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Sugar Wiki / Awesome Art
aka: Awesome Animation

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"A lot of people say art should make you feel something. I don't feel like that's true, I feel like art should just kinda look cool."

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.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Blue Flag is praised for its style, that milks out as much as it can of the characters' expressions, letting a lot clear without having to say anything, and its beautiful panel composition.
  • Junji Ito. He can make just about anything awesomely horrific. Here, look at this cute kitten!
  • 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.
  • The Hellsing Ultimate OVAs 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 thing 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 Eiichiro 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 Pokemon battles from Masaaki Iwane's animation team tend to be the best in the series.
  • The Garden of Sinners. Just look at this image. 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. Kentaro Miura puts so much gorgeous, beautiful detail into every scene, from epic battles, to love scenes, characters, and facial expressions.
  • Mononoke: Stylized and more colorful 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 wooden animations, which certainly haven't aged too well in comparison to the otherwise well-designed in-game models.
  • Wolf's Rain has probably some of the best animation of wolves you'll find in anime.
  • ∀ 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, the 2011 Hunter × Hunter adaptation, and Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • PandoraHearts. 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.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Like the manga that influenced it, JoJo features incredible amounts of detail backed up by the fabulous character designs and unique fight scenes. Hirohiko Araki's constantly-evolving art style also allows each part of the manga to define and redefine its own distinctive appearance as the story goes on, while still retaining the same basic characteristics of what many consider to be the definite JoJo look.
  • Maken-ki!: Even if you don't care about the story (which is pretty engrossing, btw), you can easily find yourself reading it for the manga's artwork alone. It features detailed backgrounds and anime style character designs right from the start, but from chapter 16 onwards, it. Gets. BETTER.'''
  • Tsutomu Takahashi (author of Skyhigh, Jiraishin, and Sidooh) is an extremely skilled draftsman with a very distinct, sketchy style of inking that's gorgeous to look at. While he does have a bit of an Only Six Faces problem at times with the more attractive characters, he averts it with everyone else, firmly placing them in Cast of Snowflakes territory. He has a knack for drawing vivid and powerful facial expressions, a lot of which will scare you.
  • The Genocyber OVAs use some incredibly slick animation and the sheer amount of detail maintained in it's Gorn and Ludicrous Gibs is truly staggering. They basically turn bloodbath's into an artform.
  • Dragon Ball: The art itself was consistently awesome and way ahead of its time, but the recently released full color version of the manga is proof Akira Toriyama's art is like red wine: it gets better with age. From the famous battles, famous transformations, famous scenery and just awesome art in general, you really wouldn't think this manga is more than thirty years old.
  • Naruto really stepped up the art for the latter chapters. The end of Chapter 669 shows off how detailed Kishi can make the art. Chapter 671 is made of this, with the color pages being downright artistic, and then Kishi keeps the train going with a two page spread looking like an old style Japanese ink painting.
  • Attack on Titan has a unique art-style and is full of detailed and realistic-looking backgrounds and scenery.
  • Belladonna of Sadness is filled with beautiful paintings and occasionally beautiful animation. Take a look at some of it.
  • Angel Sanctuary. Wonderful character designs, lots of Fanservice, and a ridiculously awesome art book that's not only large and exquisitely detailed, but IN COLOR.
  • Vagabond is probably one of the most technically impressive comics of all time. Every character has a detailed, realistic design that remains consistent no matter the angle, facial expressions are vivid and striking, the backgrounds are lush and detailed, Inoue's brushstrokes are vivid and full of life, and it just gets better and better as time goes on.
  • The Animated Adaptation of Sunday Without God has grandiose lighting, Ghibli Hills that would make the actual Studio Ghibli proud and character designs that just perfectly fit into it all. The covers of the Light Novel, as seen on its page, are just as beautiful. Just take a look at the opening here.
  • Yusuke Murata's catalog in general. Either Eyeshield 21 or his redrawn version of One-Punch Man. Not only the man can give life to ONE's somewhat crude artwork, he can give it movement that looks straight out of a an anime.
  • Inio Asano, although he gets a lot of flack for incorporating (his own) photos into his backgrounds, definitely deserves mention. His characters are often still incredibly detailed and vivid — especially in Oyasumi Punpun — and you can't argue with the results.
