balto backgrounds

13 11 2016

digging through my photography files I found these beautiful backgrounds from the AMBLIMATION animated feature film BALTO, except the last one all painted in oil by LUC DESMARCHELIER, one of the master-painters. it’s the year 1993, london. we decided to paint most of the BG’s in oil after painted snow tests in gouache were not looking like snow. only some wooden textured house shots and a few interiors were painted in gouache. it was hard for most of the background painters to get more familiar with this unusual painting technique in animation. after disney’s BAMBI BALTO was the second feature film painted in oil.

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

© amblimation / universal pictures





balto’s dream

14 02 2016

style header

for the designs below I got my inspiration from INUIT ART, the art of the alaskan natives. at one point during the preproduction of BALTO there were ideas of balto having a dream. this chance to add a different style and a bit of art into the film was very exciting – but, it was given up soon. maybe I am the only one who would like to see something else than action and operetta…

bazlto 4674

balto 4673

© universal / amblin





early spring 1993 london

12 01 2016

over christmas I had some time to dig through my archives, and I found a lot of historic stuff that you might like to see. it’s amazing to look at drawings again after so many years, lots of memories come alive. I want to start with BALTO, an animated feature film about husky dogs in alaska and the famous iditarod dog-sled race. I worked on it from 1992 on, production started in 1993. all that in london, acton town, a very interesting and ‘alive’ part of london. the following designs were all done by a young kid, early twenties, french, one of the most amazing character designers I ever met, and a brilliant animator as well – you might have seen his work in recent films from DREAMWORKS, like the trained dragon and the panda series. I am talking about a master – NICOLAS MARLET. there will be more, especially from CATS. but for now BALTO, or as it was called at that time SNOWBALLS

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

© nicolas marlet / universal pictures / amblin entertainment





amblimation balto documentary 1994 part 1

27 03 2015

anim.hist

the AMBLIMATION studio in london-acton town, jan.1994, shortly after the disaster earthquake in northridge, L.A.

some impressions of the background department, located separate on the 1.floor, because of the better light conditions,

fun after work in the pub next door. most of us were hanging out there after work several times a week.

studio party after successful work, STEVE HICKNER, producer, giving a speech.

more BALTO BG’s, most of them painted in oil. I never understood, why that was never used in the promotion of the film. at least it was the only film next to BAMBI where the backgrounds were nearly entirely painted in oil.

amblimation 1.1994 balto from hans bacher on Vimeo.

© Amblin / Universal





special

25 12 2011

a ‘merry christmas’ to everybody who is celebrating the event. for this special occasion I want to show you a selection of designs for several animated feature films created over the past fifteen years by some of the best in their field. PAUL FELIX and a few of his many masterful pencil sketches for disney’s MULAN, as well as some of his paintings and drawings for the shelved SNOW QUEEN project. further MARCELO VIGNALI with his beautiful visuals for MULAN and CHEN-YI CHENG’S ancestor group for the ‘mushu’s awakening’ sequence in MULAN. finally two more stunning jungle action scenes for TARZAN by JOHN WATKISS, and some of the amazing layout work for BALTO created by one of the best layout artists, now animator – BOLHEM BOUCHIBA. I hope you enjoy this very special gallery of the masters – happy holidays.


















© disney enterprises, inc
© universal pictures / amblin entertainment





alaska

25 05 2011

below my production design for a diagonal pan in BALTO from 1993 ( feltpen and gouache ), followed by the final background painted in oil – could not avoid the reflections in the overlay cels.


© universal pictures / amblin entertainment





balto reference

18 01 2011

here is some of the reference for BALTO. I collected hours of TV-reference about alaska and snow landscapes in general, analyzed them all and printed hundreds of color-videoprints. a selection is below, as well as some of my designs for the aurora borealis in wolf-shape for the ending of the film.



© amblin / universal pictures





muk+luk

3 12 2010

the animation thumbnails and character studies of the two bears MUK and LUK were created for BALTO in 1993 by an incredible talent, NICOLAS MARLET, at that time in his early twenties. he has become one of the most creative character-designers in the animation world, as you can see in his work he did for DREAMWORKS over the last fifteen years.


© AMBLIN / UNIVERSAL pictures





storyboard 1

21 10 2010

below a storyboard example for a part of BALTO, drawn by DAAN JIPPES and SIMON WELLS in 1993.





© AMBLIN / UNIVERSAL pictures





1993/94

11 04 2010

and the last captured moments from my documentary video during the production of BALTO in the london AMBLIMATION studio.


© AMBLIN / UNIVERSAL pictures





1993

10 04 2010

BALTO went into full production in 1993 in STEVEN SPIELBERG’S london animation studio. and there was a change in leadership, SIMON WELLS became the sole director of the film. below is the second part of the captured moments from my video documentary during that time.




