Toon Santa first appeared in 2002, but his roots in traditional and stop motion animation began long before that.
Some History About Toon Santa
If you grew up in the 1960s in North America, you may have watched the wonderful early stop motion productions of a company called Rankin-Bass. Rankin-Bass was founded by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass on September 14, 1960, as Videocraft International. The majority of Rankin/Bass' work, including all of their "Animagic" stop-motion productions, were created in Japan. Throughout the 1960s, the Animagic productions were headed by Japanese stop-motion animator Tadahito Mochinaga, who was involved in studio work in both China and Japan. The intellectual property is now owned by different companies, following the closure of Rankin-Bass in 1987. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was arguably their most famous stop-motion production.
Stop Motion to Digital 3D Animation
Stop motion animation didn't disappear with Rankin-Bass. Will Vinton Studios later created the 'claymation' form of stop motion and became reknowned for The California Raisins television commercial and over 35 films. In 2002, Will Vinton Studios was taken over by way of investment and later became Laika Entertainment. Laika Entertainment still uses stop-motion methods to create animated films.
Meshbox Design is a digital production group of Proactive International, and the design team members at Meshbox Design are big fans of traditional stop motion animation as a precursor to 3d animation. The animated doll stop motion style of Rankin-Bass especially is warm and evocative of warm family friendly entertainment. So in 2002, Lynn Fredricks came up with an original design specification to create a warm, family friendly and original 3d Santa Claus character. This character would not be a claymation style character, but exhibit a more material warmth. The first Toon Santa appeared in 2002.