recreated backgrounds

8 02 2016

I was asked how the re-creation of long lost backgrounds from DVD material works, below are some of the steps. in this case, a pan from disney’s FANTASIA, NUTCRACKER SUITE, an additional problem besides removing the animated milkweed ballerinas was the multiplane pan, the foreground elements moved in different speeds, what created very complicated overlappings. in the final version I had to add some airbrushed light effects in the sky background, but based on the original source. this is one of the more time consuming pieces, the endresult was worth it though.


2fanta2033 work in progress


4fantatasia comp nutcr.abcFINAL

© disney enterprises, inc


clair de lune

10 02 2015

the recreated longer pan background is from the disney animated short compilation MAKE MINE MUSIC from 1946. it was titled BLUE BAYOU, the song performed by the KEN DARBY SINGERS, after it was originally produced and completed for disney’s FANTASIA in 1940. the original music at that time was CLAIR DE LUNE by composer CLAUDE DEBUSSY. disney decided to cut the segment out of FANTASIA because even without it the film was already 125 min long. in the BLUE BAYOU you see two egrets flying through the everglades at night with a full moon, all done with lots of water-effects and several background layers on the multiplane camera.

blue bayou

© disney enterprises, inc

milkweed ballerinas

30 08 2013

you can see here some of the dozens of screen-captures I used to recreate a background from disney’s FANTASIA, THE NUTCRACKER SUITE. it is my favorite segment of the 1940 released masterpiece. backgrounds from FANTASIA are extremely rare, so I ‘just’ needed to re-create one. that turned out to be one of the most difficult tasks, since it is not just a side pan with dozens of little milkweed ballerinas flying around, it is a multiplane scene as well. what means that the different levels move in different speeds. anyway – it took me a while, and I had to paint a lot additionally. below is the result

milkweed ballerinas recr

© disney enterprises, inc


8 12 2010

I always wanted to somehow recreate the final background after I had seen the reproduced layout in ROBERT D.FEILD’S 1940 published book THE ART OF WALT DISNEY. it took me a while and was quite complicated, but now you can see it below – the mentioned page from the book and the recreated extreme long pan-background from disney’s november 1940 released FANTASIA ( DANCE OF THE HOURS ).

© disney enterprises, inc

symphony nr.6

29 04 2010

this extremely long recreated pan is from disney’s 1940 FANTASIA, the PASTORAL SYMPHONY. for my taste it is a bit too colorful. but I am european, and especially northern-europeans prefer more subdued colors. more interesting is the stylized world that was created for the greek mythology inspired gods and fantasy creatures.

© disney enterprises, inc


6 07 2009

fantasia recr.022a

a recreated longer pan from disney’s FANTASIA, BEETHOVEN’SPASTORAL SYMPHONY.

© disney enterprises, inc

nutcracker 2

25 03 2009

this recreated combined pan from disney’s FANTASIA, NUTCRACKER SUITE, was the most time consuming piece I did so far. there was so much animation happening in the background that I had to actually repaint several areas, of course trying to match the original. I really wanted to see it completed, in my opinion one of the most beautiful scenes in the film.


© disney enterprises, inc


9 01 2009

KAY NIELSEN, 1886 – 1957, is next to ARTHUR RACKHAM and EDMUND DULAC one of the greatest childrenbook illustrators of the late nineteenth century. he was born in denmark and moved later to california, where he worked from 1938 – 1941 in the disney studio. in FANTASIA he designed most of the NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN and AVE MARIA sequence. below I recreated 3 backgrounds from another sequence in fantasia, BEETHOVEN’S PASTORAL SYMPHONY. as you can see in the following three illustrations by nielsen ( created much earlier for a children book ), he even influenced the look of that part of the film.





© disney enterprises, inc
© nielsen

milkweed ballerinas

28 12 2008

again some more recreated artwork from disney’s FANTASIA, from the NUTCRACKER SUITE segment. when you watch that part you are overwhelmed with the animation, the colors, the flow of the moving camera, all the animated effects, the music. I always found it difficult myself looking at this masterpiece and trying to analyze it at the same time. it was impossible. the only way it works now is with today’s technology, studying the top quality DVD release singleframewise. and finally, after I was able to recreate the amazing cameramoves and had removed the animation, I could sit stunned in front of the pure background paintings. believe me, my respect is too big to make the animation look less important. when I worked in the disney studio, I had a chance to flip through a lot of stacks of original animation. all of it is still stored in the ANIMATION RESEARCH LIBRARY. but nearly 90% of all the background-art doesn’t exist anymore, – earlier I explained why. another reason for me to concentrate on that is, I design these worlds myself and love to paint backgrounds.





© disney enterprises, inc


19 12 2008

it’s the last weekend before christmas, time for another beautiful piece of ‘lost art’. again this recreated N/S-3-level pan comes from disney’s FANTASIA – NUTCRACKER SUITE. I removed a lot of animated falling leaves. they were covering most of the background, and in the end I was surprised to find this amazing watercolor composition below.


© disney enterprises, inc

dance of the flowers

15 12 2008

more from disney’s FANTASIA, recreated backgrounds from the NUTCRACKER sequence. it looks like they used colored charcoal paintings for the opening of that part, you can clearly see the cardboard texture. besides that I had a chance to buy an original sketch years ago in an auction. the charcoal artwork was done on black cardboard, then combined with extensive effects animation. as I mentioned it before – my favorite part in the film.









© disney enterprises, inc


3 12 2008

disney’s FANTASIA premiered november 1940. since I saw this film for the first time when I was a student I was fascinated especially by one segment, the NUTCRACKER SUITE. there were the most complicated multiplane cameramoves with amazing effects animation. for years I was hoping to be able to see these backgrounds in their full size. since there is nothing left in the disney archives, except some very few pieces, I started with the recreation of some of the pans. the compositing is quite complicated because of all the different levels moving with different speeds, not to talk about all the animation on top. there will be a lot more…


© disney enterprises, inc


12 09 2008

this is a reconstructed very long pan background from my favorite segment in disney’s FANTASIA – the nutcrackersuite. the way you see the BG here, it of course never existed. the very background painted a bit blurred was in this 3-level-multiplane scene much shorter. I stretched it to fit the length of the 2 foreground levels. these levels were moving much faster than the very background and had to be longer for that reason. except the blurred BG, the 2 foreground levels were painted in oil on glass, so the animation could take place inbetween. it is a complicated move tracking in and out as well as movement in different speeds. I always wanted to see it in one piece, I was fascinated by the blurry painted foliage and the beautiful colors, ranging from cool grey-greens to blueish violet and complimentary subdued small spots of yellow. fantasia was produced during the beginning years of the second world war. glass, that was used for the different multiplane levels was not available in bigger amounts, it would have been too expensive anyway. one level measured about 1.50 meters by 40 centimeters. the glass had to be re-used for the next scenes. so, after the shooting of each scene it was cleaned, the oil color scraped off. for that reason only a few glass-painted backgrounds survived from that time.

© disney enterprises, inc

The Hidden History of Oz

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The Hidden History of Oz

Discover the Secrets of an Enchanted World is the best place for your personal blog or business site.