  • Vinland Saga boasts realistic and varied character designs, very dynamic fight scenes, and an attention to detail that truly brings the manga's era and story to life.
  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: Say what you will of the weak story or flat characters, Kabaneri boasts some of the best character designs seen in recent anime history, if not some of the best in anime history. to see it in motion look here
  • High School Dx D: Miyama Zero's llustrations of the novels have very high quality art and they are gorgeous.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Kohei Horikoshi's art is absolutely detailed and dynamic.
    • The anime has amazing animation, specially when it comes to battles.
  • Space Dandy: Considering who made it, this is a given. But it goes doubly so as most episodes have a different art director, and sometimes the style becomes very different. You never know what you are gonna get.
  • D.Gray-Man, especially in the latest chapters.
  • Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun: The manga's art is absolutely gorgeous, with almost every page being a piece of art in its own right. The anime isn't anything less either, with rich and lavish coloring in every single scene. In fact, besides the compelling story, the unique art is one of the series' major charms and has attracted a lot of fans.
  • A lot of the animation and backgrounds in the Tamagotchi theatrical films and TV show are really well done and nice to look at. It helps that they're all animated by OLM Incorporated, who have also animated the similarly fluid Pokémon: The Series.
  • Dragon Goes House-Hunting has a very detailed artwork that's almost painting-like while still allowing for dynamic expressions.
  • The art of the manga for Moriarty the Patriot is incredible, with not only appealing character designs but fascinating visual effects and covers.

    Asian Animation 
  • The animation in Lamput is really fluid and nice to look at. It's often regarded as a shining example of Indian cartoons.

  • 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.
  • Giotto deserves his due as the Trope Maker for renaissance painting and fresco. See the huge program of frescos in the Scrovegni Chapel, completed 1305.
  • Michelangelo Buonarotti was so awesome that he made David, the most famous nude male figure in history, out of a flawed block of marble that nobody thought could be salvaged. Did we mention he spent years making the giant frescos on the sistine chapel ceiling?
  • Gian Lorenzo Bernini is considered the greatest of baroque sculptors because of his marvelous ability to make marble figures seem alive and moving. ''Apollo and Daphne depicts Daphne's metamorphosis into a tree as she flees the advances of Apollo, her soft flesh turning to bark and her delicate fingers sprouting leaves.
  • Every and anything that was ever made by Leonardo da Vinci, including his cartoons and notebooks, but a few highlights are The Last Supper, The Mona Lisa, and Madonna Of The Rocks.
  • 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.
  • Ikeda Manabu does some pretty fricking gorgeus spreads. Heres a few examples.
  • North America: Portrait of a Continent by Anton Thomas is a pictorial map absolutely packed to the gills with detail that depicts the eponymous continent with an impeccable eye for accuracy. You'll probably never look at North America the same way again.

    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.
  • The Goon has some very impressive art by Eric Powell that becomes more and more complex as the title went on, it is incredibly detailed and fits perfectly with Powell's writing.
  • Ethan Van Sciver's art is amazingly detailed and kinetic, his creator owned comic Cyberfrog shows him at his best.
  • The Maxx has weird and wonderful visuals by Sam Keith which compliments the series' strange but enjoyable tone.
  • Todd McFarlane has a very cool and gritty looking art style that works well with the dark tone of Spawn''.
  • 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.
  • One of several reasons that Watchmen is considered one of the greatest (if not THE single greatest) graphic novels of all time (and one of the reasons why its esteemed creator) considers it impossible to film is because nothing could ever come close to the insane amount of vivid and realistic — but still colorful and vibrant — detail, Easter Eggs, visual symbolism, and important foreshadowing that Dave Gibbons manages to squeeze into every last panel of every last page. See for yourself.
  • 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.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) had some pretty epic art in the earlier stories, and continued to feature a decent amount up until its cancellation in 2017.
    • The current Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) series' artwork is just as great, if not more so, with several former Archie Sonic artists returning along as some newcomers. The artwork of Adam Bryce Thomas, Promoted Fangirl Evan Stanley, and longtime veteran Tracey Yardley tends to stand out the most, but in general the artwork is spectacular no matter who does it. Among the new additions to the art staff, Aaron Hammerstrom stands out, with his artwork on some issue covers offering fan service galore with throwbacks to earlier Sonic games.
  • 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".
