yogiviewmaster.jpg yogiviewmaster.jpg
Cartoon Culture

Hanna-Barbera in 3D

Yogi Bear

Just because a drawn-character is translated into 3D, doesn’t mean it needs to look unappealing, ugly and clumsy. These vintage View-master reels of Hanna-Barbera characters posted by Bob Logan are a good example of how to translate 2D designs into appealing 3D forms.

(Thanks, Will)

  • Thanks. These are f’in cool! Would that everything looked this fantastic. I’m saving them to my desktop and keeping them for a day that I need something beautiful to look at.

  • I have same style viewmaster reels of real 3d Peanuts characters and really enjoy them.

  • They looks like the results you would get if Hanna-Barbera collaborated with George Pal. Very nice.

  • thank you for the great (great) memory! I had them all…and was always so in awe of how they look “in real life!”

  • Dano

    i think that creating a good rendering a character in 3-d isn’t the challenge (except for popeye. yikes!). half of attraction is motion. how attractive would this rendering of yogi be if he were bouncing around in a 3-d short? i’m not sure the attractiveness would easily survive the transition from still image to video.

  • I had all of these reels growing up: The Flintstones, Peanuts, Quick Draw, Yogi, etc.

  • Paul N

    The set just below “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” was a favorite of mine growing up. Very cool to see it again.

  • Jason

    The new CGI version of Mickey in the show “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” is far better than the version you showed, thank goodness. He looks great now.

    Probably the worst 2D-to-3D translation I’ve ever seen was in those Jimmy Neutron/Fairly Oddparents crossovers (abominations) Nick ran some time back. The Fairly Oddparents and Timmy Turner looked absolutely horrible. True, the 2D character designs aren’t too hot to begin with, but the characters were unrecognizable (and ugly!) when translated to 3D.

  • I had a set of “Flintstones” reels. At age 6 or 7 I didn’t know there was the term “off-model” but I knew something didn’t look right.

    However, I enjoyed them and I always marveled that they got Fred’s pedal-powered helicopter to hang in mid-air long enough to shoot the picture.

  • Wow, these were the BEST. Not creepy Tom Hanks-y at all. Didn’t Chris Savino and Dave Smith try to do a (bowling) dream sequence like this in Cartoon Network’s Flintstones: “On the Rocks” movie (I can’t remember if they even aired it)…?

  • Tom D.

    Why didn’t he post BOTH images side by side so that we could cross our eyes and “free view” them in 3-D?

  • John A

    I had all of these and the Flintstone ones. Beautiful stuff.All the studios had 3-d diaramas of their characters. I had a couple of Warners ones and a lot of Disney veiwmaster reels. Does anyone have any history of were they were made and who sculpted them. that had to be the coolest job in the world. (at least I thought so when I was five.)

  • Classic stuff with fun designs and great staging.

    And speaking of staging, who else noticed that Yogi’s portrait “flips” from setup to setup; sometimes it’s facing right, sometimes it’s facing left — whatever worked best for the scene’s staging.

    I wonder if the scuptor came up with the setups, or was he working from drawings by a cartoonist? And if so, who? That portrait-painter looks like the design work of John Carey, who occasionally drew the H-B characters for Western Publishing, but who did a lot of Woody Woodpeckers for the same publisher. It also reminds me of the style of Karren “Kay” Wright, who also drew many early H-B funnybooks, as well as the Carl Barks-written HUEY, DEWEY AND LOUIE, JUNIOR WOODCHUCKS series. I worked with Kay at H-B in the 80s and 90s; he was a great guy who really put the “gentle” in “gentleman”.

  • Jen

    Those are very nice. Now why can’t there be more things like this (I even heard that they’re going to “update” Mickey Mouse again)?

  • Where do people find these? These look a lot better than what they make nowadays with CG. Characters like Yogi and Huckleberry Hound need to show charm and personality, which Computer tends to undermine when trying to re-adapt character designs.

  • I had all these too; and I still do. I wish I knew how to scan them, I would like to see side-by-side freeview images. We can’t see these figures moving around in 3D, but we can look forward to Coraline, real 3D puppets shot in stereo 3D.

  • Michael

    How much do you want to bet that if these were released yesterday by Dreamworks, Amid would be complaining about the rape of an artform?

  • Stanley Martin

    John Carey was a genius. Worked in Clampett’s Warner unit and was an unsung cog in the animation beast for years.

  • Jimchig

    I had a bunch as well, all long gone.

    I recall the best of the 3-D selection, seriously, was the Little Black Sambo disc. It was wonderfully crafted, a joy to behold. I see a few of them out there on e-bay and other places going for $80 and up.

