When you think of CGI animated movies, you probably think of Pixar. The studio practically invented the genre with 1995’s Toy Story — the first animated film made using computer-generated images.
After Toy Story, almost all animation studios wanted to follow in Pixar’s successful footsteps, all the way down to their style. Many studios went after “the Pixar look”: extremely high quality, physically based and in some cases almost photo-realistic.
It’s an attractive approach that remains popular at the box office, but animated films started to look a bit homogeneous. And while studios and independent artists tried more stylized approaches in short films, no studio would commit to a full-length animated film that looked too different.
That is, until Sony Pictures/Imageworks recorded it Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Rather than chasing the look everyone was after, the team wanted to create something visually new. They did it with non-photorealistic rendering.
Since then Spider-Verse, non-photorealism has taken off, with almost every studio recording it in the next five years. Watch our video to learn more about how non-photorealism works.
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