  • Alex Ross, whose photo-realistic painting style gives an extra grandeur to superhero comics, making even the daftest costumes look both realistic and awesome. This is most particularly shown in his probable magnum opus, the suitably epic Kingdom Come.
    • Same goes for Gabriele Dell'Otto, whose drawing style is also that of photorealistic paintings.
  • Dave McKean's work in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth is by far the most Creepy Awesome art in Batman.
  • Steve Ditko. From the gritty streets of Spider-Man's New York to the trippy landscapes of Doctor Strange... the man could draw.
  • And over at DC in the Silver and Bronze Ages we have Curt Swan, Gil Kane, and Joe Kubert.
  • Yuko Shimizu's covert art for The Unwritten is consistently the most beautiful thing on the stands. The most amazing part is that she manages adapt to a large variety of different styles to reflect the type of story the book is telling.
  • Disney's counterpart to Alex Ross might well be Carl Barks, although in his case the "photorealistic painting" style only applies to his... well, actual paintings (the regular panels he did for comics are usually pretty standard).
  • James Jean's cover art for Fables was striking, emotive and haunting, that series artist Mark Buckingham would incorporate some images into the interiors. He also won 6 consecutive Eisner Awards for Best Cover Artist, the most of any artist so far.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight: While the writing of the comic is of varying quality, the artwork is stunningly beautiful. Every page and panel is drawn with love and care and is ridiculously detailed, and while the first issue had very good artwork by itself, it has gotten better and more intricate with every subsequent issue.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws: Say what you will about the story, you'll keep coming back for the pretty pictures. And while Rocafort eventually left the book for Superman, new artist Timothy Green II is no slouch himself.
  • 2000 AD has had some pretty impressive artists:
    • Brian Bolland's work from the early-mid 1980s could be mistaken for something that was drawn today.
    • Colin Macniel, especially when he paints: His art for America'' is just one example.
    • Greg Staples' album Dark Justice was painted entirely by hand, a process which took two years to complete. The result is essentially a photo-realistic action thriller, probably the closest to seeing the Dark Judges on the big screen.
    • Frazer Irving is a master at using black/white only art, expertly using light, darkness, and shadows for contrast.
  • Juango Guarnido's Blacksad. For example
  • Jim Lee. His work on the New 52 is truly a sight to behold, especially in Justice League and Superman Unchained.
  • David Finch is not to be underestimated in the art department; just look at his work in Batman: The Dark Knight and Wonder Woman.
  • Mitch Gerads' tense, paranoid, and unsettling work on Mister Miracle (2017) is chillingly gorgeous: colorful but not cheery, realistic but not distracting, strained but somehow effortless, faithful to Jack Kirby's work but still totally distinct.
  • Amoras also qualifies for this list. To give an example.
  • Hergé's art is both dynamic, colorful and clear to read.
  • Uderzo's work in the Asterix books, very detailed and colorful (in spite of him being colorblind!), even in scenes with lots of characters or big environments.
  • Franquin's artwork, despite being fairly cartoonish in style, is always dynamic, detailed to the nth degree and vibrant.
  • J.H. Williams III's art for things like The Sandman: Overture, Batwoman, and Promethea is the modern incarnation of someone like William Blake. No one else in the business can do art so simultaneously realistic, bizarre, and beautiful.
  • Obscure Russian comic Skunk and Ocelot deserves some mention.
  • The Ultimates: Bryan Hitch's knack for realism and talent for "widescreen" panels make the reader feel like he/she is watching a big budget action movie on in a comic book. Coupled with Mark Millar's gritty and cynical deconstruction style of writing, is it any wonder the first two volumes are so fondly remembered?
  • While the quality of Sin City's art itself is pretty contentious, it's a fairly unanimous agreement that Frank Miller's work with negative space is at its peak strength in Sin City, creating a memorable visual style that shows why, for all his faults, Miller is considered the pro he is in the medium.
  • Grzegorz Rosiński's art for Thorgal is widely praised for its detail and aesthetic. The covers of some albums like "Beyond The Shadows" and "Louve" deserve special mentions.

    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, especially in its Sunday strips and during Calvin's more imaginative escapades. There are many creative designs, and the usage of color (For those that have color, of course) is fantastic. The background art in particular is very pleasing to look at.
    • So much so, in fact, that Bill Watterson briefly came out of retirement so he could contribute to a week of strips for Pearls Before Swine. Everyone in the strip agreed that his art was superior to anything that Pearls creator Stephan Pastis could come up with, including Pastis himself.
