The staggering CGI difference between Toy Story and Toy Story 4

CGI has come a long way since 1995. That's when Toy Story, the first ever entirely computer-generated feature film, was released (yep, it feels like it's been around for infinity). But while the first film still holds up today, the difference between that and 2019's Toy Story 4 is, at times, mind-blowing.

While the main characters themselves haven't always needed to look realistic (being, you know, toys), it's humans and animals that reveal the stark difference 24 years makes. Redditors recently compared a dog from Toy Story with a cat from Toy Story 4 – and the contrast is simply night and day. (Check out our best 3D modelling software if you're inspired to create your own masterpiece.)

CGI difference between Toy Story (1995) and Toy Story 4 (2019) from r/interestingasfuck

While Toy Story's dog looks decidedly PlayStation 2 with its overly smooth texture, bulbous nose and bizarrely two-dimensional eyes, Toy Story 4's cat looks entirely real. The lighting effects on the animal's fur are truly dazzling – if you told us the producers had dropped a real cat into the scene, we'd believe you. And as these incredible facts about the making of Toy Story 4 prove, it takes a lot of work to make CGI this realistic.

Of course, it's unsurprising that a film made in 2019 looks better than one made in 1995. But it's still fascinating to see a direct comparison that reveals how far things have come in just over two decades. "I remember thinking when the original Toy Story came out how good the animation was," one user comments. "It’s pretty incredible seeing them side by side."

Clearly it's possible to create incredible CGI at home these days – just take a look at any of the hilarious/terrifying deepfakes doing the rounds online. Indeed, any of our best computers for video editing ought to be able to create something that's more 2019 cat than 1995 dog.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.