for the background analysis below I chose a beautiful recreated pan-BG from a 1936 DISNEY short – DONALD AND PLUTO. it is the first disney cartoon where donald duck and pluto star together. directed by ben sharpsteen the animation was done by al eugster, shamus culhane, fred spencer, norm ferguson and bill roberts. as in most of the early shorts nothing is known about the layout- and background-artist. you can see in the final BG that is was painted by a master. he could have done the walls just in one flat color, especially because it is a pan and you don’t even have a chance to see too much detail during the camera-move. but he wanted to create a believeable atmosphere. there is not just one flat color on the walls in a room, you have reflected colors from objects around, light coming from different sources and there are shadows. besides that there was one golden rule in the old days – a BG should contain well distributed the 3 basic colors – YELLOW, RED and BLUE, maybe a rule coming from the technicolor process. but it alawys works. you find this rule applied in most of the BG’s at that time. of course nobody painted with the pure colors, they were desaturated, but you can feel them. anyway – below you find a very simpified breakdown of that background.
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