  • 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.
  • Prince Valiant. Hal Foster's art is considered the strip's strongest point.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the oldest feature-length animation movie still existing. And it is a glorious cutout movie with over 1600 unbelievably detailed figures that — up to this day — are mind-boggling in their beauty and fluidity.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Luca's animation is not only expressive, but it (and the posters seen in-universe) have a nice retro Art Deco feel to them.
  • Disney Animated Canon. People think All Animation Is Disney for a reason.
    • Fantasia came out only twelve years after Steamboat Willie, but it's hard to believe Disney animation could've advanced that much in such a short time, from jittery black-and-white with scratchy music and simple sound-effects, to lush, smooth full color and multi-channel stereo.
    • Bambi and its sequel (yes there is one) deserve a mention.
    • Any film with Mary Blair's influence: The Three Caballeros, Song of the South, Melody Time, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.
    • Sleeping Beauty is definitely a great example with Eyvind Earle's influence all over it.
    • 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.
    • Aladdin: Gorgeously stylized character and background designs (influenced by Persian miniatures and Al Hirschfeld's caricatures), and perhaps the most extensive use of prismatic (ultra-saturated) colors in feature animation history.
    • The Lion King. Especially the opening sequence and the wildebeest stampede.
    • Pocahontas: Say what you will about the plot and the writing, but you can't deny, the design of this film — both the characters (especially Pocahontas herself) and the backgrounds — is drop-dead gorgeous.
    • 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. Tarzan garnered a Midquel a few years later which, despite being Direct to Video, had visuals of almost the exact same level.
    • 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 (2013) 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 Animation:
  • Illumination Entertainment:
    • The French feel and influence of the animation and character designs in Illumination's films (Illumination Mac Guff is in France, even though Illumination's headquarters are in Santa Monica, California) are very appealing.
    • Sing: The animation in Sing is easily the best that Illumination has to offer. There are a variety of animals, from mammals, to reptiles, amphibians, fish, penguins, etc. The characters are very expressive and the backgrounds, like the Los Angeles-like city setting and the choreography in the final performances are breathtaking.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler. The animation is amazing to look at - no matter if the imposed plot and voiceovers are underwhelming - showing why Richard Williams spent years working in the movie.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars, both the distinctive original trilogy, and the prequels\sequels which used cutting-edge computer graphics to make worlds as beautiful as possible.
  • 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 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.

  • 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.
  • The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy is (in)famous for its terrifyingly awesome illustrations by Stephen Gammel. They are amazingly detailed and horrifyingly surreal. The stories themselves are hit-or-miss, but every picture is guaranteed to give you nightmares.
  • Similar to the above, the Goosebumps series owes a big part of it's success to the iconic cover art by Tim Jacobus. Whether it's tough-looking lizard aliens hanging out in a phone booth, or a boy with a Bee's body, each cover is beautifully unnerving and surreal, all in gorgeous, psychedelic colors. Whether the story is good or not, you'll still be tempted to open the book based on the art alone.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Citadels has some truly excellent art, particularlly on the various district cards.

    Vanity Plate 

    Video Games 
  • Lumino City is a stunning puzzle game with a bright, colorful visual style that's literally built by hand out of paper, cardboard and various bits and bobs of mixed media. Only a few elements, such as the characters, appear to be CGI.
  • Etrian Odyssey IV, Untold 1 and 2 have gorgeous artwork, with the latter two succesfully enhancing the visuals of the respective first two games in the series. Most notable in the first stratum of the first game, and the fourth stratum of the second game. This is carried over in the games released since then, with Beyond the Myth having gorgeous locations like Tutelary Forest and Untamed Garden, and Nexus having not only visually-improved dungeons from IV and the Untold games once again, but also giving an exceptional treatment to the designs of the strata from The Drowned City (which is sadly the only game from the original Nintendo DS that was never remade like the other two were).
  • Yoji Shinkawa's art for the Metal Gear is instantly recognizable because his ukiyo-e-esque style. His work is very stylized and abstract, yet still technically accurate. Some of the most gorgeous cover art you'll see out there.
  • Retro Studios of Metroid Prime Trilogy and Donkey Kong Country Returns/Tropical Freeze 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. The concept art for the 3D games, such as this one for Sonic Forces, look like they belong to a museum.
