Cutout animation is a form of stop-motion animation using flat
characters, props and backgrounds cut from materials such as paper,
card, stiff fabric or even photographs. The world's earliest known
animated feature films were cutout animations (made in
Quirino Cristiani), as is the world's earliest
surviving animated feature.
Today, cutout-style animation is frequently produced using computers,
with scanned images or vector graphics taking the place of physically
South Park is a notable example of the transition since
its pilot episode was made with paper cutouts before switching to
More complex figures depicted in cutout animation, such as in
silhouette animation, often have joints made with a rivet or pin or,
when they are made on a computer, an anchor. These connections act as
mechanical linkage, which have the effect of a specific, fixed motion.
Other notable examples include Blue's Clues,
Angela Anaconda and, more
recently, Charlie and Lola. One of the most famous animators still
using traditional cutout animation today is Yuriy Norshteyn.
1.1 Feature films
1.2 Other (short)
For more examples, see the list of stop-motion films.
An example of cutout animation, produced at the UK's National Media
El Apóstol (1918) by Italian-Argentine cartoonist Quirino Cristiani,
was also the world's first animated feature film.
The Adventures of Prince Achmed
The Adventures of Prince Achmed by
Lotte Reiniger (from 1926) was a
silhouette animation using armatured cutouts and backgrounds which
were variously painted or composed of blown sand and even soap.
No. 12, also known as
Heaven and Earth Magic
Heaven and Earth Magic by Harry Everett Smith,
completed in 1962, utilizes cut-out illustrations culled from 19th
The Soviet films Lefty (1964) and
Go There, Don't Know Where (1966).
René Laloux's early films made use of armatured cutouts, while his
Fantastic Planet is a rare example of unarmatured cutout
The feature films of
Karel Zeman (Czechoslovakia) combined cutout
animation and landscapes with live actors.
The opening sequence of
L'Armata Brancaleone (1966), a film by Italian
director Mario Monicelli, features cutout animation, made by the
Italian Emanuele Luzzati.
Twice Upon a Time (1983), an animated movie directed by
John Korty and
produced by George Lucas, uses a form of cutout animation, which the
filmmakers called "Lumage," that involved prefabricated cut-out
plastic pieces that the animators moved on a light table.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) and Imaginationland: The
Movie (2008) use computer animation to imitate cutout animation.
Strange Frame relies primarily on an innovative cutout style combined
with both traditional and 3D elements.
Charley Says series of British public information films
extensively utilised cutout animation in its production.
Thieves of Baghdad by
Noburo Ofuji (from 1926) was an early example of
cutout animation, by animating chiyogami (Japanese colored paper)
The Miracle of Flight, a short cutout animated clip from the famous
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python's Flying Circus - by Terry Gilliam
Le merle (1958), is combination of the (white) cut-outs and (pastel)
backgrounds (music is the French folksong "Mon Merle) - by Norman
The Little Island (1958), a combination of both traditional animation
and paper cut-out elements - by Richard Williams
How Death Came to Earth (1971) - by Ishu Patel.
Tabi (1973) and Shijin no Shôgai (1974), two cutout animations - by
Kihachirō Kawamoto (who was otherwise primarily a puppet animator).
Angela Anaconda, an animation combining the black-and-white
photographs and cutout-styled CGI animation.
South Park used construction paper cutouts in its first episode before
PowerAnimator and, later, Maya.
Blue's Clues used cutout animation for many of its characters.
Pigeon Street created by Alan Rogers and Peter Lang who both went on
creating animations for programmes like Words and Pictures,
Rosie and Jim
Rosie and Jim and Hotch Potch House.
Charlie and Lola
Charlie and Lola uses a complex combination of photographic and drawn
elements to imitate the collage style of the books - by Lauren Child.
Joel Veitch uses
SWF cutout animation style on his website
The humour animation site
JibJab primarily uses cutout animation from
It's Jerry Time is an
Emmy Award winning web series that uses cutout
animation in its episodes.
Pre-1997 episodes of
Captain Pugwash on BBC1.
Outer Space Astronauts uses a similar technique to blend live-action
and computer-generated layers in its unique animation style.
King Rollo was a children's character created by
David McKee in 1979
Uncle Grandpa features a character called Giant Realistic Flying
Tiger, who is animated using this technique.
Nothing on You
Nothing on You the music video use cutout animation.
Pressure (Skindred song)
Pressure (Skindred song) the music video uses cutout animation
Lie Lie Lie by Serj Tankian, the music video also uses cutout
The intro and outro themes of Charlie Chalk.
Famous Studios Modern Madcap cartoon Bouncing Benny.
Mi-Mi, the Lazy Kitten from China and Tillie, the Unhappy Hippopotamus
Czechoslovakia as shown on the Saturday morning kids' show the
CBS Children's Film Festival which aired from 1967 to 1984. Mi-Mi used
bright-colored pastels set against a white background while Tillie had
done a variety of different shades of yellows, greens, and grays all
done in a paisley design even before the latter became popular in the
Paper Mario series used cutout animation with the
characters to explore the various locations in or around the Mushroom
Kingdom. Also, the commercial for the
Nintendo 3DS game
Sticker Star use cutout animation.
The Japanese duo Gekidan Inu Curry's work is used the popular animated
Bakemonogatari and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. They were
inspired by Soviet cutout features such as Hedgehog in the Fog.
Hoops and Yoyo
Hoops and Yoyo usually appear in greeting cards but they also appear
in animated cartoons that use cutout animation.
^ Armen Boudjikanian (February 26, 2008). "Early Japanese Animation:
As Innovative as Contemporary Anime". Frames Per Second Magazine.
The Miracle of Flight
The Miracle of Flight on YouTube
^ McLaren, Norman (1958). "Le merle". NFB.ca. National Film Board of
Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
Animation film festivals
Highest-grossing films (Openings weekends)
Based on cartoons
Lost or unfinished
Pose to pose
Abstract animation (visual music)
Films with live action and animation
Most expensive animated films