I wanted to look into the making of an animated film to see the differences and how it is put together so I looked at the following clip of an all time favourite, Shrek.
The four Shrek films took only 10 years to make. During this time, technology was advanced dramatically allowing them to do things that's never been done and improve various aspects of the animation. Shrek forever after (the final instalment) was even made in 3D. When they made the first few Shrek films they struggled with Global Illumination. This is where sun rays shine through and highlight emotions of the scene.
By looking back in time you see the transformation of Shrek. You see him change from someone with little self confidence who was rude and abrupt to a loving husband and father.
One problem Dreamworks have faced since the beginning was hair. In the first film they really struggled to make hair move naturally and therefore they gave Fiona a simple hair do, where she had no single stands. Making the hair sway as she walked took tremendous time and effort. In the fourth film you see Fiona's hair blowing with the wind. This shows how technology has improved over time.
Faster machines allow the creators to make the animation better. If they are working to a timed schedule they wouldn't have the time to perfect every small bit however if the machines were faster they could get more done, to a higher standard in a smaller period of time.
Shrek (original) was given 5,000,000 render hours, Shrek 2 was given 10,000,000 render hours, Shrek the third was given 20,000,000 render hours and Shrek happily ever after was given 46,000,000 render hours. Render hours are the hours that are spent on the animation being made. This is a lot more time as the films went on. The scenes are more complex allowing them to make a more exciting film.