  • Amongst Run-and-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.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, not only does each character potrait sport the fighters in a dynamic pose with vastly improved textures from previous games, but the official box art used to promote the game is an astonishing, panoramic mural that includes every character in the game, and marks the first time the box art for a smash game was hand-drawn since the original.
  • The dev-team of the high-profile Fan Game Super Smash Flash 2 goes above and beyond with its high-quality custom sprite work. Each fighter that was in Super Smash Bros. has had their appearance faithfully recreated in pixel form, and the ones that weren't fit in seamlessly. Of course, the stages continue this standard of quality as well.
  • While the character art from Touhou Project 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 '90s 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 its 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.
  • Child of Light is not only powered by the same engine that brought us the visuals shown in Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends, but also has an art style that lends to a presentation not unlike a moving picture book, leading to some absolutely breathtaking shots.
  • Wario Land: Shake It! was a 2D platformer... with hand-drawn, anime-style graphics and cinematics by Production I.G.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jet Set Radio is responsible for bringing Cel Shading to the mainstream in video games. No other game at the time of its release looked anything like it; the sharp shadows and thick outlines around character models made the game look like a slick, stylized anime come to life.
  • The World Ends with You is no slouch in this department. The art direction and character designs are incredibly stylized, with thick outlines and the right amount of shading to help make the environment feel even more lively, giving the game a very pleasing comic book like aesthetic that still holds up even to this day.
  • 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.
  • Granblue Fantasy has absolutely amazing background art of its lovingly-crafted world, as well as many very impressive character arts.
  • 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.
  • Dragon Ball Fighterz is made by Arc System Works (see Guilty Gear and BlazBlue above) using the Unreal Engine in the same way as Guilty Gear Xrd, which fits Akira Toriyama's art style like a glove; the game looks very much like an anime come to life.
  • Anything on the Gambryo engine used most notably by Bethesda from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on through the remaining TES and into Fallout 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.
  • Fallout 4 provides an excellent demonstration of Bethesda's Creation Engine. Compared to Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, the game is much more colorful and vibrant while still maintaining its haunting post-apocalyptic aesthetic. In addition, characters are animated much more fluidly than in previous game, helping most of the people of the game world climb out of the Uncanny Valley.
  • 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. Breath of the Wild takes it even further, showing a visual style that offers many beautiful landscapes that can easily remind people of the scenery seen in Studio Ghibli films.
  • 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. Yes, more than the 1000+ frames of the above mentioned BlazBlue.
  • 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.
    • Its predecessor, Chrono Trigger for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, was no slouch, either. Nintendo knew what it was doing with the pixel art for this one. Every animation is beautifully done and the game looks like it could have come out yesterday.
  • Two words: Kazuma. Kaneko. Regardless of whether it's his Shin Megami Tensei I or II early cyberpunk style, his Persona style (which, admittedly has some minor growing pains, but is still fantastic in it's own right) or his Persona 2 onwards artstyle, it is impossible to go wrong with him.
  • 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 has very meticulously detailed and colored hand drawn graphics.
  • The in-game posters of War of the Monsters are so bad it's glorious. Have a few examples here, here, and here.
  • The art style of Rain World is absolutely gorgeous and gives the right sense of an abandoned industrial environment and contrasts it with good animation and colorful inhabitants.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: The game is entirely hand drawn. With the way everything moves, it's like a painting come to life.
  • Cuphead used traditional hand-drawn cel-animation and is inspired by the 1930s cartoons, especially the Fleischer Brothers. This is one reason that the game won Best Art Direction at The Game Awards 2017, as well as Best Independent Game and Best Debut Indie Game.
  • Hollow Knight, which is made even more impressive when you know that it was done by a team of just three people. The dark but serene environments, background art and character designs are all beautifully done. It's made more gorgeous to look at by the animations and cinematic cutscenes, which look like something out of a full-length animated movie or a cartoon series.
  • The indie Magical Girl Warrior strategy RPG game I=MGCM has stunning visuals, especially the 2D CGs and the opening animation. The character art is well-made, its themes are vivid. This game has cool UIs like Persona 5, and it gives you some Promare and Muse Dash vibes too! This includes the Visual Effects of Awesome from some heroines' attack animations.
