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CGISeries

CGI opening title sequence Season 13-18

Season19openingtitlecard

CGI opening title sequence Season 19 onwards

The CGI Series refers to the television series as it was produced from the twelfth season onwards (2008-present). In Late 2008, HiT Entertainment announced that Thomas and Friends would be undergoing a radical change in production. The company announced its intent to relocate production of the series from the United Kingdom to Canada. With this change, HIT announced that future Thomas productions would be animated with Computer-Generated Imagery(CGI).

Background

At the time of when Thomas and Friends first appeared on television for the first 15-20 years technology was still improving. By the late 2000s and Early 2010s, famous kid shows like Bob The Builder And More were turned into CGI. In 2008, technology was better, so Hit Entertainment decided to turn Thomas and friends into CGI. In 2009-10, The whole show was completely switched to CGI. HiT Entertainment's Senior Vice President of Production and Programming, Christopher Skala, stated that the change, aside from budgetary reasons, was intended to convey more emotion and flexibility through the stories. Skala claimed that, of his focus group, even those who felt that Thomas, as an institution, should not be changed in this way ultimately responded positively to the demonstration of the new animation techniques.

Twelfth season

As part of a transitional period, the twelfth season would see computer-animated faces and characters superimposed over the live-action environment of earlier seasons. Characters could now display a variety of new expressions and their mouths would move in sync with the storyteller's voice when they are talking, whilst their thinking is evident when their mouths aren't moving in sync! People, animals, and certain other characters became wholly CGI elements.

This change was made possible by motion-capture animation. When a character's face needed to move, the moulded faces of earlier seasons would be replaced by a target, to which the computer could attach a face in post-production. The animation for this and future seasons would be provided by Nitrogen Studios, based in Canada.

This season saw the return of old favorites such as Duck, Oliver, Toad, and Stepney.

Characters Introduced:

Highlights:

  • The first season to have only twenty episodes.
  • The first season to use CGI elements.
  • The last season to use models and clay faces.


Hero of the Rails

The first feature of the overhauled series was Hero of the Rails, released in autumn of 2009. Trailers, DVD covers and a music video called Go, Go Thomas all from this feature-length special were shown on YouTube prior to its official release. Book merchandise tying into the special has also appeared on online retailers. It introduced three new characters and a new location - the Sodor Steamworks.

Characters Introduced:

  • Victor, a red tank engine who is in charge of the Sodor Steamworks.
  • Kevin, a yellow four-wheeled mobile crane who belongs to the Sodor Steamworks.
  • Hiro, an old Japanese engine, whom Thomas helped restore.
  • Hiro's Friends, two mysterious engines mentioned in a story told by Hiro.

Highlights:

  • The first production using entirely CGI animation.

Thirteenth season

The thirteenth season was the first season in 2010 to feature computer-animation exclusively. Two images were originally found - two recreations of scenes from the eleventh season episode Thomas and the Stinky Cheese.

Characters Introduced:

Highlights:

Notes:

  • Billy was supposed to appear in the thirteenth season, but he was replaced by Charlie, likely because of the change from models to CGI.

Misty Island Rescue

Misty Island Rescue is a special that was released on September 7th, 2010 in the US and October 11th, 2010 in the UK.

Characters introduced:

Highlights:

Fourteenth season

The fourteenth season is the second to use CGI exclusively. It began airing on October the 11th, 2010 in the UK and in November in the US.

Characters introduced:

Highlights:

Fifteenth season

The fifteenth season is the third to use CGI exclusively. It began airing on March 1st, 2011 in the UK and on April 2nd in the US. The twenty episode season was supposed to air after the release of Day of the Diesel, but was brought forward for unknown reasons. Because of this Belle, Flynn, Dart, Den, Paxton and Norman make their first appearances in the series. Although it was their first appearance, they would not officially be introduced until Day of the Diesels Rupert Degas also joins the voice cast.

Characters Introduced:

Highlights:

Notes:

Day of the Diesels

Day of the Diesels is a special that was released in September 2011 and officially introduced new engines and a new location - the Sodor Dieselworks.

Characters introduced:

  • Sidney, a forgetful and absent minded shunter.

Characters officially introduced:

  • Belle, a blue tank engine with a brass bell and water cannons.
  • Flynn, a road-rail fire engine who joins the Search and Rescue Team.
  • Den, a stately Diesel who works at the Sodor Dieselworks.
  • Dart, a clumsy Diesel who works with Den at the Sodor Dieselworks.
  • Norman, Dennis' twin.
  • Paxton, a gullible shunter who likes steam engines.

Sixteenth season

The sixteenth season first aired in February and March 2012 in the UK and April and June in the US. Steven Kynman joins the voice cast as Peter Sam (albeit uncredited in the UK broadcast) and William Hope is added to the UK voice cast for the first time. This was the last season animated by Nitrogen Studios.


Highlights

Characters introduced:

  • Stafford, a wooden battery-electric shunting engine.

Owen and Merrick both cameoed in The Christmas Tree Express.

Blue Mountain Mystery

Blue Mountain Mystery is a special that was released in 2012. The Skarloey Railway engines feature heavily. Michael Legge joins the voice cast as Luke and David Bedella takes over the voice of Victor in the UK dub, taking over from Matt Wilkinson. This was the last special animated by Nitrogen Studios.

