Article about Hanna-Barbera's computer coloring system - Forum.
Mister Bighead
2014-12-14T19:22:55Z
Poster's note: This was originally a topic posted on the former IAD forums. (In fact, this was the very first topic I posted.) Due to the usefulness of the information and discussion, I'm reposting the thread as well as replies here. You are welcome to add to the discussion of this old topic.

This article discusses the computerized coloring system Hanna-Barbera used in the 1980s including its history, the technical aspects of the system, and even an example of the process of coloring an animation frame. This early use of digital ink-and-paint (which was still uncommon at the time) fascinated me therefore I was glad to find an article about it.

A few examples of Hanna-Barbera productions that used this coloring system included Smurfs, Snorks, Flintstones Kids, Yogi's Treasure Hunt, The Jetsons revival, and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. When the '90s began, I believe H-B journeyed back to their original hand-painted coloring method.

http://design.osu.edu/ca...y/PDFs/hanna-barbera.pdf 
Mister Bighead
2014-12-14T19:24:13Z
Reply #1 by wiley207

The computer system looked great on "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo," especially when Glen Kennedy was animating. "Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf" was animated using it as well. I think for that point, the pencil animation work would be done overseas (usually by Wang Film Productions or H-B's own Philippines-based Fil-Cartoons), then sent over to H-B to be digitally colored in-house.
The computer system was also used a bit in the 1990s, on several episodes of "Yo Yogi" and on "Two Stupid Dogs" (I think.) The final use of it was on "Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights" in 1994, and it looked REALLY BAD there. (I'm glad "Animaniacs" never used a computer system like that, since "Arabian Nights" was in retrospect an Animaniacs rip-off!)
Mister Bighead
2014-12-14T19:25:23Z
Reply #2 by me

Quote from: wiley207 on June 21, 2013, 10:23:00 pm
Quote:

"Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf" was animated using it as well.


Weren't most of the Hanna-Babera Superstars 10 movies colored with the computer system?

Quote from: wiley207 on June 21, 2013, 10:23:00 pm
The computer system was also used a bit in the 1990s, on several episodes of "Yo Yogi" and on "Two Stupid Dogs" (I think.) The final use of it was on "Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights" in 1994, and it looked REALLY BAD there. (I'm glad "Animaniacs" never used a computer system like that, since "Arabian Nights" was in retrospect an Animaniacs rip-off!)

I have never seen "Yo Yogi". By the time of the Arabian Nights telefilm, I believe Hanna-Barbera thought their coloring system was outdated to that point therefore they retired it. I have no idea why they did not update their hardware instead of reverting back to more traditional methods. Was it because of the budget?

Early '90s projects such as "Fantastic Max", "Tom and Jerry Kids", and the second season of "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo" looked as if they were colored using traditional ink-and-paint methods. The Cartoon Network series produced by H-B were colored in this method as well. (However, the last "Powerpuff Girls" episodes with the H-B moniker looked as if they were digitally colored. They probably used a different coloring system for those.)

Regarding "Animaniacs", along with the animation style, background music, and general art direction, the traditional ink-and-paint method makes the show have a similar (but not exactly the same) feel to the classic Warner Bros. cartoons.
Mister Bighead
2014-12-14T19:26:28Z
Reply #3 by wiley207

The only other H-B Superstars 10 movie I know that was animated with the computer system was "Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears."
The second season onward of "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo" was indeed colored traditionally, possibly due to budget reasons.
I believe even though "Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights" had a higher budget, they did not bother to update their computer hardware, resulting in stuff like this...

UserPostedImage

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(This image was digitally zoomed.)

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(Believe me, they managed to screw up with animating Magilla walking using the computer system.)


The shows H-B produced for Cartoon Network from 1996 until 2001-2002 were produced by Cartoon Network Studios, formerly a division of Hanna-Barbera. In 1999, Cartoon Network Studios opened their own facilities, but for the most part still used the Hanna-Barbera brand name, until Bill Hanna died in 2001, when H-B was folded into Warner Bros. Animation, and Cartoon Network Studios fully branched off into being a separate studio. They continued to use the Hanna-Barbera name on "The Powerpuff Girls" until the movie came out. Cartoon Network Studios switched to digital ink-and-paint at that time too. This explains why it looks different from H-B's efforts of the 1980s and 1990s (I think it was outsourced.)

You are right about Animaniacs and its traditional animation. Good thing "Tiny Toon Adventures" didn't do the same thing either, especially with companies like Wang Film Productions, Fil-Cartoons and Kennedy Cartoons involved, as they all worked with H-B quite a bit (beginning in 1991, Kennedy Cartoons mostly would work for Disney.)
Mister Bighead
2014-12-14T19:27:22Z
Reply #4 by me

Quote from: wiley207 on June 22, 2013, 07:36:04 am
Quote:

The only other H-B Superstars 10 movie I know that was animated with the computer system was "Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears."



It has been a while since I watched most of the Superstars 10 movies. However, I do remember that some were colored traditionally while others had digital coloring. Seeing the screenshots of Arabian Nights you posted, I can see why Hanna-Barbera gave up on the digital ink-and-paint system.

The system in general was experimental ever since they began using it in the '80s. (You can read more about how the system came to be in the link to the article I posted.) Like I said, digital ink-and-paint was uncommon in the '80s. By the 2000s, the majority of traditionally animated television series were colored digitally. The only animated series that is still colored on traditional cels is the anime "Sazae-san". (You can read about it here: http://cartoonresearch.c...running-tv-cartoon-ever/  )
Blob55
2014-12-14T19:38:28Z
Why were the outlines and colours so pale for early digital cartoons?
Mister Bighead
2014-12-15T18:46:29Z
Originally Posted by: Blob55 

Why were the outlines and colours so pale for early digital cartoons?



I'm not sure. Since the coloring system was used in the '80s back when digital technology was still evolving, it probably wasn't powerful enough to render certain colors. That's my guess.
Blob55
2014-12-15T19:26:39Z
Originally Posted by: Mister Bighead 

Originally Posted by: Blob55 

Why were the outlines and colours so pale for early digital cartoons?



I'm not sure. Since the coloring system was used in the '80s back when digital technology was still evolving, it probably wasn't powerful enough to render certain colors. That's my guess.



I always thought there was something off about 80s 90s HB cartoons. The outlines were so pale, that the celluloid cartoons back then look more like they were done on computer now! [mickey]
Toadette
2014-12-18T01:56:20Z
Of course, when the Cartoon Cartoons came around during the 90s, Hanna-Barbera returned to actual celluloid, and the outlines were greatly thickened up.

As has been pointed out previously, the digital coloring system looked horrible by the time the 90s came around. Though I've heard that there were problems even back when it was first used...the paleness mentioned earlier, for instance. (Though that could also be a problem with 80s cartoon color styling in general.) I've also heard of out-of-focus issues in which the characters and the background had to stabilize whenever a zoom occurred. (But that applied to early digital ink and paint in general.)
Blob55
2014-12-18T02:10:08Z
Originally Posted by: Toadette 

Of course, when the Cartoon Cartoons came around during the 90s, Hanna-Barbera returned to actual celluloid, and the outlines were greatly thickened up.

As has been pointed out previously, the digital coloring system looked horrible by the time the 90s came around. Though I've heard that there were problems even back when it was first used...the paleness mentioned earlier, for instance. (Though that could also be a problem with 80s cartoon color styling in general.) I've also heard of out-of-focus issues in which the characters and the background had to stabilize whenever a zoom occurred. (But that applied to early digital ink and paint in general.)



Uck. I hated the blurred pixelated outlines! I swear, there are so many random 90s French cartoons with that problem.