  • League of Legends has incredibly detailed animation, splash art, and login screens. Of particular note is the K/DA music video with amazing lighting effects and coordination.
  • Persona 5 is well known for having an extremely stylish and awesome art style, from its character portraits to the UI, even making what would otherwise be mundane option and shop menus extremely appealing to look at without sacrificing practicality. It's to the point where the battle menu itself underwent Memetic Mutation because it's simply that cool looking. Special mention goes to the "finishing touch" splash screens that display if an All Out Attack successfully kills every enemy during a battle, unique for each party member.
  • The entire Castlevania franchise after Ayami Kojima took over. Starting with Symphony of the Night, she delivered both gorgeous concept and in-game art, which kept strong for many of its sequels. Ayami Kojima's style, with its angelic faces and grotesque forms, and landscapes full of meticulous detail, has become synonymous not only with the franchise, but with Gothic Horror itself.
  • BioShock and its sequel combine Art Deco with Diesel Punk, and are thus set in a gorgeous-looking Underwater City stuck in the mid-20th century, with the broken and defaced environments only helping the atmosphere. Bioshock Infinite goes a different way that's equally impressive on its visuals, a brightly-lit floating city straight out of The Gilded Age.
  • While Mighty No. 9's in-game visuals has been criticized for its lackluster 3D graphics and the fire effects has been a subject of ridicule due to Deep Silver's infamous "Masterclass" trailer, if there's something even some of the game's detractors can admit, is that the game's art looks amazing. The game's official artworks and concept art by KIMOKIMO evokes a style that is strikingly colorful yet retains the cartoony feel of the classic Mega Man series, and even Keiji Inafune's earlier sketches for the game proves that his artistic talents hasn't gone rusty. These are just a few examples.

    Web Animation 
  • Dead Fantasy, Haloid and Red vs. Blue all feature the work of Monty Oum, and all happen to be paragons of Awesome Animation. Monty proceeded to surpass himself with his final series, RWBY.
  • RWBY has this and Awesome Animation, given this is Monty Oum. Each episode in later volumes ends with proudly shown concept artwork of the characters that were most prominent in that episode, and that's not saying anything about the superb animation quality in the fight scenes, and in general in later volumes.
    • Volume 2 was for a while using Awesome Fan Art for the closing credits. This came to a close after Volume 3, what with more happening in each episode and many more artists for the crew to afford picking and choosing from.
  • Rosto and his series Mind My Gap. A mixed medium "graphic novel".
  • Nazo Unleashed, which takes advantage of awesome animation to deliver a high "Holy Shit!" Quotient.
  • Daria Cohens The Vampair Series has beautifully illustrated, fluid animation that syncs up with the music perfectly. Even more amazing when you know it was all made by the one animator.
  • Super Mario Bros. Z has ridiculously impressive battle scenes.
  • Not enough good things can be said about the TIE Fighter Fanime, a passion project done at home by a professional animator. Every frame is done by hand, the vision and sense of direction is excellent, and a clear love of both the art and the subject comes through at all times. See it for yourself.
  • Medium Awareness takes all new form in Animator vs. Animation. The concept of stick figures throwing down on a computer desktop has never seen such creativity and fluidity.
  • Dear Rabbit: The artist is good at drawing wolves and rabbits. They're realistic enough yet still have an anthropomorphic, slightly cartoony look to them.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Many cartoons of the 1930s, 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 30s 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 Adobe Flash and boasts some absolutely breathtaking scenes. Just take a look at the scene from the First episode.
  • 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 Toyama).
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars has an art style (along with brilliant character designs and high quality CGI animation) that looks very visually appealing in addition to being realistic, beautifully detailed yet stylized, and animesque.
  • 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 beautifully detailed backgrounds, in particular the cityscapes.
  • John Kricfalusi's The Ren & Stimpy Show. Finally after a long mainstream absence since the 1950s (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". Ren & Stimpy "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 90s when they only had Windows 3.1, the first version of Windows to work with, and still maintained a high level of quality which 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:
  • 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
  • Black Dynamite .has some of the absolute best animation to every grace Adult Swim. The character designs are very stylized and detailed and the fights scenes are something to behold. Special mention goes to both the intros, the second of which is animation by Studio Trigger.
