Animation has been around for over a century and has evolved significantly during this phase. Since the release of the first celluloid film in 1888, animation has made its way to film, TV, and every media industry. Now, we see it almost everywhere in our daily life.

The animation we see today doesn’t always look like this. It has changed a lot over different decades, and the form of animation we see today is refined and modified. In this article, we will discuss the different phases of animation and how it has evolved over the years.

Silent Cinema

This era was mainly between the 1900s and 1920, and there were some prominent names in the animation industry during this era.

Stuart Blackton

Stuart Blackton is the founder of the stop-motion technique introduced in his short film Haunted Hotel. He is also famous for his animated series Humorous Phases of Funny Faces, released in 1906.

Emile Cohl is also a prominent name in this era, but he arguably copied Blacton’s style of animated filmmaking. However, he used a simplified stick approach, which was much more manageable and simplified than Blackton’s animations.

The famous Mutt and Jeff and Krazy Kat also belong to this era. The Budding animation industry created it and hired some of the best artists of that era for this task. Later on, this hand-drawn technique was normalized, and many artists and illustrators collaborated to work on different animations.

Winsor McCay

The great cartoonist Winsor McCay is famous for his outstanding works, such as Little Nemo in Slumberland and Gertie the Dinosaur. They are considered a breakthrough in this industry. The main thing McCay added to their films is the continuity and fluidity in the characters’ movements.

Pat Sullivan also took inspiration from McCkay and created the famous cartoon Felix the Cat.

Felix the Cat laid the foundation for all the animal animations that came after it. It was pretty basic – Round head and large eyes. This design is even used to this day.

The Golden Period

The Golden period of animation is considered between the 1930s and 1960s, and the industry significantly evolved.

Disney Movies

Disney, the famous 3D and 2D animation studio, is said to be significantly inspired by Felix the Cat. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, one of the first Disney Animation Studio films, also used the famous Pat Sullivan approach. Also, many people believed that Mickey Mouse was only a successful relaunch of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

However, Disney Animation Studio proved everyone wrong when he released Steamboat Willie in 1928 and brought the element of life to cartoon animations. Later, Disney Animation Studio introduced some other revolutionary techniques, such as technicolor and film music.

Walt Disney later started using the three-plane camera technique in their films. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937, and it was the first animated film released in a proper Hollywood feature film style. The list of blockbuster films by Disney Studios followed after it.

Tex Avery

Warner Bros 3D and 2D animation studio is famous for its overall work for the television and cinema industry. But the rise of Warner Bros cartoon studio was after the joining of the renowned animator Tex Avery. Avery knew how to spot talented individuals and worked with his team to create some famous animated television series.

Daffy Duck, Tweety, A Wild Hare, Wile E. Coyote, and Sylvester were among the famous television cartoons that Warner Studios released with the help of Tex Avery.

Television Age

This was the time when animation was not only limited to cinema but came to every home worldwide. After World War 2, televisions came to homes and were considered essential to daily household items.

Now, it was time to create animations for television screens. The primary demand was to provide good, family-friendly entertainment, and all the studios in America and worldwide started working on this goal.

Nickelodeon and Disney made some of the best television shows in the mid-80s. Flintstones became the first show to air on American Television in prime time. Adult animated sitcoms also gained quite an audience in America. The Simpsons were the most famous ones in this domain.

Current Era

If we talk about the current era, we have revolutionized a lot. In 2D animation, we saw a lot of changes between the mid-1980s and 2010s. The evolution between the 1900s and 1980s was less eventful than between the 1980s and the current era.

The hand-drawn era became obsolete, and now it is the time for CGI and computer animation. We see animations everywhere we go. Our world is filled with animation, and we expect it to grow even more.

2D animation services providers and 2D animation studios have become much more common than before. This is all because of the increased demand for 2D animation services. From Logos to intros, everything is animated now, and we have replaced the text with 2D animations.


What is the last hand-drawn animated Disney film?

The last hand-drawn animated film released by Disney Animation Studio was Princess And The Frog, released in 2009.

Has animations evolved in cartoons that aired on television?

Yes, there has been a significant shift in the animation quality of animated TV shows. You can observe this more in shows on-air for a long time, such as The Simpsons or Spongebob.


Animation is a forever-evolving industry, and we can’t imagine its growth in the future. From being hand-drawn to digitalized, the evolution of animation has seen many phases. If you own a business and are not using animation, you will be considered outdated or old.

If you want to gain more clients or sell more, then you should focus on using animations in your daily and everyday marketing campaigns. Prolific Studios is a great 2D and 3D animation services provider that creates high-quality designs and animations for clients at reasonable and justified prices.