Animations Before and After Flash

With everyone dying to start using the latest version of the latest program to animate it is also important to consider the fact that not all technological innovations necessarily mean that the end product will be improved. Much discussion has been done surrounding the topic as to whether Flash is a good program for animating. And while it undoubtedly can be used at a professional level, it should also be noted that many times it has been used to cut corners and those using it have a tendency to forget about many of the basic principles of Animation. As the father of a toddler I often turn on Nick Jr to get a moment of peace. The first time I had watched it in over 15 years I was astonished to see how terrible many of the animated series had become.

A glaring example of this would be the PBS show Arthur which switched to Flash in the 16th season. Take a look at the two videos below and compare them for yourself. The changes are obvious and it boggles my mind that some higher up thought that using flash would be an improvement over the previous seasons (of which there had already been many).

Season 1

Season 16 (Flash)

It’s pretty easy to see that the quality of the animation suffered greatly after they decided to turn to flash. When I was growing up my favorite show was called “The Mysterious Lost Cities of Gold” (mainly because I was obsessed with the Aztecs) and compare this against my new most hated theme song in the world. The Dreaded “Dora the Explorer” where young children learn to memorize completely useless information.

Mysterious Lost Cities of Gold (new music added) 1982

Dora The Explorer 2010


So no. You’re not just being nostalgic for your cartoons. While some people can utilize the benefits of new technology. There are also those that want to churn out as much crap as fast as they can, to make as much money as they can. But don’t despair. Just as always there are innovative young animators who are taking advantage of the benefits of flash and making great material. It’s just that the ease of use of the program, combined with an inability to integrate qualities of older animations into Flash has created a lot of awful flash animations which permeate youtube. For that reason I’ll leave you with a video of someone who can actually use flash in an interesting and new way. Oh what’s that? You don’t see any vectors? Well, maybe that’s because they’re hideous in animations 😀