Friday, November 16, 2007

A goofy review!

Just got back from the screening of Disney's new short "How to Hook up your Home Theater System" starring Goofy. It was fantastic, extremely refreshing to see that kind of 2D animation back on the silver screen! And from what the directors' said, there are many more 2D animation projects in the making! They even mentioned how they're roughly 4 shots away from finishing another 2D short, "The Ballad of Nessie" Anyways, here are some quick notes:

First here are the introductions:
Stevie Wermers-Skelton was a student at CalArts from 1992-1994 and has been at Disney ever since. And on a bit of a cool note, she's the first female at Disney to direct a cartoon.

Kevin Deters has been working at Disney since 1996. Also his first directorial debut.

History of the short:
When Pixar and Disney merged two years ago John Lassester and Ed Catmull made it a priority to bring back the short film division at Disney. With this short especially, they placed great importance on bringing back the classical Disney characters and of course traditional animation. The short is made with that mid-40's style(they really looked to the 1938-1942 era Goofy designs/animation)in mind. Throughout the making of the Goofy short, the team visited the Animation Research Lab and brought a lot of the original Goofy short artwork back, but with a digital retouch. During the presentation they showed photographs of the original cells from various Goofy shorts and then showed their own Goofy short stills to show how much influence the 40's era had on the new version.
Technical details:
The actual animation was divided pretty evenly between 6 animators(the big dogs! Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, Mark Henn, Dale Baer, etc.) and they alternated between actual paper animation(they showed some rough pencil paper animation that Mark Henn did for a particular sequence! It was mind-blowing, and then they said he did all of the animation on one-layer! Which stunned the crowd! When the short is actually released just look for that final dog-pile sequence after Goofy turns the TV on....ONE LAYER! AH! Also there are several classic Goofy references within that one scene as well, so I'm eager to go watch it frame-by-frame again whenever it's released.) So while some of the animators used paper and pencil animation, others animated using the Cintiq and the software titled, "Harmony" which was also used for clean-up. In the end, they composited the short digitally and at least for tonight, the short was shown on classic 35mm! We watched the short twice and it was very entertaining, wonderful animation! You could just tell the animators were exceedingly happy to be working in traditional animation again. Which worked beautifully with Goofy--part of the presentation included a DVD special that had interviews with all of the animators on the short, so as they put it, "Goofy is designed for maximum expression" and believe me, some of the poses Goofy pulled would have been impossible in CG! They used Photoshop to recreate a lot of the backgrounds and are really using the short film division to test out the best way of combining technological advances with traditional old-school animation techniques and hopefully, bring these into feature film projects(Like The Princess and the Frog). There are several shorts in the making and the directors ended the screening on this note, "It's a great time to be at Disney."

If you want another review, here's one that was posted awhile ago that I absolutely agree with! 2D animation is back at Disney!

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