  • Samurai Jack which has incredibly fluid animation, and a cinematic style meant to evoke anime and Akira Kurosawa films, with geometric character designs and impressionistic/abstract backgrounds which really push the artists to use colour. Here's an example.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan which managed to combine the flat, hand-drawn animation style of Dexter's Laboratory with 3D elements and make it look absolutely beautiful.
  • Genndy Tartakovsky's latest animated series, Primal, has absolutely stunning backgrounds and incredibly fluid animation where everyone have an actual sense of weight. This makes all the Gorn and fight scenes all the more intense and impactful.
  • 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 described as a massive Sugar Bowl of awesomeness.
  • The Adventure Time title cards look like high-price paintings.
  • 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 the Hedgehog (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. Not too surprising, considering it was made by the late Chris Reccardi and Lynne Naylor, who used to work on Ren and Stimpy.
  • 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 video game 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.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: Not only does the show's character designs are a unique blend of Rubber hose animation of the 1930s and UPA, but both the title cards and the stylized, minimalist backgrounds are lovingly done in Art Deco. Plus, the show's constant color shifts in certain lighting conditions is nothing sort of splendid.
  • 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 Color 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, and this one in particular) 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 crude and vulgar tone.
  • The Loud House: The backgrounds look just like they came right out of a 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 looks 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.
  • Anything produced by (W)Holesome Products, Inc., most notably Life With Loopy and Phantom Investigators. The studio's main forte is blending stop-motion animation, live-action, and puppetry together, giving their shows and shorts a very artistic and unique look that set themselves apart from many other cartoons. Life With Loopy had some wonderful, imaginative character designs for the stop-motion characters and hand puppets, as well as having great stop-motion animation. Phantom Investigators managed to set the bar even higher, with more detailed designs to the sets and puppets, and even better animation as it didn't have the same budgetary and technical limitations as Loopy.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has to be one of most imaginative series in Cartoon Network's lineup. Courtesy of the network's European studio, the show is a potpourri of various individual art styles, from hand drawn to Claymation to hand-puppets to 8-bit to CGI to even live-action, and they mesh together beautifully, even in moments where one would be led to believe otherwise, even complimenting each other most of the time. Here's the show's full intro just to give you a flavor of what to expect from the series. Oh, and it only gets better with each passing season.
  • One of the more widely-praised aspects of Spider-Man Unlimited is its comic-inspired visual style.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: While the original webcomic was already beautifully drawn in its own right, the art and animation teams behind the series takes Sechrist's artstyle even further to make the environments even more stunning.
  • Glitch Techs: The show is beautifully colorful and vibrant, the animation is very smooth and fluid, and the geometric art style sports some highly appealing designs.
  • The Dragon Prince: Jittery frame rate in season 1 aside, the backgrounds, lighting, and landscape shots look absolutely spectacular.
  • Olan Rogers' Final Space:
    • The series is very fluid in its style and the design of the background and the characters itself.
    • The space backgrounds are all photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Although it had clunky animation in the earliest episodes, over time the lighting and shading became much better. There is also a lot of detail put into the character renders. For example, astute viewers will notice the stitching pattern on Mindy's bear hat, and her pigtails move and bounce with the slightest adjustment of her head. Standouts include the Milky Way song in "A Visit to the Planetarium", which has gorgeous colors and bouncy, expressive character animation that would make Tex Avery proud, and There's No Planet Like My Planet from "Back to Bortron 7", which makes great use of Queer Colors.note 
  • Looney Tunes Cartoons. After its predecessor caught flack for its flatter art-style, this series returned to the roots of the original shorts with fluid, zany animation and gorgeous backgrounds. The character designs also look just like the shorts from the early-to-mid-1940s (particularly, those of Bob Clampett's shorts).
  • Rocko's Modern Life boasts brilliant character designs, delightfully wacky and rubbery backgrounds (which ignores parallel lines to attain great stylistic effect), and highly expressive animation.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants (it's a given, being animated by Rough Draft Studios and having taken a few stylistic pages from The Ren & Stimpy Show, mentioned above). The backgrounds are all hand-painted and detailed, to gorgeous effect. The characters also have highly appealing designs and fluid movement, also lending themselves well to going intentionally Off-Model. This is especially noticable in Seasons 9B onwards, where the animation, while always fluid, is moreso than ever before. The close-up shots also have brilliant hand-painting similar to the backgrounds.

Alternative Title(s): Awesome Animation


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