    No bother – at least I got a chance to see them originally!

  • Does anyone know how the heck he scanned those tiny images ?

  • red pill junkie

    I had a few of those. They were magical. Still are :-)

  • Gerard de Souza

    These are indeed beautiful. I have all these from my childhood and reacquired. The storyboard to the Yogi drumming was on cartoon network’s site years ago. When I was a kid these media, comics, view master, give-a-show,etc. were ways I could have animation whenever I wanted.
    I loved these 3d sculpts becasue it took advantage of the 3d illusion. I always felt a little ripped off when they were drawn as they looked 3d but as cardboard standees.
    You can’t compare this to 3d animation (apples and oranges), this is a still medium characters posed in a tableau…..I would benture to say new sculpts could be made to cheat to the camera. I remeber the ‘board I was mentioning and the resulting 3d is identical in compostion to the board.

    Does anyone know who did these, who made them, where they were made, what happened to these scuplts?

  • Anybody else scroll down and see his photos of the animatronics removed from Disney’s late, lamented 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride?

  • MAC

    The design work was done by Gene Hazelton. I have photocopies of his original drawings for all of these reels.

  • Andy S. — That stop-motion dream sequence in Cartoon Network’s FLINTSTONES ON THE ROCKS was sensational! It did air around 1999 or 2000. The special featured the great FLINTSTONES character designs by Craig Kellman. I wonder why it was not included as an extra on one of THE FLINTSTONES DVD sets. WB needs to release that special!

  • Gerard de Souza
  • Wow I’ve still got this, I inherited it from an older sibling. I also have Flintstones 3D puppet View Masters! I’ve been very near sighted since I was young, so I loved View Master because I could see far away things in focus.

  • Ron

    Andy S.:they did do a 3D sequence in that Cartoon Network Flintstone’s special. Screen Novelties is the studio that made it. To me, everything Screen Novelties does looks like one of these View Finders brought to life. So to answer Dano’s point, it is possible to keep it looking that good in a moving image. It just has to be done right.

  • Oh man! I love these sooo much!! As a kid I really enjoyed the Bugs and Daffy ones they made too!!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I think a lot of people my age or over have grown up on these View-Master treasures we didn’t think about at the time the effort put into creating those 3-D models. And yes, “Flintstones on the Rocks” did have that bowling dream segment in it that replicated this perfectly (now if only Cartoon Network would show that again). I remember a Tiny Toon Adventures episode where a similar gag was done to have someone show a character what was happening through a View-Master with the TTA characters rendered in that fashion (though I don’t think they had been View-Master reels rendered in that fashion for a long time).

  • Andrea

    Longtime reader, first time commenter!

    I don’t know who specifically sculpted for the H-B View-master reels, but I do know a little about one of the artists who did work on some of the other properties, including Bambi, Rudolph, Woody Woodpecker and Bugs Bunny: Martha Armstrong Hand. She was a noted doll sculptor for Mattel, among other things.


    The book Hagen-Renaker Pottery: Horses and Other Figurines, by Nancy Kelly (Schiffer Publishing) has a short chapter devoted to her, and includes a picture of her working on one of the Bambi scenes. I believe a website set up by her family has more pictures of her work for View-master.

  • PorkyMills


    Like many others, I’m against the translation of 2D characters into the 3D dimension, but that’s solely due to the handling of the character. Most of these movies are made for a quick buck, and thus neglect any artistic integrity. But having a good character model is half of the work. As they say, the devil is in the details, and the major perception of how true the character is to his 2D roots is still in the animation.

  • MAC said: “The design work was done by Gene Hazelton. I have photocopies of his original drawings for all of these reels.”

    Wow, Gene was my mentor and hero when I was a kid growing up in San Diego (I’ve got a photo of him here that’s about six inches to the left of my computer monitor) but he never mentioned doing the Viewmaster stuff. I’m not surprised, though. Gene worked in features, theatrical shorts, TV titles (I LOVE LUCY), TV cartoon series, commercials, syndicated comic strips, syndicated comic panels, comic books (but only one, KID CARROTS), limited edition cels, fine art, even greeting cards.

    Not to make a pun, but Gene was a genius, pure and simple.

    I’d sure love to see those boards!

