I'm talking like The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc. These shows blend 2-D and 3-D together, and are very high quality or "sharp", and they're not manually animated by hand much, if at all.

In some cartoons from several years ago, preferably Ed, Ed, & Eddy, they actually do appear to be animated by hand manually for a degree of it, or pretty much all.

What I want to know is how modern animators do this now. It's not like how they were made in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, where they would literally draw each frame by hand, pretty much, and use radiation to emulsify the pictures on to film stock with sound combined and the like.

Nowadays, I bet they use animation software to automate some of the process, and the characters, i presume, can be digitally-drawn by hand or with another HID device and combined with layers/etc. Could anyone clarify this a bit more though? I've looked around; not much info.

NOTE: I am new, and although I have drawn and animated before, I've only used dated methods, such as Pro Motion 6 and Draw, and found it tedious and tiresome to get much done.

  • Animation is allways tedious. Yes the software can do the tveening for you to some degree.
    – joojaa
    Jan 19, 2015 at 4:24
  • They're shipped to South Korea where they are animated (mostly) by hand--albeit digitally these days in most cases.
    – DA01
    Jan 19, 2015 at 6:26
  • 1
    3D is allways rendered into 2D so you add 3D the same way as you add any other 2D footage.
    – joojaa
    Jan 19, 2015 at 16:46
  • 1
    Not really, as one doesn't draw 3-D animation by hand, even though it's probably possible.
    – Lady Bonar
    Jan 20, 2015 at 5:28
  • 1
    These cartoons may look 2D but they are really made with 3D animation software; it's way faster to create animated cartoon this way. Filters and same camera view are used to give the 2D effect. No they're not animated "by hand." Read @Fluffyninja answer, he's explaining it well and gives the perfect example of South Park that looks totally like a 2D but is made with 3D!
    – go-junta
    Jul 2, 2015 at 8:48

2 Answers 2


There are a number of software suits that are used in the animation industry to assist in 2d animation. Two that are most commonly used and have been used by dozens of big animation studios including Disney and Nickelodeon are Toon Boom Animate and Anime Studio.

Programs like this allow you to break up each model into individual parts - separate limbs and facial features - and animate them using keyframe anmation techniques or traditional frame-by-frame animation. Some programs also include automatic lip-syncing for facial animation.

Alternatively, it is possible to use 2d shaders in 3d animation programs to create an animation that looks 2-dimensional while using 3d models and 3d animation techniques to animate it. South Park, for example, is created in Maya, one of Autodesk's most popular 3d animation software packages. Using this method also makes it easy to blend 2d and 3d animation.


You have to remember that we live in the era of streamable tv/web series. Including but not limited to Bravest Warriors, Bee and PuppyCat, and The Garbage Can Man Show. All these cartoons use Toon Boom Harmony to animate each episode, However Some earlier web series used Adobe flash to animate.

  • 3
    What does streaming have to do with this?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Aug 17, 2017 at 19:37

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