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Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios Animation Research Task Thursday, 5 June 2014
Animation Research Task
Animation Research Task

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Introduction

Introduction • Walt Disney Pictures was started in the 1920’s, by the Disney brothers, Walt and
• Walt Disney Pictures was started in the 1920’s, by the Disney brothers, Walt and Roy,
Walt Disney Pictures was started in the 1920’s, by the Disney brothers,
Walt and Roy, in California, and has made animated feature films since the
30’s, still going strong to this day.
The themes and style has changed a lot over the years, including a shift
from traditional 2D to CG animation in 2006.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Introduction • Walt Disney Pictures was started in the 1920’s, by the Disney brothers, Walt and
Visual Style • All the characters are very round and soft, with big doe eyes. Unless
Visual Style
All the characters are very round and
soft, with big doe eyes. Unless the
character is supposed to be old or evil,
wrinkles are never featured and it seems
as if the faces have been smoothed out.
This style even carries over to the CG
movies.
There’s high detail in the backgrounds,
and also in the characters, at an
illustration level. There are often quite
elaborate costumes and character
designs. The films often look beautiful
and pretty, to match the fairy tale themes
The animation it’s self is
smooth and bouncy
animation, full of life and
energy, but maybe a bit
low on physics. It looks
very elastic. The
animation always has a
lovely flow to it. There’s
lots of movement in
characters with motions
often exaggerated. To get
across strong character
the animators have them
move their hands and
head while they speak, all
to get across their point
and personality.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Early History
Early History
Early History • Snow White was released and became a huge hit. With the money from
Early History • Snow White was released and became a huge hit. With the money from
Early History • Snow White was released and became a huge hit. With the money from
• Snow White was released and became a huge hit. With the money from the film
Snow White was
released and became
a huge hit. With the
money from the film
Disney built the
Disney Studios
buildings and
continued to make
features and shorts
to critical acclaim
and large profit.
• Interested in animation, Walt Disney had set up a few animation studios, most ending in
Interested in animation,
Walt Disney had set up a
few animation studios,
most ending in
bankruptcy, until he
created Walt Disney
studios with his brother
Roy. There was major
success was ‘Steamboat
Willie’, Mickey Mouse
cartoon.
• In 1934 they begun work on their first feature film, and in fact the first
In 1934 they begun work on their first feature film, and
in fact the first ever animated feature; Snow White and
the Seven Dwarfs. Disney was the only one who
believed in the film, with Hollywood dubbing it
“Disney’s Folly” whilst in production.
• In the 1970’s things went bad for the studio. Walt Disney had died and the
In the 1970’s
things went bad
for the studio.
Walt Disney
had died and
the films where
preforming
worse and
worse, hitting
rock bottom
with ‘The Black
Cauldron’.
Early History • Snow White was released and became a huge hit. With the money from
• There was talk of dismantling the animation department altogether and shifting focus to live action.
There was talk of
dismantling the
animation
department
altogether and
shifting focus to live
action. A “Disney
Renaissance”
started by the ‘The
Little Mermaid’ in
1886 saved the
animation
department.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

• Walt Disney was the leader and founder of the studio, having the vision that drove
• Walt Disney was the leader and founder of the studio, having the vision that drove
Walt Disney was the leader
and founder of the studio,
having the vision that drove
the teams forwards. He was
an animator, film producer,
director, screen writer,
entrepreneur, and
philanthropist. He was
always heavily involved in
Disney studios, however near
the end of his life he started
to lose interest in animation,
choosing to focus on Disney
Land and live action films.
He died in 1966.
Key People
Key People
• Walt Disney was the leader and founder of the studio, having the vision that drove
• “The Nine Old Men” were a team of animators who worked on classic Disney features
“The Nine Old Men” were a team of
animators who worked on classic
Disney features from Snow White
onwards. Each one had their own
style and speciality. Not only did they
shape the Disney style of character
animation, but also animation in
general, refining the 12 principles of
animation (Squash + Stretch, etc.)
After Walt’s death members of the 9
old men supervised the films, such as
‘Robin Hood’ and ‘The AristoCats’.
(Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston,
Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson,
John Lounsbery, Wolfgang
Reitherman, Frank Thomas)
• Walt Disney was the leader and founder of the studio, having the vision that drove
• Roy E. Disney was a senior executive at Disney. As the nephew of Walt he
Roy E. Disney was a senior executive
at Disney. As the nephew of Walt he
was the last Disney to be directly
involved with the company. During
his time at Disney he would always
attempt to save the company from
failure and falling apart. In 1984 he
saved the company from a hostile
takeover. Roy also battled to keep the
animation department running in the
1970’s and early 80’s despite a run of
box office bombs. Without Roy the
animation department would have
been dissolved in favour of the more
profitable live action.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Key People
Key People
Key People • Ron Clements and John Musker: Disney’s best and most successful directing team, Musker
• Ron Clements and John Musker: Disney’s best and most successful directing team, Musker and Clements’
Ron Clements and John Musker:
Disney’s best and most successful
directing team, Musker and Clements’
first film was ‘The Great Mouse
Detective’, however it was ‘The Little
Mermaid’ that made them really big. As
mermaid revitalized Disney animation,
it’s fair to say that a lot of that
revitalization was down to the two
directors behind it. The continued to
direct Renaissance films such as
Aladdin, and brought out a 2D feature
in 2009; ‘The Princess Frog’ which was
a 2D animated feature in this time of all
CG.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Key People • Ron Clements and John Musker: Disney’s best and most successful directing team, Musker
• John Lasseter: Originally from Pixar, he joined Disney when they bought Pixar, hoping to use
John Lasseter: Originally from Pixar,
he joined Disney when they bought
Pixar, hoping to use their talent to
revitalize their feature animation in
2006. He’s now the chief creative
officer and drives the feature release,
and since then the Disney features
have been on the rise, becoming
more and more successful. He is also
responsible for the decision to
release the occasional 2 D cell
animated film.
Animation Example 1
Animation Example 1
• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Animation Example 1 • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Thursday, 5 June 2014

