Saturday, October 15, 2011

South Park in the Beginning

After what I posted last week about Terry Gilliam and his love for cut out animation I was talking to my roommates about what other shows/films have used that technique in the past. My friend mentioned that she thought that South Park did a couple episodes in the beginning in the cut-out style-so I looked into it. It turns out South Park did use Cut-out style animation on their pilot episode.

South Park is a satirical comedy show that began airing on Comedy Central in 1997. It was created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone who used a paper cut-out style animation based on the styles of one of their animation idols Terry Gilliam of Monty Python. A few years before the show was picked up, Trey and Matt created the very first episode of South Park using lots and lots of construction paper and typical stop motion animation techniques. This pilot was 22 minutes long and took a painstaking 3 months to complete. Luckily all that hard work paid off and the pilot got the attention of Comedy Central. In order to increase speed and efficiency of the creation of episodes, South Park began using computer animation techniques for all episodes that were shown on TV. At the beginning of its seasons South Park used scanned images with CorelDRAW and PowerAnimator but as new programs were developed they began using the powerful program Maya and the new program called Motion to create episodes. Today South Park can turn out an episode in about one weeks time!

Below I posted two videos. The first is a clip from the original unaired pilot that used the cut-out technique and the second is a clip from an episode made last year with the shows updated techniques. What differences and similarities do you see? It seems to me like the general look/style is the same, it just looks a little more polished and was less time consuming to make. Oh the power of technology! I think it is interesting to see how shows change and develop their styles as the seasons pass. South Park is now in its 15th season!

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