Enter the maze

Back to basics

a sketch of a man flexing his muscles, divided so we can see that underneath his skin he's a robot

The first episode of South Park took about three months to make as all the bits of the characters were cut out from paper and animated by hand, frame by frame. Today the series uses state of the art computer graphics to duplicate the original, amateurish look, allowing shows to be produced far more quickly and so be able to respond to current events. The system allows the artists to decide on key frames in the animation such as when Cartman moves from the left of the screen (key frame 1) to the right (key frame 2). Computers can then fill in the sequence of images between these key frames in a process called tweening, short for in-betweening.

Lesson for the future: computers can help behind and between the scenes in animation.