck Amuck, features the hands of an animator, shown in live-action, manipulating a cartoon man. At the end of the cartoon the animator throws the drawing in the garbage, only for the cartoon man to crawl out of the garbage can.
  • The 1984 National Film Board of Canada short Real Inside satirizes hiring practices by having an animated dog named Buck Boom going for a job interview at an accounting firm.
  • Blue's Clues: Steve is a real human Excited Kids' Show Host who interacts with the green screen animated world around him. All the other characters are animated.
  • Sheep in the Big City had a deliberately misleading trailer that made it look like the show would be a live-action drama with an animated Sheep inserted in.
  • The Scooby-Doo Project had the Scooby-Doo gang interacting in the real world. Shaggy hangs a lampshade on this by pointing out that the woods look more realistic.
  • Muppet Babies (1984) uses footage of live-action movies as a general rule, but in one episode in particular, "The Incredible Shrinking Weirdo", there is a scene where a live-action adult Kermit interacts with an animated Baby Gonzo. A clip from The Muppet Show (Episode 223: John Cleese) was used, with Frank Welker (the voice of Baby Kermit) dubbing new lines for Kermit and with Baby Gonzo matted into the scene.
    • Muppet Babies (2018) doesn't do this as often, but it pops up now and then. "Animal And The Egg" has Animal and Summer try to take care of a baby egg while everyone else looks for the mother. The Muppet Babies, who are CGI, are shown interacting with real life birds.
  • In the Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood book The Helpers in Your Neighborhood (based on an episode that has yet to be released), Daniel Tiger and Dad Tiger venture out of the Neighborhood of Make Believe and meet various real-world helpers, including a construction worker, a mailman and a police officer. They are shown interacting with these people in this manner.note 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Noids And Doodles


How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

"Untitled Fantasy TV Drama"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / RogerRabbitEffect

Media sources:

Main / RogerRabbitEffect