  • Eric Goldberg

    I believe the great H-B stuff was also the work of Martha Armstrong-Hand. My wife Susan knew her before her passing, and I met her a couple of times as well. She was a longtime friend of Kent Melton, who first turned me on to her; he and Susan knew her primarily through her doll work, although she shared with Kent the unique ability to sculpt a character with the same life as a frame from an animation scene. In fact, Susan wanted her to give a lunchtime lecture at Disney when they were first embarking on 3D (the upper management at the time wasn’t interested…). I showed all of her work to the animators at the beginning of our 3D Genie project for Tokyo Disney Seas for exactly the same reasons posted here: THIS is the way to do a 2D character in 3D. Aside from her unbelievably good sculpts (the Bugs Bunny and Quick Draw sets are a marvel), Martha only used textures where necessary – a felt coat for Porky, a silk shirt for Donald – and left the rest matte. We used this approach on the Genie animation, which allowed us to be as squashy-stretchy on the character as possible, instead of having to worry about what happens to skin pores or fur when you distort for cartoony movement. And incidentally, she was the widow of David Hand, director of Thru the Mirror, Snow White, Bambi, etc. She was a great lady, and I humbly acknowledge her huge inspiration here.

  • David Cuny

    The ViewMaster images are great! A couple of years ago I went searching for my favorite reels. Huckleberry Hound on the Moon was my all-time favorite. In my search, I also ran across the Martha Armstrong Hand photos – very cool. (Google is your friend).

    After some experimentation, I found I got the best results simply by aiming my digital camera through the viewfinder. Unfortunately, the quality of the reels is nothing compared to what Bob posted.

    As others have probably noted – the guys at Screen Novelties specifically aimed for the “ViewMaster look” when putting together the Flinstones animation.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Great link to a great blog. I wonder what ever happened to the sculptures used in those view masters? Jerry probably owns them! : )

  • Fausto G

    Really great article! One the reasons that I think that sculpture models look better than most cg modes because they call for more attention to detail. For me the only CG movie that has done the 2D to 3D translation perfectly was Horton Hears a Who. The characters don’t look ugly or messy but really show how much devotion the artists put into the characters

  • ZAR

    Hm. That painter almost looks like Isnogud!


  • I have always LOVED these things! Amid has pointed out to perhaps the finest and most appealing kind of 3D renderings of 2D characters. If anyone could use computer modelling techniques to match this kind of quality (which Pixar did, and to a degree, Disney), I’d be pleasantly surprised.

    When I saw these ViewMaster reels as a kid, I thought they used toys to make them! If they sold those models as toys, I’d have loved to get them. But otherwise, this 3D model work has always impressed me, from famous cartoon/comic-strip characters to dinosaurs! I could somehow picture these coming to life in stop-motion.

    One of the Peanuts books has pictures from a couple of ViewMaster PEANUTS reels, and I was impressed with how the characters were rendered.

  • PorkyMills got it right; there isn’t anything wrong with rendering most characters three dimensionally. The problem lies in producers with lack of vision. Just look at the maquettes on display for Robert Benchley to admire in The Reluctant Dragon for evidence of how good they can look in 3D.

  • Dano made a great point. It isn’t the design of a lot of CG characters that make them fail in animation, it’s the animation. It’s a fairly ridiculous argument to make that this still represents a level of quality that isn’t being produced now, when it comes to 3D characters. This is coming from someone who is particularly disposed to not liking most 3D stuff to begin with. I just get annoyed when people talk about how so much better things were done in the past when the correlation they are trying to make is so weak.

  • Keith Paynter

    As “off-model” as they may appear, they are actually stunning, and even look like 3D without the Viewmaster (never had one myself, but lots of my friends did in my younger days). Kinda makes me wish for a H/B classic cartoon in Rankin-Bass style – now, THAT, I would drop 10 bucks to see in a movie theater!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Heh, being reminded I did know where one could watch that animation from “Flintstones on the Rocks”, literally the entire thing was up on YouTube until recently (the guy made it pretty hard by putting the show’s title in initials as the header). At times like this I’m glad to have saved it as mp4’s while I had the chance.

  • Zavkram

    I never owned any reels with the H-B characters, just the ones with Peanuts characters, Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker… still, the pic posted here did bring back some fond memories.

    Do they even make view-master viewers and reels anymore?

  • Chris Sobieniak

    They still make View-Masters the last I saw, but I hardly see much of the classic reels anymore, usually replaced with current junk that isn’t done in the 3-D puppet style as it had been (or the days when you had reels on many topics and places to explore I used to love browsing through). Anyone remember the GAF Talking View-Masters? :-)

  • Jesse

    These are great. I can’t imagine what a challenge it would be to animate these in CG without ruining the integrity of the design. Were I to take a crack at it, I’d almost be tempted to give it that “bumpy,” stroboscopic look that I love in stop-motion. Good stuff!

  • These are great, it’d be great to see some stop motion involving some hannah barbera characters