by Brandy D. Anderson
Animation and cartoons aren’t just for kids; in fact, way before Saturday morning cartoons even existed, educated adults turned to the much lauded political and satirical cartoons as early as the 18th century. With over a billion users, it’s no wonder that many talented artists now host their own YouTube channel. The four channels listed below are the best, and each one offers a unique style and perspective. There’s a channel for cat lovers and a spot for CGI aficionados; you’ll find a quirky place where the artist battles their animation-come-to life and there’s another spot you can visit if very odd cartoon humour is more your bag. Whatever your animation tastes, you’ll surely find something wonderful here!
About: “Simon’s Cat is an animated series featuring the mischievous and often hilarious antics of a fat white cat and his owner Simon. One of the most popular animated channels on YouTube, this is definitely a channel to subscribe to! The channel includes:
Simon’s Cat Films – Short, funny animations that observe life as a cat owner.
Simon’s Cat Logic – A fun and informative series that looks at why cats do the silly things they do, and what we can do to help them live happy and healthy lives.
Simon’s Cat ‘How To’: Tutorials on how to draw and animate in Simon’s Cat style.
Simon’s Cat: Behind the Scenes: Sneak peek into the work we do.”
There’s a delightful intro video which gives you a nice glimpse into the background and the inner workings of Simon’s Cat. You’ll see the creator, Simon Tofield, as well as a teaser showing what to expect from the channel, including: “Hilarious Moments”, “Behind the Scenes”, “Exclusive Clips”, “Tips and Tricks”, “And So Much More”. The video features clips of the animated episodes interspersed with footage of the artist, the cats, and other people important to the channel. Watching the videos, it’s clear to see how much Tofield and his guests love and know cats inside and out.
Tofield updates often, so there’s a lot of great content to choose from. The animated cartoons all have sound, but very little dialogue beyond the cat owner’s humming and the cat’s mewls and playful sounds. “Bed Sheets” is one of my favourite recent uploads, where the man tries to make his bed whilst his two cats thwart him with playful antics and dirt covered paws. A particularly amusing moment happens when the human and the cat inadvertently switch places. In “4 Million Subs Thank You Collection” you see the kitten fighting the adult cat for the bowl of cat food. Often the cat gets blamed for the kitten’s messes. The videos are neatly organized into different play lists, and there’s a lot of them to choose from. The lists include: “Simon’s Cat: All The Films!”, “Collections”, “Halloween Specials”, “Simon’s Cat Logic”, “Extra: Cat Fans Do Videos”, “Valentine’s Special”, “How To: Simon Draws Videos”, “Off To The Vet And Other Cat-astrophes”, and “Behind the Scenes”.
About: “My name is Alan Becker! Maybe you saw my ‘Animator vs. Animation’ when it became a viral video in 2006. I was a junior in high school when I made it, and I first submitted it to newgrounds.com and deviantart.com. From there it just spread. Back then, YouTube wasn’t so big, so it wasn’t until a year later that I posted it here. This channel is different from most channels, in that I don’t post so often. Each major animation, especially recently, has each taken me about a year of work to finish. But if you don’t see any new videos for a while, don’t lose hope! I plan to continue my animation series as long as I can.”
These videos are truly impressive. Alan Becker first started this channel after his animated video went viral when he was only 17. The original video titled “Animator vs. Animation” has spawned several sequels, and each one is increasingly spectacular. My personal favourite is “Animator vs. Animation IV (original)”. Becker’s seamless combination of live-action footage with animation is astounding, and it’s so entertaining, you’re sure to be hooked from the start. His channel has a lot of diverse content as well.
Becker posts some non-animation videos, but even these are infused with tech references. For instance, in “Instant Messaging In Real Life”, messaging is personified by two “real” guys standing on the sidewalk (meaning it’s live action). They speak the text-talk, “ru” is actually said as “roo” and when someone types “ROTFL” the guy literally rolls on the floor laughing. “LMAO” is even funnier when you see how just the guy brings the acronym to life. Becker recently uploaded “The Story of Animator vs. Animation – 10 Year Anniversary”, an interesting and informative video about his own journey into animation, and he also gives some useful tips for other beginning animators. In addition to this channel, Becker hosts an animation tutorial channel, a Minecraft channel, and a Facebook page.
About: “Humorous videos and animations that make you feel strange! F.A.Q: What program do you use? I thoroughly explain that in News Show 7 Where are you from? Israel! What’s your favorite type of straw? Silly.”
If you’re a fan of strange comedy, then you’ll love these cartoons. The introduction video is called “Pitch – Web Design” and features a web designer trying to sell his services to a realtor, but his woefully inept software ends up attaching non-removable pictures of giant dragons across the screen. The dialogue is weird and oddly hilarious. Another video, “Breaking News: Asteroid Watch” begins with an off-screen cartoon anchor reporting, “Breaking News, troubling developments regarding the asteroid set to hit earth today: Tragically, it seems like it will not be hitting our earth and destroying our civilization today”; a news ticker on the bottom of the screen reads, “Another man sponsored by Red Bull died doing something too extreme”.
“Birthday 25” is a perfect example of the funny weird mentality you’ll find here. It begins with a cartoon man talking about his birthday and the list of 101 things he wants to do, but he can’t decide which of them he should follow through with (one involves “Michael Bay Bay – baby director, that’s all it says”) – but the bizarro part is that he’s voicing two characters – and I don’t mean the voice actor is, I mean the cartoon man onscreen talks in one voice, then immediately answers in a feminine voice… it’s funny, odd, and kinda creepy. The video includes a ‘turning 25’ song, where you’re “getting to the age where age doesn’t mean much”. That’s just one example of the wacky cartoons you’ll find here. There are a lot of play lists, too, including: “Birthday Songs”, “Yotam & Fantasia”, “Nameless”, “Favourites”, “Shorts”, “News Show”, “Blogsies”, and “Lazy Writing”.
About: “The #1 Hub for all things CG! We are relentless curators of the best educational & inspirational examples in CG from around the world, including 3D Tutorials, 3D Animation, Behind the Scenes/Making of VFX, Motion Graphic Design, Show Reels, Gaming, & More… Your INSPIRATION is 100% Guaranteed! Would you like to see your work on TheCGBros? TheCGBros are always looking to showcase the best and latest in exceptional student & Independent Animation, Films & Reels from every area of Computer Generated Imagery & beyond. If your video hits the high bar, why not submit it for consideration? (Min resolution is HD 720).”
This channel is high tech and the perfect place for people who want to learn the ins and outs of computer animation. Their intro video explains, “Our mission is to bring you HD quality professional content, insights, and CG inspiration from around the world. You’ll find only the best and latest in 3D animation, VFX, student and independent short films, behind the scenes breakdowns, 3D software tutorials, and much more”.
A really neat thing about this channel is that you can see a lot of different styles and talents featured here since they share animations from all sorts of different sources. One particularly entertaining and beautiful CG animation is called “CGI 3D Animated Spot: ‘Super City’ – by Platige Image’ and it’s actually a trailer for a Facebook game (and it won Facebook’s Best New Game Award for 2014). Another “CGI 3D Animated Trailer” is called “’Red Shoes and The 7 Dwarfs’ – by Locus Creative Studios”. There are thousands of videos here, and the play lists include: “CGI & VFX: Showreels”, “CGI VFX Breakdowns Vol.2”, “Kickstarter & Indigogo Campaigns”, “Motion Graphics Showreels & Design Animations”, “CGI Technology and Visual Art Showcase”, and “Misc Tutorials and Tips by the CGI Bros”.