Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Had A Secret Hidden In Its Animation
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse won the 2019 Oscar for being that year's movie Twitter users would riot over if it didn't win, and its compelling animation style received particular praise. For those shameful few readers who haven't seen it, it's about Miles Morales taking up the Spider-Man mantle while encountering other, more experienced spider-folk from parallel universes.
Our knowledge of animation essentially peaked at making stick figures dance in the corners of our math textbooks, but we can tell you that most of it is made at 24 frames per second. Creating a different image for each frame, which is typical today, is called animating "on ones," while holding the same image for two frames is doing it "on twos." If you grew up watching the kind of Spider-Man cartoons that were made in sweatshops to cram around breakfast cereal commercials, those were often made cheaply on threes or fours, hence the stilted look and long shots of static characters talking through their masks.
Spider-Verse, however, used a mix of twos and ones to give the animation a "crunchy" feel, which we believe is a technical term for "not looking like shit, but still making you nostalgic for the days where you ate Captain Crunch in front of cartoons all morning." But the real clever bit is when it uses different speeds to suggest Miles' inexperience. For example, one scene sees Miles and Peter Parker swinging together to escape some goons. Peter is animated on ones to make his actions look natural and refined, while Miles is animated on twos to make him look like a laggy NPC. After all, he's still figuring out his powers.