Cartoon characters tend to follow a few principles, including getting stuck in strange and improbable situations and frequently being virtually indestructible, but there's one particular characteristic that has long piqued viewers' interest: many cartoon characters only have four fingers, and here's why. While animated shows have evolved in terms of animation styles and the themes they address, they continue to be very popular with viewers and they still maintain that absurd humour and essence that have made them so successful. Cartoons have been around for decades and have left a lasting impression on the childhoods of generations of viewers.
Over the years, animators and character designers have frequently been told to simplify hands without completely making it clear to the viewer. A decent compromise between real and absurd is four fingers. For instance, can you picture three fingers? That would be very strange. Also a Ninja Turtle.
The history of four-fingered characters, how it enhances animation, and how it saves time and money are all covered in this article.
An Overview of the History of Four-Finger Cartoons!
American animation studios first produced and distributed animated cartoons with anthropomorphic creatures in the early 1900s. To mention a few, there is Mickey Mouse, Felix the Cat, and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. These recognisable figures all have four fingers on each hand (Apparently, Walt Disney once said that if he were to draw Mickey with five fingers, his hand would look like a bunch of bananas).
The animation studios' deliberate and strategic design decision allowed for more naturally flowing characters that were easier (and less expensive) to animate. These four-fingered figures were so expertly created and animated that they became symbols that influenced other artists all over the world.
Disney and other companies would not have continued to employ this strategy if it were ineffective. These figures eventually had a domino effect on numerous other animation studios. Over the next 100 years, many more cartoon characters would follow in the footsteps of four-fingered cartoon figures. To name a few, there are Bob's Burgers, The Simpsons, Looney Tunes, and more! Don't fix it if it isn't broken!
Saving Time and Money with Four Fingers:
It takes a lot of people to draw a truckload of pictures for a traditional animated animation if you imagine yourself in the position of 20th-century animators. In actuality, twelve hand-drawn images are needed to create one second of animation. Because drawing hands is notoriously challenging, animators spend a lot of time on them. You would be quite excited to decrease your character's finger count if making 1/12 of a second required you to create a picture on paper, ink it on celluloid, and then paint it as well!
Improved Animation Design and Flow Due to Four Fingered Hands:
There is less chance of messing up the motion of an animated character by drawing one fewer finger on each hand. The animators can concentrate on utilising the least amount of effort to create the character's appearance and movement by just using four fingers. (Again, three fingers would be really odd).
In addition, we seldom even see the four fingers on cartoon hands!
We would like to know how long it took you to realise this typical tactic. We think you could watch an entire Family Guy episode and not notice that everyone has 20% less digits on their hands. But you'd notice it quite fast if you saw a cartoon where every character was missing an arm or a leg. Four fingers are more than enough to convey to the spectator that what they are looking at are convincing hands, which is why sketching cartoons with four fingers is so prevalent.
However, It's important to note that Japanese characters typically have all five fingers, and there are a variety of explanations for this, including a dislike of the number four because it sounds similar to the word for "death," the four fingers being seen as offensive in reference to the burakumin caste, and the Yakuza tradition of amputating a finger as punishment.
In order to avoid controversy in Japan, many cartoon characters that are generally portrayed with four fingers had to be modified to have the fifth finger. However, Mickey Mouse was exempt from this rule. For reasons of tradition or design simplicity, characters in contemporary cartoons still have four fingers. However, in some circumstances, such as with God in The Simpsons, certain characters have been given a fifth finger. One of the most recognisable traits of cartoon characters is their four fingers; once you notice it in one, you notice it in all of them.