When it comes to animation, there are a lot of purists that are increasingly disgusted with the prevalence of computer generated animation over that of 2D, hand drawn cel animation. It is indeed something of a dying art form, unfortunately, only reserved for certain television shows and select films at this point. It is much more common in foreign cinema, with computer animation dominating much of the output of films at the North American box office. There are other styles in existence as well, such as Flash computer animation which is essentially a mix of the two and the incredibly time consuming clay animation, but there’s no doubting that traditional hand drawn and 3D computer animation are the most ubiquitous and widely recognized.
Many people wonder why hand drawn animation is losing favor. In reality, it all comes down to economics. It’s much more expensive to focus on hand drawn animation since it’s so immensely time consuming. In traditional animation productions such as those that were responsible for the classic Disney films of old, dozens upon dozens of drawings had to be created for every single second of the film. One animator usually focused on the key frames of a specific character, whereas others filled in the frames between. Many other artists were then responsible for inking, coloring, painting backgrounds, and so on. The process of then putting it all together was also quite laborious.
While still expensive and quite time consuming, it’s overall more financially viable to animate a film with 3D models these days. You can create your characters once and then move them about as needed. That’s something of an over simplification of course, but it’s definitely more forgiving on time than having to literally recreate the character over and over for every single frame of the film as with hand drawn animation.
Regardless of which is preferred or why you see so little of hand drawn animation now, there needs to be more appreciation for both overall. The big studios with all of the money should be more willing to fund the occasional hand drawn animated feature if the subject matter would benefit from that elegant touch, and the purists could also stand to accept that there’s still plenty of artistry in the computer animation from studios such as Pixar. Regardless of where you happen to fall, it’s good that animation is still alive and well in some form or another.