The enduring iteration of “Take on Me” was actually the group’s fourth attempt at the song... When “Take on Me” was released in October 1984, it sold 300 copies... Barron instructed the animators to use a technique called rotoscoping, which amounts to tracing animation over live-action footage... It took four months for Patterson and Reckinger to draw a total of 2000 sketches that would be used in the video... When the rotoscoped version of “Take on Me” debuted on MTV in 1985, it became a sensation, helping the single hit the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. MTV bestowed 11 Video Music Awards nominations on the song, of which it won eight.
More information at Mental Floss.