Characters introduced:

Characters officially introduced:

King of the Railway

King of the Railway is a special that was released in September 2013. This special marks the return of Jack. Bob Golding and David Menkin joined the voice cast, although the latter went uncredited. Four of the new characters were first seen in the seventeenth season. This is the first special animated by Arc Productions.

Characters introduced:

Characters officially introduced:

Notes:

  • Colin was originally going to appear in King of the Railway, and concept art of the film by Guru Studios shows that he would have been based at Ulfstead Castle.

Seventeenth season

The seventeenth season started airing in June 2013. This season is the first to use a new writing style for the series and is also the first animated by Arc Productions. As ten episodes of this season were released ahead of King of the Railway, this season marks the first appearances of Millie, Connor, Caitlin and Sir Robert Norramby and their voice actors Miranda Raison, Jonathan Forbes, Rebecca O'Mara, and Mike Grady respectively. Although this is their first appearance, they would not be officially introduced until King of the Railway. Rupert Degas also left the series.

Highlights

Characters introduced:

Tale of the Brave

Tale of the Brave is a special released in September 2014. It was the second special to feature animation from Arc Productions. Clive Mantle and Olivia Colman joined the voice cast as Gator and Marion respectively.

Characters introduced:

  • Timothy, an oil burning engine who works for the China Clay Company.
  • Marion, an eccentric steam shovel.
  • Gator, a steam engine with a sloping boiler who resembles an alligator.
  • Reg, a scrapyard crane.

Highlights:

Eighteenth season

The eighteenth season began airing in late August 2014 in the UK and was released in November in the US. It was the second season animated by Arc Productions.

Characters introduced:

Highlights:

The Adventure Begins

The Adventure Begins is a forty-four minute special that was released in March 2015 in the US and July 2015 in the UK.

Characters introduced:

  • Judy and Jerome, the breakdown train used to rescue James.
  • Glynn, one of the Fat Controller's "coffee pot" engines.

Highlights:

Nineteenth season

The nineteenth season began airing in autumn 2015, and was the third season animated by Arc.

Characters introduced:

Highlights:

  • Nigel Pilkington (taking over the role of Percy) and Rasmus Hardiker (voicing Philip) join the voice cast.
  • Rob Rackstraw takes over the role of Toby in the UK.
  • Lord Callan returns.
  • Trevor's first appearance since the fifteenth season.

Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure

Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure was the 2015 special.

Characters introduced:

  • Mike, a red tender engine working on the miniature railway.
  • Rex, a green tender engine working on the miniature railway.
  • Bert, a blue tender engine working on the miniature railway.
  • Ryan, a purple tank engine who arrives to help build a new line.
  • Skiff, a railboat formerly owned by Sailor John.
  • Sailor John, a sailor obsessed with finding buried treasure.
  • Captain Calles, a pirate lived on Sodor
  • The Thin Clergyman, a thin clergyman

Highlights:

Twentieth season

The twentieth season began airing in 2016. It is the fourth season and final season to be animated by Arc before they were purchased by Jam Filled Entertainment after filing for bankruptcy. Jam Filled completed five episodes of this season.

Characters Introduced:

Highlights:

  • Tracy-Ann Oberman joins the voice cast, and assumes the role of Daisy from Teresa Gallagher.
  • Trevor's first speaking role since the ninth season.
  • Jeremy's first appearance since the twelfth season.

The Great Race

The Great Race is the 2016 special.

Characters introduced:

Highlights:

Twenty-first Season!

Season 21 began airing in September 2017. It is the first season to be animated by Jam Filled Entertainment.

Characters introduced:

  • Hannah - a new coach who temporarily replaces Henrietta.
  • Carly - a new, shiny crane at Brendam Docks.
  • The Sea Serpents - a two-headed mythical creature mentioned in a story told by Salty.

Highlights:

Journey Beyond Sodor!

Journey Beyond Sodor is a special released in 2017.

Characters introduced:

  • Beresford - a rolling gantry crane
  • Theo - an experimental railway traction engine
  • Lexi - an experimental cab-forward tender engine
  • Frankie - a diesel shunter
  • Hurricane - an experimental tank engine with ten driving wheels
  • Merlin - an experimental tender engine fitted with three stovepipe chimneys
  • The Log Engine - a locomotive who was built with log wheels

Highlights

Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie!

Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie was set on July 20th, 2018 (UK)

Characters introduced:

Highlights

Twenty-second season!

Season 22 began airing sometime in late 2018. It is the first season to go under a different name, being Big World! Big Adventures!, and will mark the first major "reboot" of the show since the switch to CGI in the thirteenth season, back in 2010.

Characters introduced:

Twenty-third season!

Season 23 - aired in the United Kingdom and the United States from Thomas and Friends. It was released on May 2019.

Characters introduced:

  • Gabriela - a tank engine who works at Gunabara Bay
  • Lorenzo - an Italian tender engine from Verona
  • Gustavo - an electric engine lives in Brazil
  • Beppe - a coach works with Lorenzo
  • Darcy - a boring machine with an added cab
  • Brenda - a blue bulldozer
  • Ester - a red and white excavator
  • Stefano - a super cruiser
  • Dame Bella - a famous Italian opera singer

Highlights:

  • Miss Jenny returns.

See More!

External links!

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