I'm about to point out something you probably never noticed before. And once you see it, you'll never un-notice it. Ready? OK. Most of your fave cartoons have only four fingers per hand. YES. Think about it: SpongeBob. Mickey Mouse. Genie from Aladdin. The Looney Tunes crew. Eight fingers apiece!
Sure, there are exceptions (like Disney princesses), but what exactly is going on here? Are animators just bad at anatomy? Is a pinky bandit on the loose, erasing cartoon fingers frame by frame? Or is there actually a reason animators keep ditching that fifth digit?
Apparently, there are several reasons for the uncanny pattern, according to a fascinating new video from the pro animators at ChannelFrederator.
As the video explains, the trend began before computers were a thing - and animations were painstakingly drawn on paper. Nuanced hand motions were tough to capture, and animators realized that when they knocked off a finger from each hand, they spent less time drawing and made fewer mistakes - and therefore saved studios a ton of money. According to the video, this shortcut saved Disney's animation studio millions in its early days.
Of course, animation technology has advanced considerably since then, so cost concerns aren't as intense. But eight-fingered characters live on, in some cases to keep rounded cartoon hands from looking cluttered, and in other cases purely for tradition.
Still, cartoons with five-fingered hands may be gaining ground - just look at the characters on Steven Universe, King of the Hill and Samarai Jack.
Is your mind blown? Watch the entire deep dive into the history of four-fingered cartoons below!
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