Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Know What I Want To Do

I am going to be an animator. If I don't achieve my dream job anytime soon, as long as I can animate I will be happy. What caused this resurgence in my animation aspirations? I FINALLY saw the latest 2D animated film from Disney, The Princess and the Frog.

I could go on and on geeking out about the whole return of 2D, traditional, hand-drawn animation. Let me just saw that it was a breath of fresh air to see it up on the big screen. There are just some things that can only be done in hand-drawn animation. In 2D you can really push a pose on a character, stretch it out or squash it up as much as needed and not have to worry about "breaking the rig." If you can't get a pose just right, all you need to do is grab an eraser and fix it.

It was a great story that had me laughing out loud through the entire film. The other thing I love about Ron & John's movies is the cameos they throw in there. For starters I did see a caricatured appearance of both Ron Clements and John Musker. I think I also saw a caricature of another great Disney animator, Glen Keane. And as a throwback to Ron and John's first big hit, The Little Mermaid, I do believe I saw someone dressed up as Ariel at the big costume ball. I also saw a Mardi Gras parade float that looked very much like King Triton, also from The Little Mermaid. He can actually be seen in one of the recent trailers that has been showing on TV.

I definitely need to see it again. The first time I see an animated film I view it as a spectator. I love getting involved with the characters and being swept up by the story and its beautiful artwork. The next time I will be watching it through the eyes of an animator. That is when I will be picking apart different scenes and all the little nuances that go by in the blink of an eye. It could be a certain pose by a character, the transition from one pose to another, even something as simple as a small hand gesture or a simple eye dart. It's the little things I look for that really make the characters come alive. It's the little things I learn from the greats that I try to incorporate into my own work to breath life into my performances.

I am really looking forward to the DVD release. Hopefully, there will be plenty of featurettes talking not only about Disney's return to traditional animation, but also on the making of the whole thing. I love watching the early rough pencil tests by the animators. I remember reading somewhere that it is not the perfectly drawn line that fascinates us. We love looking at the early pencil tests because it is here where we can really see the passion the animators put into every single drawing. THAT is what I love to see. That is what fuels my love for animation.

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