Studio MDHR’s Cuphead Animations Utilized Techniques That Were Nearly Obsolete
Much of gaming-related conversations since Friday have been greatly fixated on Cuphead, the long-awaited indie darling that brought gamers into the world of cartoons circa the 1930s. Audiences and critics alike have been praising the game for its fun co-op gameplay and how authentically it presents itself in the animation style that brought the early days of Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat household names. Many have wondered what went into crafting the Cuphead animations and it appears that the team behind it all used a long-forgotten drawing technique to capture the feel of a truly living cartoon.
Inverse has published an interview with Maja Moldenhauer, the game’s producer and one of the contributing artists, spoke about the extinct technique that was used to animate the characters and world. For a little history lesson, the first cartoons brought to the big screen often were drawn at 24 frames per second with each frame being individually hand drawn. Entering into the 1930s, studios started to realize that they could halve the frames per second down to 12 frames per second. Animation departments back then, as well as the animators for Cuphead, referred to this technique as drawing “on the ones.” Utilizing this style helped the team at Studio MDHR present an authentic love letter to this infamous era of cartoons, saying:
Everything is digital now, but we wanted to be authentic to the style of the 1930s. You couldn’t capture the style digitally: the way your pen tapers, the way your weight shifts throughout the lines to capture the variance between the thin and thick. We had to use pencil and paper. It is a dying art form.”
Thus, Cuphead contains more than 120,000 hand-drawn frames, which is quite impressive considering the very modest number of animators that worked on the game. Hopefully, it does not become easily forgotten like “drawing on the ones” did for far too long. What do you guys think about the Cuphead animations? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to stay tuned for the latest Cuphead news, such as the new line of Cuphead Funko figures, here on Don’t Feed the Gamers! Follow us on Twitter to see our updates the minute they go live!
Cory Lara1839 Posts
A royally radical and totally tubular 90s kid, Cory has a passion for all things nerdy, particularly gaming and nostalgia. While an accountant by day, he strives to be as creative and humorous as possible in his free time, be it here writing on Don't Feed the Gamers, or making dumb satirical posts on his Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Instagram accounts.