historic CG

25 10 2008

in the upper groupshot you see the very small visual development team that worked in 1989 on disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. the picture below shows jean gilmore, mel shaw, daan jippes and don hahn discussing some designs during the same time.
CG in those ‘ancient’ days was in the very beginning. disney had done some scenes in OLIVER AND COMPANY and THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE in CG, tina price and randy cartright had worked on that. but in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST don hahn, the producer, wanted to go a step further – add textures to the CG-environment and make it look more realistic. in the final version of the film the ballroom sequence is done that way. that came much later. in the beginning a longer scene was planned that showed a pretty complex cameramove starting with beauty entering her room in the castle, following her sitting on the bed and then moving behind her towards the mirror, where she looks at herself and the whole room mirrored in it. the whole camera move was done in wireframe, I remember it looked very impressive. then andreas deja animated the keyposes of beauty for the whole move. I wonder if some of that stuff is left somewhere.
they gave me three key-frames of the camera move, I choose two and painted them with felt pen and gouache. unfortunately the originals have ‘disappeared’, so what you see here are some bad quality xerox copies. the next planned step was to hire someone with a lot of patience and some great painting skills to paint every single surface flat following my color-designs. I remember, that was where the experiment stopped. it might have been a bit too work-intense and costly. times have changed – today it would be a fun job for a weekend.

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3 responses

25 10 2008
Deniseletter

I love to read this blog! Is a place where I learn something new .I knew it since I was referred to it by Nancy Beiman.

I have extra news from Nancy Beiman to help cartoonist Corny Cole please read:

http://deniseletterdeniseletter.blogspot.com/2008/10/tragedy-that-you-can-help-remedy.html

29 10 2008
Nancy Beiman

Hello Hans,
I’d love to read your takes on older films that created the 360 degree pans with hand drawn elements.
Dick Williams’ CHRISTMAS CAROL immediately comes to mind; also Joanna Quinn’s DREAMS AND DESIRES (most of her work features animated camera angles)
One film that uses simple foreground and background pans moving in opposite directions is SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (the scene where the Queen drinks the potion).
Could the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST room animation have been accomplished through the use of distorted layouts and panning levels?

from hans
no, nancy. it was supposed to be spectacular. the camera move was very complicated, it went back all the way from the door through the bedside, was flying through the candle light, around the bedside where beauty was sitting down. then followed her getting up to the mirror on the opposite wall where we would see beauty seeing herself in the mirror ( together with the camera ), and the whole room behind her. when I saw the first rough move, my reaction was – wow. unfortunately it was too early, technology would have been ready for that a few years later. what you are talking about, like the camera move in snow white, is a faked feel for the 3rd dimension. you have that in several animated films, earlier than the cg-development. by the way in yellow submarine as well – remember the sunrise, and the camera move down into the city streets. anyway, it was fun, to dream, we could do it. I had a similar dream during mulan. we wanted mulan ride through wide grass fields, then stop on top of a hill and the tall grass move in the wind around her. oh well, it was a nightmare. we did tons of tests for a while. it did not work. at least the hun attack worked, and that took about 2 years to be developed. and we had no idea if we might be successful in the end. the good surprise is always nice…

29 10 2008
Nancy Beiman

It sounds like a magnificent shot…but all turned out for the best, for how would you have ‘topped’ it in the ballroom sequence? That shot of the animating ballroom used the technology of the time very well.

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