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Recent History
Recent History
Recent History • The 2000’s didn’t start well for Disney. There 2D releases weren’t huge successes
Recent History • The 2000’s didn’t start well for Disney. There 2D releases weren’t huge successes
• The 2000’s didn’t start well for Disney. There 2D releases weren’t huge successes and they
The 2000’s didn’t start well for Disney. There 2D releases
weren’t huge successes and they were losing out to all the new
competitors as more and more animation studios set up,
making more popular CG films. Assuming that CG was the
key to success Disney changed to CG in 2005 with ‘Chicken
Little’.
Recent History • The 2000’s didn’t start well for Disney. There 2D releases weren’t huge successes
Recent History • The 2000’s didn’t start well for Disney. There 2D releases weren’t huge successes
• However even the jump to CG didn’t increase the success of the movies, so Disney
However even the jump to CG didn’t
increase the success of the movies, so
Disney decided to buy Pixar, hoping they
could give Disney features the profit and
critical acclaim that Pixar films had.
• Since then Disney CG features have been rising, generating bigger profits and held in higher
Since then Disney CG features have been
rising, generating bigger profits and held
in higher regard by audiences and critics.
Disney also plan to release an occasional
2D, traditionally animated film

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Animation Example 2
Animation Example 2
Animation Example 2 • Treasure Planet (2012) Thursday, 5 June 2014
• Treasure Planet (2012)
• Treasure Planet (2012)
Animation Example 2 • Treasure Planet (2012) Thursday, 5 June 2014

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Current and Future Projects
Current and Future Projects
Current and Future Projects Frozen - 2013 Directors: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee ‘Frozen’ is CG

Frozen - 2013 Directors: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

‘Frozen’ is CG an adaptation of the Snow Queen, and has been in development since 2000. The film has been given a re-brand and re-design for its release, it seems in an effort to make it more like the studios 2010 success; ‘Tangled’. The name was changed to a snappy one word title and celebrity voice actors are used, particularly celebrities known to younger audiences. From the concept art and promo pictures the visual style is also similar to ‘Tangled’, the main character looking very similar. The style is round and soft, with character having big doe eyes, A good continuation of the Disney animation style despite being CG rather the 2D cell.

Current and Future Projects Frozen - 2013 Directors: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee ‘Frozen’ is CG
Big Hero 6 - 2014 Director: Don Hall The next film announced, ‘Big Hero 6’ is
Big Hero 6 - 2014
Director: Don Hall
The next film announced, ‘Big Hero 6’ is based
on a Marvel comic book so it’s in the super
hero genre. This film will also be CG, and due
to its setting, will have an art style that
combines a Japanese art style with eastern
style. It will be interesting to see how the
Disney style meshes with a Japanese & Comic
book style, given comic books are usually
harder edged and rigid, not like Disney’s soft
and bouncy visuals.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Animation Example 3
Animation Example 3
Text
Text
• Wreck-it Ralph (2012)
• Wreck-it Ralph (2012)
Animation Example 3 Text • Wreck-it Ralph (2012) Thursday, 5 June 2014

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Character: Mickey Mouse
Character: Mickey Mouse
Character: Mickey Mouse • After losing the rights to the character Oswald the rabbit, Walt Disney
• After losing the rights to the character Oswald the rabbit, Walt Disney worked in secret
After losing the rights to the character
Oswald the rabbit, Walt Disney worked
in secret to create a new, Disney owned
character. This lead to Mickey Mouse.
Walt Disney, his wife, and Ub Iwerks
created the character together.
Character: Mickey Mouse • After losing the rights to the character Oswald the rabbit, Walt Disney
Character: Mickey Mouse • After losing the rights to the character Oswald the rabbit, Walt Disney
Character: Mickey Mouse • After losing the rights to the character Oswald the rabbit, Walt Disney
• Ub Iwerks designed the original character. He put an emphasis of circles, building the character
Ub Iwerks designed the original
character. He put an emphasis of circles,
building the character with round
shapes. This made the character visually
pleasing look at and easy to squash and
stretch in animation. This was probably
the beginning of Disney’s round and
bouncy style.

Fred Moore re-designed Mickey into the version we have to this day, white around the pupils, chunkier build, and Caucasian face. This was to fit with Mickey’s new shy and bashful personality, rather than the scrawny little mischievous design with big black eyes.

Mickey’s new look in CG

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Animation Technology Disney constantly developed new techniques and technology to make 2D cell animation faster and
Animation Technology
Disney constantly developed new techniques and
technology to make 2D cell animation faster
and better looking.
• Multiplane camera - This system, a tall tower of animation cells, each a different distance
Multiplane camera -
This system, a tall
tower of animation
cells, each a different
distance from the
camera, allowed
animators to properly
capture the effect of
parallax.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

• Xerox process - the original process of animation was to take the rough pencils, and
Xerox process - the original
process of animation was to
take the rough pencils, and
have workers trace the lines
onto a transparent cell with
paint by hand. The Xerox
process, developed in 1960’s
transfered the pencil line onto
a cell. This preserved the
original line exactly and sped
up the process.
• CAPS - in the 1990‘s Disney developed CAPS with Pixar. the Caps computer system allowed
CAPS - in the 1990‘s
Disney developed CAPS
with Pixar. the Caps
computer system allowed
for each piece of
animation to be scanned
into the computer,
colored digitally, and
constructed into a scene.
Thursday, 5 June 2014

Thursday, 5 June 2014