Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

[Touchstone Pictures/Amblin Entertainment]

1988 Academy Award® Winner for Best Visual Effects.

1988 BAFTA Award Winner for Best Special Visual Effects.


Notable for combining traditional cell animation with miniatures, practical effects and live action with a level of seamless integration that had never been achieved before.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor: Ken Ralston
ILM Animation Director: Richard Williams
ILM Studios: San Francisco

Case Study

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Release Date: June 22, 1988

A toon hating detective is a cartoon rabbit's only hope to prove his innocence when he is accused of murder.

Boasting the most notable lineup of cartoon cast members in film history, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was a groundbreaking achievement in integrating 2D cartoon characters with live action stars including Christopher Lloyd and Bob Hoskins.

For Roger Rabbit, ILM’s optical department would have a workload of nearly 1,040 shot containing some 10,000 separate elements. For the first time, actors and their cartoon counterparts were seen interacting with each other – no simple feat. All of the live action was photographed in VistaVision (format) utilizing cameras that ILM’s camera department built in house and dubbed VistaFlex. This marked the first major feature since the 1950s to use the system. To give the 2D cell animation a more dimensional quality ILM would combine at minimum, three distinct elements for each animated object on screen.

Realistic shadow passes were also layered in through a technique Peg Hunter of Optical Team developed which involved rephotographing the tone elements onto clear-based stock. Roger Rabbit contains over 82,000 hand-drawn frame of animation created by a team of 300 animators in England and a second team of 75 working in Los Angeles.