If 3D hasn't improved cartoons, why are we wasting time with it?
Which version of the Alvin characters do you prefer?
It's hard to be funny in 3D. I laughed when Clampett did the old shoes-for-wheels gag in "Coal black," but in 3D the same gag (above) is only mildly interesting.
Make the gag even more realistic (above) and it's not funny at all. The more realistic the shoe gag gets, the harder it is to make it funny. It's harder to be funny to be funny in 3D. It's less of a caricature of the real world.
Characters without pants can be funny (or almost funny) in 3D, but you have to work at it
Look how effortlessly 2D (above) accomplishes the same thing.
This group of old men looks hilarious in this (above) old Rube Goldberg cartoon. Would they have looked as funny in 3D? And the cost...I'll bet it was a hundred times faster and cheaper to draw these people than it would have been to create computer models.
2D cartooning has an incredibly rich history. Some of the best minds who ever worked in popular art gave us a legacy of gutsy and streetwise artwork that might have stimulated our own creativity for hundreds of years to come. 3D has so far been indifferent to all that.
But maybe I'm being too harsh. Every once in a while you see a moment in a 3D film (above) that gives you reason to hope. "Horton Hears a Who" had more moments like that than any other 3D movie I've seen. It gives me reason to think that in 40 years 3D might catch up to hand-drawn.
Here's a couple of shots (above and below) from George Pal's Puppetoons. These are very crude, and I'm not suggesting we return to that, but they do prove that some type of cartoony 3D can be funny.
Pal's Jasper proves that it's possible to do 3D design that's so incredibly funny that the characters look great even when they're standing still.
I've noticed that cartoony 3D subjects (above) sometimes look funnier in black and white. Why is that? Is it the ultra-retro design or the fact that digital makes black and white looks so sharp and appealing?