When it comes to animation, there are several animation techniques used by animators in order to enhance the animation process and come up with an animated video that is highly engaging. One animation technique that you might not have heard of is smear frames. However, today we are going to be diving into its history and why it’s still an effective animation strategy used by animators today.

What Are Smear Frames?

Also known as a motion blur is not only something you aren’t able to recognize in animated movies but also in real life. For instance, if you throw a ball, you will notice a smear in the action of throwing the ball and how it gets to the other end. Basically, it’s a natural phenomenon that doesn’t allow your brain to recognize the individual frame of a fast-moving object. Therefore, you only see a smear. In the animation world, a smear frame consists of a single or multiple frames that depict an instant blur. With the help of a smear frame, animators can make the blur give out an illusion of frantic pace.

If you’re familiar with the Simpsons or Spongebob, go ahead and pause at any given time. You’ll notice how everything becomes blurred. The facial expressions and body movements of the characters stretch over the screen. You might notice the faces of a character melting or rearranging as well. It’s kind of weird, but that’s just how smear frames work.

The History of Smear Frames

The Dover Boys at Pimento University is a classic animation movie that first used a smear technique in the animation process. This cartoon developed the animation smearing technique which later became a game-changer in the world of animation. According to Chuck Jones, animation smearing saves up a lot of time when it comes to drawing. Also, later on, he used this smearing technique in his work on Looney Tunes. If you check out most of the old Warner Bros. cartoons, you’ll notice they use smear framing a lot!

So how was it a game-changer? Well, the reason for this is that animation smearing enhanced the animation in terms of look, style, and production time. Therefore, animators that understood how smear framing works immediately began implementing it into their animation technique. The smear frame is a secret animation trick that can do wonders for an animated video.

Why is Smear Frames still Popular?

We know what you must be thinking, technology advancements, new tools, better equipment, why still focus on smear frames? Well, all of these aspects made smear framing even better! Also, cartoons such as The Simpsons used smear frame animation from the very first episode. Therefore, as the world evolved, they used smear frames along with other tricks to give the style of animation an improved look. “A smear is an optical illusion” according to the animator Paul Layzell. He’s popular for the amazing work he’s created with Disney and many more. He states with the help of smear frames, you can cheat movement. Basically, this means it’s a visualizing of a blur which can only be done using smear frames.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, we’ve mentioned all there is for you to know regarding smear frames. If you’re looking for a professional animation agency that uses the right techniques and tools to create creative animated videos, contact Animation Agency! Visit our website, or call us at 800-314-4049.



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