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Sunday 28th August 2016
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Why do cartoon characters only have three fingers?


Why do cartoon characters only have three fingers and a thumb? Why not four fingers like humans do?
Essey, Romford


** Definitive **
Name: Joseph, Crouch End
Qualification: Amateur Disney historian
Answer: In the early days of animation, they used to produce up to five shorts per month of five minutes each second of film has 24 frames in it. Which makes around 11,000 drawings per short. The pressure to produce these was huge and one less finger reduced their workload significantly. One other reason is that having a five-fingered hand would add a level of realism which would look ridiculous on many cartoon characters. And realism isn't really a big issue when discussing a talking mouse!

** Co-existing definitive **
Name: Michael, Montreal
Qualification: Professional animator with two Oscar nominations
Answer: Rubbish! It's nothing to do with the amount of drawing. It's just that you can get more expression with three fingers than you can with four. If you want them to point, three fingers works better than four.