Definition of 8-Bit Animation
8-bit animation is a style of creating animated productions using 8-bit graphics or any iteration thereof, such as 8×8 pixel cells (like in Bandai Namco Entertainment’s “Pac-Man 256”), 8×16, 8×32, then 8×64 pixel cells, etc.
Bandai Namco Entertainment’s “Pac-Man 256”
It greatly simplifies production in comparison to standard modern-day hand-drawn 2D/3D animation methods. In addition, it comes with additional benefits, including having a limited color palette of 256 colors that do not require digital paint correction during postproduction.
This also allows creation on the cheaper end of the scale in comparison with high-end modern television animation. 8-bit animation has been popular among independent animators and groups of people who work for little to no money on animated music videos or short films. It is a popular style for 8 Bit video game-style art, 8-bit music covers/remixes, and 8-bit recreations of famous movies and cartoons.
8-bit animation has become very popular on YouTube (especially within Let’s Players), especially within the gaming community. The software used to create 8-bit animations is mostly limited to Adobe Flash, Toon Boom Studio, Synfig Studio, or a combination of the three to create 8-bit content.
Examples of 8-Bit Animation
One of the coolest examples of 8 Bit animation would be Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie in 1993, Capcom and Group TAC produced a 48-minute anime movie set in the world of Street Fighter II. The film was created entirely by 8-bit graphics using 8-bit coloring and 8-bit color limitation resulting in the characters having 8 bits for pupils, 8 bits for hair, 8 bits for hands, etc.
Street Fighter II
It produced approximately 50 frames per second, with 8-bits per frame equating to roughly 4000 frames per second. Therefore, it would be nearly impossible to animate using standard TV animation or digital painting methods. In an interview with an American magazine about the production of this film, director Gisaburō Sugii stated that products such as Samsung Phones, Adobe Flash, McDonald’s (featuring 8-bit recreations of iconic pop culture characters), etc.