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Animation-wise, what have been the biggest improvements from S1 till now?


Azureth
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Diverse background ponies. Back in season 1 there were dozens of Lyras and Shoeshines statically standing in the background, often virtually motionless. Now there are so many great designs (that, unfortunately, no one notices), and backgrounds feel more alive.

  • Brohoof 2
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Manes and tails, faces, body movements...

There's a lot more moving parts on ponies now, as compared to S1, and I like that we have more varied types of pony bodies rather than only two or three

Not to mention there's a lot of fun background pony designs to look at instead of having six of the same pony in one scene

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They are more capable of using smooth shading on the characters than they were in the first season. Compare the scene in the dark on the train in "Over a Barrel" compared to later episodes. Even in today's S8 premiere, I found it amazing how they shaded Twilight and Spike during the EEA meeting. It looked as good as anything they did in Toonboom in the movie.

Even though didn't do it as often as they do now, you can go as far back as S2 and see they were making great strides in lighting effects. One of the most awe-inspiring moments to this day is the effect they did when Twilight lit her horn to light the cave at the start of "A Canterlot Wedding, pt 2".

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  • 3 months later...

They’re getting better at the backgrounds. Take a look at the purple hued daybreak in Flutter Brutter where Zephyr Breeze was complaining about rising early, or Harmonizing Heights and Seaquestria in Surf And/Or Turf, the vividness of the entirety of Secrets and Pies, or the smooth rotating effect of the girls in the song in Fame and Misfortune… I could go on and on.

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