CalArts Style Is Here To Stay

CalArts style is a unique style that animators use. The definition of CalArts style has changed over the years and is often referred to as thin-line animation.  

CalArts style is when thin-line animation is used. Thin-line animation is when thinner lines, rounder shapes, and noodle-like appendages are used.

One of the reasons it is different from other animation types is its use of shapes and colors. Yet, the shapes and colors shown in this style are generic with their large heads, small bodies, and eyes that look like saucers. 

Another reason why this style is unique is due to the emergence of anime-influenced western animators and cartoonists. This may have caused them to turn their attention to less detail and a simple design.

Due to an economic downturn in the 2010s, a need for cheaper animation was created. CalArts style was more affordable and has remained the preferred option in animation. 

calarts style examples

CalArts’ thin lines in an image flicker and disappear sometimes depending on the angle and motion. During the late 2010s, the term CalArts style was used by animator John Kricfalusi as an insult. 

At the time, it was shown on a blog by John. He wanted to mock the animation style. An animator was taught the technique who attended the California Institute of Arts. John is a former animator and was responsible for creating the iconic animated show, The Ren & Stimpy Show.

calarts style gravity falls examples

The style has been used in shows such as Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, and Over The Garden Wall. Adventure Time is shown on Cartoon Network. Gravity Falls was shown on the Disney Channel and Disney XD (see a full list of new animated movies on our coming soon page).

The one thing that CalArts style has in common with Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, and Over The Garden is that all three shows were crafted by graduates who have graduated from the California Institute of the Arts. 

calarts style in Adventure Time

This style has also been criticized as lazy. However, the CalArts style has stuck around for years. Due to its popularity, the style has been incorporated into Powerpuff Girls and ThunderCats.

CalArts style is now used as a good starting point to create new animation techniques. It will continue to help creators, designers, and animators create new projects.

calarts style over the garden wall examples

The style is often shown in 2D animation, which is known to be stiff and robotic in its appearance. This type of animation is also often created in primary colors like pink, yellow, and purple. 

Classic animators may have mocked CalArts style initially; however, its popularity and ease of use is undeniable and will likely be around for a long time. 

Discover more about the controversy behind this style, read more at Byte and learn about other animation techniques such as animation smears.