© AMBLIN / UNIVERSAL pictures





1992

9 04 2010

recently I looked through my historic video archives and found some 16 hours of documentary stuff i had shot on hi-8 video during the years 1992 to 1994 in london, duesseldorf and finland. in a way this is my ‘WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY’ version of DREAMWORKS, what was at that time AMBLIMATION, located in london, acton town. I was allowed to shoot my personal video throughout the whole studio during the production of BALTO, in meetings, fun-events and reference trips ( to finland above the arctic circle, to study huskies and sled racing in deep snow ). nobody has ever seen this footage, so this is really a historic event. there hasn’t been any documentation about these few years of steven spielberg’s animated feature film production in london. for me it was a very good experience to work with incredible artists from all over europe. most of them moved in 1995 to L.A. and became the core group of DREAMWORKS feature animation. the pictures shown here are frame-grabs from the transferred hi-8 footage to digital then to dvd.




© AMBLIN / UNIVERSAL pictures





b/w 1

14 02 2010











© disney enterprises, inc
© amblin / universal
© bilderfabrik





frozen

26 10 2009

some more production designs for the AMBLIMATION production BALTO, released in 1995. all designs are 21 x 11.5 cm, painted with AD/pantone-markers and gouache between 1992 and 1993 in the london studio.

1balto1176
2balto 33
3balto1174
4balto 673
5balto b2
6balto 772
7balto1198
8balto b5
9balto 7765

© amblin/universal





nome alaska

30 09 2009

following are a few xeroxed storyboard drawings DAAN JIPPES did for BALTO in 1993. daan used a black prismacolor pencil and the size of each drawing is about A5. they are not in order and not complete. his boards were of such high quality, all the characters absolutely on model, that they could have been used for a comic strip.

PICT0044

PICT0046

PICT0047

PICT00415

© amblimation/universal





lost

31 08 2009

a colorscript page from the dec.1995 released BALTO, directed by SIMON WELLS, produced by STEVEN SPIELBERG’S AMBLIMATION in london. the storyboard drawings for these color sketches were done by simon wells.

balto col.scr.18

© universal/AMBLIN





bearfight

2 06 2009

some more from universal/amblimation dec.1995 released BALTO. an outlined bear in one color would have looked too cartoony, too much detail in the fur too expensive to animate, too realistic and it would have flickered. this is what I came up with as a solution, just animated highlights in two different colors. the last one is a color continuity sheet with changing light during the sunset. all felt pen and gouache on top of SIMON WELLS xeroxed storyboard drawings.

balto bearfight05

balto bear119

balto col.continuity18

© UNIVERSAL/AMBLIN





comparison 1

13 04 2009

deep in some drawers I found accidentally a few xeroxed layouts from universal’s/amblin’s 1995 released BALTO. for some of them I had the corresponding reproduced BG’s. there is enough for another later post, here are the first 6 scenes. I added the artist’s name as far as I remember them…

balto-comparison-a

balto-comparb

balto-comparc

© universal/AMBLIN





london 1993

9 02 2009

SNOWBALLS was the ‘codename’ for the BALTO production. as I explained in some of the earlier posts, BALTO was produced in STEVEN SPIELBERG’S london AMBLIMATION studio. the studio was located in ACTON. most of the artists came from all over europe, a few from the U.S., but mainly from france. it was a very interesting cultural mixture with all the different languages spoken. amazing talents! it was a joy to work with them. preproduction work on BALTO started around 1992, production in 1993. following is a comparative size-sheet with the main characters and a design for a crew-T-shirt, as far as I remember.
balto14
balto19

© AMBLIN, universal pictures





nome – alaska

11 01 2009

the problem was the color in BALTO. about 80% of the movie took place in the snow. if you are not careful you end up with a lot of white and some dull blueish colors, the atmosphere becomes cold and the audience starts freezing. that’s what steven spielberg was afraid of – the audience would not be able to develop warm feelings towards the characters.

balto-1

I had painted my designs like usual in those days with feltpen and a bit of gouache, in a small size, 21 x 11 cm. the final backgrounds were usually painted in gouache. but with the soft blends in the snow areas that seemed to be impossible. so we decided – let’s try to paint it in oil. they had done it in BAMBI, why not try it as well. COLIN STIMPSON, the art director, was a brilliant oil painter, so were a few others in the background team. it took some weeks to train everybody. lots of test paintings were done, some of them little masterpieces.
for the final backgrounds nearly all of the snow scenes were painted in oil, as well as some of the interiors with soft blends. all other less problematic interiors were painted traditionally in gouache. in some of the next posts I will show some of the final backgrounds.

© UNIVERSAL PICTURES, AMBLIN








The Hidden History of Oz

Discover the Secrets of an Enchanted World

Ellen Li

Illustration & Design

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The Hidden History of Oz

Discover the Secrets of an Enchanted World

Ellen Li

Illustration & Design

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.