Just skimmed through cartoonbrew and saw a bunch of interesting posts: UPA tribute at LACMA (in LA), Fri., March 30th @7:30; Mary Blair Golden Books being reprinted come Aug.; Glen Keane resigns/retires? from Disney after a long, industrious career-check out (http://www.arludik.com/oeuvresE/Keane/kean.htm); Butch Hartman launches “Yoo Toon”, another channel looking for animated content to produce; and this one: Pete Doctor heads up a series of flip books showcasing the animation of “The Nine Old Men”. I had to pre-order this one (you get a discount). So, a lot going on in the biz these days. -Waveybrain
The Archive Series—Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: The Flipbooks will release on September 18. This pet project of UP director Pete Docter is among the more unique book concepts, and pays tribute to the work of the Nine Old Men in the best way possible: by displaying scenes their animation work. Amazingly, none of the […]
I’ve probably mentioned this before: I remember getting my Tarzan book signed by Glen, and asking him to write something to inspire me. I thought I caught him off guard when he decided to write, “If it’s comes too easy you’re doing something wrong”. It’s been one of those thoughts ingrained in me ever since. Of course…I also spoke to Walt Peregoy about his art and approach. He didn’t contradict that. But, he said basically ‘just draw’. Much of his work wasn’t planned or over-thought, but spontaneous. I think when you’re very experienced that idea makes even more sense-trust yourself. Anyway, you can see Glen applying those ideas right here in this “pencil test”. -Waveybrain
And here’s a fun clip about Glen Keane’s process for improving the animation on Tangled. He would draw over the shot as a reference for the animators so they could push the animation to be as good as it can be.
I’m on a little binge of “The Nine Old Men” right now. There are some great Youtube clips about them. There’s a great story about how Brad Bird came to know Milt Kahl at a ripe young age. Basically, his parents encouraged him to aim high, so he contacted Milt Kahl and a mentorship and career ensued. It’s cool to see these heavy hitters in the same room shooting the breeze. You’ve got: Ron Clements, John Musker, Brad Bird, Andreas Deja, Glen Keane, Mark Henn, and Don Hahn. Meanwhile, somewhere outside you have misguided executives making decisions that will undermine their collective wisdom. One video out in Youtubeland is of Ollie Johnston toward the end of his life (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iozcM3ImV3o). He was a train lover, and his beloved little train had spent it’s whole life on a singular track going back and forth. As a tribute and a surprise, they arranged to have his train brought to Disneyland. He had already lost his wife and he died not long after that event. But he got a chance to take that train full circle. What a great send off.
Here’s another character I worked on (on the left), Jim Hawkins. The lead on him was John Ripa-another talented animator who attended CalArts. Ripa seemed to emulate Glen Keane in his animation. He had a similar way of drawing with heavy line work. I could be wrong, but I believe Glen mentored him. Glen was the lead on “Silver” to the right. That would have been an amazing character to work on-and a challenging one, because half of his body was done in CG, and required special attention to make it work properly. Jim Hawkins was also a character with a ton of footage in the film, which is why I went on to his character after being assigned to Sergio Pablos’, “Dr. Dilbert Doppler”. Jim was fun to draw also. After coming off of Doppler, he was easy. Doppler was much more complicated to draw. Sergio is an amazing animator and draughtsman. After the picture he went back to his home country of Spain to work. Later, he directed “Despicable Me” (I liked that one!). He is also a nice guy-a very focused person. You can tell by his attention to detail and interest in the follow up to his work. In other words, every line mattered to him-as it should. Although…there are other aspects of animation which could be emphasized above perfect draughtsmanship-like spirit of the acting (I’m thinking of Ollie Johnston’s approach). Come to think of it, virtually every artist in Feature was a strong draughtsman in their own rights.
A couple interesting things I learned working on Doppler was that no matter how perfect his animation played in rough, when it was in color it always seemed to play slower than what became familiar after watching pencil tests over and over, and over again. My theory is that the data your eye takes in with a full color character on a background actually seems to weigh it down in the same way that a digital image with lots of color data takes up literally more space than a line drawing-if that makes sense. The other interesting story was that one time I complimented Sergio on a scene he did. The one where Doppler and Jim Hawkin’s mom were talking to “law enforcement” and reacted to the assumption that they were a couple: I reviewed the rough animation many times of that scene and was blown away by the nuances and character moments that Sergio animated. The interesting thing was that when I expressed what I really liked about the scene, I learned that his intent was different than how I read it. It wasn’t entirely different, but I realized that we each see things differently no matter how perfectly the ideas are expressed.
I talked with my friend Chris who actually worked on Silver in clean-up and here’s what he had to say about the task:
..unlike pomeroy who drew very cleanly, glen was so fluid, so expressive and heavy handed with his china marker. at times only the essence of the acting and animation was drawn on the paper and we would’ve had to fill in the gaps model wise. we also had to be bang-on on the inbetweens or else the drawings wouldn’t match up with the cg elements; for the scenes in which the cg wasn’t done either because of broad action, medium to wide shots and the like, we were tasked to draw the robotic ear/eyepiece arm and leg…whew!…it was tough to say the least.
If you haven’t done it, interpreting roughs (especially Glen Keane’s) and then putting them “on model” with clean uniform pencil lines, drawn well is a challenge. -Waveybrain