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Updated Mar 15, 2013 at 12:08PM EDT by amanda b..

Added Mar 30, 2010 at 12:18AM EDT by Watcher.

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Untoons are three-dimensional illustrations of cartoon and video game characters with photorealistic details while maintaining cartoon-like proportions. The “untooning” process typically involves compositing images of facial features over a 3D rendering of the subject. Untoons can be seen as a digital extension of hyperrealism[13], a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph.


An extension of the broader concept of Alternate Universe fan art, the term “Untoon” was coined by a graphic designer and blogger known as Jax Pixeloo[14] in early 2008. The first example was posted to Pixeloo’s blog[1] on March 15th, 2008, depicting a hyperrealistic Super Mario (shown below). The art maintained Mario’s large eyes and oversized mustache while making the character look more humanized.


Over the course of the next several months, Pixeloo uploaded additional Untoon artwork including Homer Simpson[2], Jessica Rabbit[3], Stewie Griffin[4] and Nico Bellic.[5] In April of 2008, a blogger by the name of Mataleone[6] created a large set of his own Untoons. Additionally, groups and artists dedicated to untoons have sprung up on many photo and art sharing websites including Flickr[7] and deviantART.[8] Throughout 2008 and 2009, his work was featured on personal blogs[15], gaming humor site Halolz[17] and TrendHunter.[18] In June 2008, Worth1000[16] held a Photoshop contest, soliticing photos in this style without calling them untoons.

On YouTube

Due to the positive response to this art technique, Pixeloo created a time lapse video (shown below, left) detailing the first hour of his process, showing how he took a photo of actress Angelina Jolie to help him create the untooned Jessica Rabbit. Following suit, a handful of other artists have uploaded their own time lapse videos (shown below, right) to illustrate their Photoshop process.

Notable Examples

Homer Simpson
Charlie Brown
Peter Griffin

Bart Simpson
Buzz Lightyear
Naruto Uzumaki

Gabe (Penny Arcade)
Tycho (Penny Arcade)

Mudkip (*)
Epic FAIL Guy (*)

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