The first color cartoon was Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in 1911, which McCay hand tinted. This process of hand tinting each frame was far too monotonous to be adopted by studios, so color cartoons did not truly come out until Disney teamed up with Technicolor.

The introduction of color in the Disney cartoons was a big step forward for the studio. Disney used the “three-strip” technique to offer a range of colors that could be used. After negotiating a two-year exclusive contract for the Disney studio to use this process, competition between the Disney studio and other studios such as the Fleischer Studios and the Ub Iwerks studio. Competitors had to adopt the two-color Technicolor systems, find a more competitive process such as Cinecolor, or shut out.

Flowers and Trees was the first Silly Symphony in color and was a huge success. It won the first Academy Award for Animated Film. Three Little Pigs followed Flowers and Trees, and after that all Disney Silly Symphony shorts were made in color. The Flying Mouse is a Silly Symphonies, which through the use of color, portrayed the message of “Do your best and be yourself and life will smile on you!” In such a case, the use of color was important in evoking emotions and building different moods, tones and atmospheres. In the same way, The Band Concert, which is the first Mickey Mouse in color, emphasized Mickey’s facial expressions that are seen through the frustrated conductor. Thus, Color shifted the audiences’ attention from concentrating on what was wrong in these cartoons to the actual effects of this innovation.

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