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Making of Tom and Jerry

Tom and JerryAmong all the cartoon series that have ever been made Tom and Jerry is the most loved and most successful.

We love the never ending Chase and the comedy in these serials.

Some of these cartoons are nearly sixty years old , the first ones were made in the 1940’s .

They were created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and made in MGM studios in the Hollywood, then it has been made over and over again right until now.

Today it is being made by the Warner Brothers who own the rights to Tom and jerry.

The earlier days of animation involved thousands of hand-drawn sketches unlike today’s computer generated pictures.

Every second of finished film consists of 24 frames, requiring 12 to 24 drawings, depending upon the speed of movement – faster movements need more drawings per second.

Here is a brief on how a cartoon film like Tom and Jerry was made in the earlier days..

The story is developed as a “storyboard”, a giant-sized comic strip. As the story develops, new drawings are added to the storyboard. Since the drawings are pinned onto a cork board, it is easy to make alterations to the story.


The backgrounds are painted on cardboard or celluloid with tempera, acrylic or sometimes even oil paints. The backgrounds are the “landscape” in which the characters are moving, and they are often made into large-size panoramas, “pan backgrounds”, considerably larger than the picture format. The camera follows the characters as they move across the background. This background is painted in a format suitable for a vertical camera move.

Before the tedious drawing work can begin, the dialogue is recorded on tape and then transferred onto magnetic film. This filmstrip is analyzed in a sound reader, and every syllable is registered on an “exposure sheet” – necessary to obtain perfect synchronization between sound and picture. The sheet is divided into many rows, each corresponding to one frame of film. Music and sound effects aren’t usually recorded until after the film is finally cut, and an optical sound track is then prepared and printed onto the film, see below.

Now the real work begins. Every second of finished film consists of 24 frames, requiring 12 to 24 drawings, depending upon the speed of movement – faster movements need more drawings per second, slower moves can be animated with less, with three or even more frames shot of every drawing. The difference between two successive frames can be almost negligible, an arm moves a fraction of a millimeter, for instance. The animated drawings are filmed on black & white film to check the smoothness of the movements (this is called a pencil test).

In order to superimpose the animated characters on the backgrounds, the drawings are copied onto transparent sheets of celluloid or plastic, usually called “cels”. The lines are traced in ink, and the colors are filled in on the reverse side of the cels, in order to get completely even colors when viewed from the front.

The filming is carried out on an “animation stand”. Sometimes the picture is divided into several levels (4 on this “multiplane” stand), separated by about 30 cm, or 12″. The fore- middle- and backgrounds of the landscape are on different levels, so a certain 3-dimensional effect is achieved, especially when the camera or background is moving. image13

To make an 8-minute animated cartoon you need:

7000 sheets of paper 7000 sheets of celluloid

150 sheets of cardboard 50 felt-tip pens

10 crow-quill pens 50 pencils

5 erasers 20 brushes

10 liters (2 1/2 gal.) of paint 2.5 dl (1/2 pint) of india ink

1200 meters (3600 ft) b&w film 240 meters (720 ft) color film

and of course a LOT OF INSPIRATION

Want to watch and enjoy a Tom and Jerry Movie now ?


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