Cataloging CG Works

This area discusses how I catalog CG works for my own collection/purposes and correspondingly for this site.

Gathering Information

All the CG works on this site come from a video catalog that I personally maintain as a spreadsheet with all my acquired videos, eliminated videos, reviewed video works, logged video works, and upcoming video works. Right-click this CSV version of the catalog to get all the details of the CG works cataloged on this site into a spreadsheet.

Note: The design area of my personal site describes my automated process of updating my sites with changes to this catalog/spreadsheet.

Here are some notes regarding gathering certain information for this catalog:

  • Release Years: I mostly used iMDb and tv.com to get release years for the works. Since my primary goal was to put animated works in perspective relative to the time period when they were made, I struggled with using the U.S. release date or the sometimes much earlier foreign release dates (including film festivals). In the end, I mostly chose the earliest date the work was released to the public. For works with significant re-releases (e.g., 30+ minutes of additions, major rework of material like Star Wars in 1997, or 3D re-release), I have treated the re-release as its own work (for the most part) using its re-release date. Also note, I use "99" for an unknown month or day (displayed as "__" on this site) and "9999" for an unknown future year (displayed as tbd on this site) in order to sort them to the end.
  • Mediums: I use the term medium both for the source medium - the format for which the source work was created (e.g., movie, TV series, video game cinematic, etc.) - as well as for the release medium - formats in which the work is released (e.g., movie theater, TV, BD, DVD). In addition to the base source mediums like movie and series, I provide another field for any special format that a source medium may have - this covers things like made-for-TV movies, direct-to-video movies, direct-to-video series, movie shorts, etc.
  • Content: If you have any information that I am missing (e.g., works, fields for a work, shops, etc.) or corrections to my existing information, I would greatly appreciate your input.

Types

I consider that there are three primary types of animation:

  • Traditional animation: hand-drawn cells in just two dimensions (2-D); includes the classic Disney feature movies and TV series like Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Simpsons
  • Stop-motion animation: physical models placed in a normal three-dimensional (3-D) environment and moved to a new position for each frame; includes movies like Chicken Run (uses the Claymation stop-motion technique)
  • Computer animation: virtual computer models representing a three-dimensional (3-D) space which is completely managed by computer software and expert artists/animators; a.k.a., CG (computer graphics) or CGI (computer-generated imagery); includes movies like Shrek

Within these primary types, I consider there are two sub-types of animated works:

  • Fully animated: there is primarily no live-action footage (i.e., every character is animated), with the rare exception of some works which use some/all live-action background footage (e.g., Dinosaur)
  • Partially animated: live-action footage is used, and animation is used for a specific character(s) integrated with the live-action actors, or some other modification to the live-action footage

This site is focused on computer animation - either fully animated or partially animated.

Mediums

The primary animation mediums that I consider here are:

  • Movie: Movies (and series) are being created with more and more visual effects - especially those including CG-animated characters. This site includes every movie/series with major computer animation that I have had a chance to see (or plan to see) - including many from other countries.
    • Fully animated works and partially animated works come in many forms in movies/series. Of all the genres, sci-fi/fantasy movies/series utilize animation the most -- this includes most fully animated movies/series. But in every genre, you will find lots of partially animated works where the animation can be in the form of isolated visual effects (e.g., a quick shot with a digital double, a replacement of a body part on a live-action actor, etc.). Increasingly, live-action movies/series take this to the next level where the animation can be in the form of fully animated characters that interact with the live-action actors.
    • With such a variety of animated works, I did not want to get bogged down with rigid categorization criteria (e.g., as followed for the Academy Awards), and thus, I try to focus this site on any work that I consider has major animation. Thus, even though the Best Animated Feature category of the Academy Awards must meet a certain criteria relative to the percentage of animated minutes, this site includes anything as a fully animated work that I consider had a significant amount of fully computer-animated sequences (i.e., no integration with live-action actors, but possibly with filmed backgrounds).
    • Even though I love visual effects (and eventually plan on including my recommendations for visual effects movies/series somewhere on my personal site), I try to focus this site on major animation versus isolated visual effects. Thus, for partially animated works on this site, I have primarily only included the movies/series that have at least one significant fully animated character integrated with the live-action. I have also subjectively included some works which only have one scene (of a decent length) with this type of live-action integrated animation.
  • Series: Virtually all the movie medium notes above apply to this medium, although normally with a lesser budget (per episode). Note the generic term series covers any work designed to span over multiple episodes, and thus not only includes TV series, but also other series like those released directly to video. While here a series refers to all seasons applicable to the general work, in the UK, a series typically refers to just a specific season of the general work.
  • Short: These are works normally just a few minutes long made by creative animation students, fledgling animation studios trying to make a name, or established animation studios trying to maintain their name (by winning Academy Awards for their shorts). Check out my favorite shorts section where I have collected and cataloged quite a few of these gems, while there are so many more out there! Also, since there are so many shorts (especially from student projects), I only catalog ones that I consider good and/or were released from 2005 to present with Academy Award recognition, SIGGRAPH inclusion, or popular liking.
  • Cinematic (a.k.a., video game cinematic, cutscene, in-game movie, full motion video or FMV): I have included the cinematics (i.e., the short videos that appear between gameplay levels) that I have collected, representing many of the best ones available. These not only include the longer productions, but also the shorter productions created as teasers and trailers.
  • Commercial (a.k.a., TV commercial): I have only included the TV commercial works that I have collected, representing only a handful of the many commercials out there with great animation.
  • Music Video: Even though there are many music videos with awesome animation, I have not included them on this site.
  • Documentary: Even though there are some great documentaries (primarily relative to dinosaurs) that take advantage of quality animation, I have not included them on this site.
  • Visualization: These are short videos created with mostly/all interesting/beautiful animated visuals and no real story. The goal is to stimulate the visual senses like any visual work of art. While I enjoy looking at them for brief stints, these are not part of the video works catalog that I am interested in.

Shops

Due to the large amount of time and money to produce computer animation works, often there is more than one animation shop involved in a production. Here I only focused on the primary animation shop that I associated with each work. Also, if the work is by a student for a project in an animation school, I list the school as the "shop". And even though the vast majority of the works are collaborative efforts, I note the primary artist when applicable, and include any applicable shop/school as the "shop". Sometimes the name of a major artist represents their "shop".

Rankings

I only rank works with significant character animation as opposed to just visual effects (Note: if a work has no significant character animation, then it is labeled with a secondary animation sub-type on this site). I chose to rank these works primarily based on the overrall work (characters, story, animation, etc.) with an extra weight here towards the animation.

  • In addition to the overrall ranking, I also provide a separate sub-ranking of Great, Good, Average, or Weak for each aspect of the work (i.e., Design, Animation, Concept, and Writing).
  • When applicable, I also provide specific review notes.
  • Thus, good/impressive animation can be seen for a work that I considered "weak" overrall.
  • Alternatively, less impressive (or maybe dated) animation can be seen for a work I considered "good" overrall.
  • If a work has enough overall animation to warrant including it on this site - while not enough character animation to warrant ranking it with all the others, I noted that it was excluded from ranking on the Details pages.
  • On this site, for cinematics and commercials, I did not bother cataloging works that I did not like.

You can also check out my personal site (stevebondi.com) with my general favorite movies and TV series.

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