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Shifted to CGI

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In the 2000s traditionally-animated works fell out of fashion due to blockbuster hits like the Pixar films and Shrek along with the simplicity of animating in CGI compared to traditional animation. While 2D style animation is popular in France and Japan (though many use CG elements occasionally, and CGI cartoons are also prominent) and amongst televised cartoons (though they're usually produced through digital animation programs like Adobe Flash or Toon Boom), All CGI Cartoons have been rising in popularity over the years, and Western-produced traditionally-animated theatrical films are rare. Thus many series that used to be done in traditional animation have changed to being CGI over the years.

Naturally, this is highly controversial amongst long-time fans and animation buffs. Many people will invariably complain whenever a franchise switches to CGI.


Compare to the Video Game 3D Leap for a video game counterpart where games went from mostly sprites to 3D models.


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  • Zig-zagged with the Energizer Bunny, the American mascot for Energizer Batteries. From 1989 to the early 2000s, the Bunny was a remote-controlled model that ran on the batteries it was advertising. This proved difficult for the company during filming due to how much power the model consumed (40 batteries, all in the drum of the model, were used to power it). In the early 2000's, the Bunny was animated in CGI as part of Energizer's "Do You Have the Bunny Inside?" campaign, in which he would dance inside an Energizer battery. After the campaign ended in the mid-2000's, the remote-controlled model of the Bunny was brought back for commercials. As of the 2010's, the Bunny is animated in full CGI, with an Art Evolution happening in 2016.
  • In 1998 Tony the Tiger, the mascot of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes (Frosties in some countries) cereal, switched from being traditionally animated to being CGI for a while. He was switched back after it was decided he looked better traditionally animated. In the 2010s they revived the concept though.
  • The end card of commercials for the American carpeting company Empire Today featuring their famous Phone Number Jingle was hand-animated from 1984 to 2004 before becoming computer animated starting in 2005.
  • The mascot to Kid Cuisine has switched to being CGI animated.

  • The One Stormy Night film was traditionally animated. The anime series One Stormy Night: Secret Friends, which is a separate adaptation of the books and features Mei as a female, was an All-CGI Cartoon.
  • Shirow Masamune's Appleseed had a one-shot OVA adaptation in 1988, but in 2004 received a new adaptation in the form of CGI. After that, a couple of movies and a 13-episode OVA were released, all of them in CGI too. Sadly, none of them share the story of the original manga.
  • Gantz had an all-CGI movie entitled GANTZ: O which was released in 2016 and focused on the events of the Nurarihyon Seijin arc of the manga.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO is the first CGI Gundam series which is part of the early Universal Century timeline and is set during the One Year War.
  • While previous anime adaptations of Berserk were mostly traditionally animated, Berserk (2016) is mostly in Cel-Shaded 3D with small parts in 2D.
  • The first season of BanG Dream! was animated in 2D by Issen and Xebec. From Season 2 on, it and its Spear Counterpart Argonavis from BanG Dream! are done in full 3D by Sanzigen Animation Studio.
  • Inverted by Haruhi-chan. The first four episodes were animated in CG. Starting with the fifth episode and through to the end of the series, it switched to traditional animation.
  • The first theatrical Lupin III film since 1996,note  Lupin III: The First was widely praised for bringing the characters and cartoony style of the series to 3D CG animation.
  • The original Sailor Moon anime ran in the 90s and was entirely cel animation. Sailor Moon Crystal, on the other hand, used CGI for the soldiers' transformation sequences. The results were fairly divisive, with some praising the technological advances with others deriding the uncanniness of the characters in 3D but with the same anime features.

    Asian Animation 

    Film — Animation 
  • Most of A. Film's 90's and early 2000's movies were 2D, but starting by 2004 they shifted mostly to CGI (pic related in fact, as they're responsible for all Asterix animated movies). Interestingly enough, however, they are still commissioned for 2D animation for other projects; The Red Turtle is a notable recent example.
  • DreamWorks Animation is an entire studio that made the shift. Most of their early hits like The Prince of Egypt and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron were Disney-esque and traditionally animated. With the success of Shrek they stopped making traditionally animated films and refuse to make them anymore. DreamWorks is often considered the reason for the "death" of traditionally animated films in the early 2000s. Notably, however, this wasn't a straight shift: their very first movie released, Antz, was CGI, which was followed by the aforementioned 2D animated movies before the infamous disregard of 2D animation altogether.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • The Disney Animated Canon slowly made the shift. After the underwhelming performance of Treasure Planet and Brother Bear, they declared that Home on the Range will be their last 2D animated film. Their first attempts at All-CGI Cartoon, such as Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons, were not particularly successful though the latter was critically better received than the former. Bolt seemed to break the streak, and starting with Tangled (which was originally to be done in a 2D/3D mix ala Paperman but was changed due to developmental issues) all of their All-CGI Cartoon films are major hits. They made two attempts to return to the 2D animation they used to be famous for, but the lukewarm success of The Princess and the Frog and Winnie the Pooh (2011), paired up with such CGI blockbusters as Frozen (2013) (which was announced as a traditionally animated film but was quickly changed to CGI) and Zootopia, means that we shouldn't expect any 2D Disney films in the near future.
    • As for characters, Ralph Breaks the Internet features the Disney Princess characters (well, those who weren't CGI to begin with) in CGI during a sequence taking place within a Disney-themed website.
  • Blue Sky Studios' The Peanuts Movie was the first CGI Peanuts adaptation. It was done in a non-traditional style that resembles the original comic.
  • After eight traditionally animated films, The Mansions of the Gods was the first Animated Adaptation of the Asterix comics that was entirely made in CGI.
  • Heathcliff: Bad Kitty was an attempt at doing this. It was an All-CGI Cartoon direct-to-video movie about Heathcliff meant to introduce him to newer audiences. It featured Frank Welker (who voices rival Garfield in The Garfield Show) as the voice of Heathcliff. The idea, however, fell through the water. There was a TV show meant to go with the film however it was to be Flash animated, not CG, but that also never came to be.
  • The first three of The Swan Princess films were all traditionally animated. After a Sequel Gap of 14 years, the series was inexplicably revived with The Swan Princess Christmas in 2012. It is completely CGI and features a new voice cast.
  • The traditionally animated Hungarian film Vuk the Little Fox got a 3D CGI sequel called The Fox's Tale several decades later. The poor animation was one of the many reasons the sequel was universally disliked.
  • The two Disney Peter Pan films are traditionally animated while the spinoff series Disney Fairies is CGI.
  • The first Monster High DTV film, as well as early webtoons, were animated in Flash. Starting with the second film, the series shifted to CGI.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run; while the first SpongeBob movie was 2D animation with live-action portions and Sponge Out of Water has a part near the end that has the characters shift to CGI, Sponge on the Run is fully CGI-animated.
  • Postman Pat had a theatrical movie that was animated in CGI. Let's just say that it wasn't as good as the TV series.
  • The third Jungledyret Hugo movie
  • The Happy Heroes movie series started to utilize CGI in 2022 with Happy Heroes 3: The Stones, the previous movies instead being in 2D.

    Web Animation 
  • The original AstroLOLogy shorts were done in Flash while the later prototypes and final products are in CGI.

    Western Animation