Live action is a form of cinematography or videography that uses photography instead of animation. Some works combine live action with animation to create a live-action animated feature film. Live action is used to define film, video games or similar visual media.[1] Photorealistic animation, particularly modern computer animation, is sometimes erroneously described as "live action", as in the case of some media reports about Disney's remake of the traditionally animated The Lion King from 1994.[2][3] According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, live action involves "real people or animals, not models, or images that are drawn, or produced by computer".[4]

Live action movies (such as A Fistful of Dollars) use photography to depict settings and characters as they appear in life. In this example, Clint Eastwood and Marianne Koch appear in a real-world location



As the normal process of making visual media involves live action, the term itself is usually superfluous. However, it makes an important distinction in situations in which one might normally expect animation, such as when the work is adapted from a video game, or from an animated cartoon.[citation needed]

The phrase "live action" also occurs within an animation context to refer to non-animated characters: in a live-action/animated film such as Space Jam, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, or Mary Poppins in which humans and cartoons co-exist. In this case, the "live-action" characters are the "real" actors, such as Michael Jordan, Bob Hoskins and Julie Andrews, as opposed to the animated "actors", such as Roger and Jessica Rabbit.[citation needed]

As use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in films has become a major trend, some critics, such as Mark Langer, have discussed the relationship between live action and animation. New films that use computer-generated special-effects can not be compared to live-action films using cartoon characters because of the perceived realism of both styles combined.[5]

Live action vs. animation


In producing a movie, both live action and animation have their own pros and cons. Unlike animation, live action involves the photography of actors and actresses, as well as sets and props making the movie seem personal and as close to reality as possible. The only drawback is one's budget. On the other hand, animation works well in conveying abstract ideas but it generally takes much longer to produce.[6]

See also



  1. ^ "Merriam Webster Online Dictionary". Merriam-Webster. October 15, 2023.
  2. ^ "Get It Right: Disney Is Doing An Animated—Not Live-Action—Remake of 'The Lion King'". Cartoon Brew. September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  3. ^ "No, Disney Isn't Making a 'Live-Action' Lion King Movie – Mandatory". Mandatory. September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  4. ^ "live action Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary". Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  5. ^ McMahan, Alison (August 21, 2014). "Hollywood's Transition to CGI". The Films of Tim Burton: Animating Live Action in Contemporary Hollywood. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 978-0-13-210475-3. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  6. ^ "Animation vs Live Action: Which Makes the Best Corporate Video?". Retrieved March 23, 2018.