Fan Question: Do you hand draw every scene?
Answer: South Park is not quite traditionally animated show, and the “drawing” is only done in the very early phases of productions.
Instead we use the same construction paper we’ve used since the pilot episode “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe. Fun side note, the very first episode took over 3 months to complete and was hand animated by a very small team, including Matt and Trey. Now we use a number of programs to make the finished product, but most of the animation is done in Maya (an industry standard 3D animation program).
It should be noted, however, that the construction paper used in the pilot episode was scanned into a computer database, which the technical directors and animators now use to create the show. This allows us to continue to animate with construction paper textures, even though we are using computers. We’ve used those SAME TEXTURES for the past 19 years. The images below show some of the steps in production…
Check out this storyboard drawing of Cartman and his mom from last season’s finale “PC Principal Final Justice”. Storyboards are drawn after we have script.
This is what the scene looks like in the animation software, Maya.
Here’s the final image from the episode.
Check out a few examples of the paper textures. You can see the ridges and shadows in the paper scans.
All the animation is done by our team of animators (about 10 people) and they move the characters and props every 2 frames (we animate at 24 frames per second), just like most other animated shows. Pretty cool, huh?