Cutout animation is a technique for producing animations by using flat characters, props and backgrounds cut from materials such as paper, card, stiff fabric or photgrahs. The world's earliest known animated feature films were cutout animations, which were made in Argentina by Quirino Cristiani, as is the world's earliest surviving animated feature. Thou todays, cutout-style animation is frequently produced using compute, with scanned images or vecto graphics taking the place of physically cut materials.
South Park is a notable example of this transition since it first episode was made with paper cutouts before switching to computer animation. California, animators and technical directors on the South Park TV show and feature film use high-end equipment: Silicon Graphics workstations running Alias|Wavefront's PowerAnimator software to create a virtual plane in 3D space on ,which "flat" computer-generated characters are animated. Even the texture of construction paper is applied in the computer, and that "no-platen" shadow look is achieved by separating the character's parts with a small layer of space as would occur in real cut-out animation The first South Park episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", aired on August 13, 1997.