Croatian animation has been influenced since its beginnings by the partial isolation of Yugoslavia from the rest of the world. There were no specialized books.
At first the amateur authors were captivated by the colourful world of Walt Disney. However, they soon began looking round for other sources of inspiration. One of them was Preston Blair's book, "How To Do animation" (1949) and particularly the puppet films of the Czech director Jiří Trnka that are characterized by a folk colourfulness which was close to the traditions of the country and evidenced its individuality. This is exactly what the Croatian artists were looking for to include in their films.
The beginnings of the Zagreb School of Animated Film in the 1950s are connected with several features that are evident even today. One differential feature was so-called "reduced" or "limited" animation. It became dominant due to the lack of quality material for cel animation – a special animation foil that was very rare at that time. To make a classic animated film you needed to create 12 – 15 000 drawings; the "limited" animation managed with 4 – 5 000 drawings. They had to be reduced to a minimum without losing the required dynamism of motion. They used delicate differences in the portrayal; details designating the action and the precise timing of individual sequences helped the overall process. Tendencies to avant-garde graphics and image techniques (e.g. collage) showed. The specific animation method brought new freedom, originality and authorial invention into their work. Animation was liberated – the way of portraying a given reality became the creator of the reality itself.
Croatian animation originally focused on the production of commercials, with satirical and allegorical films prevailing occasionally. They reacted to everyday life events or the political situation (the defection of Yugoslavia from Stalinism and later, the break-up of the Soviet Union). Humour and caricature were replaced by darkness and seriousness referring to the negative aspects of human life – monotony, the struggle of man, nature and technology, irreversible fate as well as certain predestination and the tendency to extricate oneself from an invariable collective. The authors took turns at various creative positions and they worked with each other on projects; a director became an animator – at another time an animator became a director. Despite this collective co-operation, originality was always the most important aspect that everybody wanted to bring to his own film.
Extreme individualism together with a reflection on current trends in graphics and a tendency to differ from traditional forms and techniques, is one of the distinctive features that have been set up. It is interesting that predominantly short films with no dialogue have been made. From the beginning of Croatian animation up to today, image and sound have been the pivotal forms of expression, not the spoken word.
The Zagreb School of Animated Film has left a lasting legacy in many ways. An emphasis on originality and uniqueness, the popularity of experiments and the search for new methods has outlasted its creators. Modern animation techniques, such as 2D and 3D animation and computer graphics rank among them. It is still important that the personality of the director is visible in the work; current political and sociological problems are the most common themes (consumer society, feminism, etc.), satire and humour have remained the essential means of expression
The progress of technology and computer graphics took place in the last two decades of the 20th century. The development of animated film has quickened and become simpler. Founding small production companies (Kenges, Bonobo, Lemonade 3D, Studio 9) is a modern trend. They use animation for graphics and advertisements, but they also support the production of short animated films. Although larger projects still do not manage without the support of the Ministry of Culture or the city.
— Kristyna Bzenecka