Traditional Animation is NOT dead!

I spent 15 years in animation with Disney and Don Bluth (and some others along the way).  That was all “traditional” which means that it was not computer animation.  Computers may have been used to record drawings and help get them on film, but the artwork was done by hand, with paper and pencil.  Or in my case, as a backgrounds painter, with paint and paintbrush.

When Disney shut down the Orlando studio, the traditional animation industry seemed to be dealt the death blow.  All the other animation studios seemed to say “If Disney won’t pursue traditional animation then neither shall we”, and everybody went crazy on computer animation projects.

I have always said (since that day in March 2004) that traditional animation will come back around some day.  These things tend to be cyclical.  Some day someone will make a great film (traditionally) and everyone will think, “Hey , what a great idea.  why don’t they make cartoons like this anymore?”  Then everybody will want to jump on that band wagon and we’ll start seeing traditional animation again.

I know that Disney came out with The Princess and The Frog which made $104,000,000, but knowing Disney, it probably cost them that much to make it.  Furthermore, it seems to have failed at making that big splash that it would take to mark the return of traditional animation.

I have had the pleasure of working on a project, the details of which I am not at liberty to disclose, but the quality of which has demonstrated to me that there are others out there that still know how to do it the good old fashioned way.

animation pose

traditional animation drawings

animation drawing

the second pose

next pose in sequence

the third pose

animation pose

from a following scene

scene 13

happy ending

Do you call this Matte Painting?

Recently I was involved in a commercial film project to help promote the State of Utah as a film destination.  The project was sponsored by the Utah State Film Commission under the direction of Marshall Moore, and produced by Cosmic Pictures.  The Directors were two young students (Kevin Bowden and Tasha Neilson) who had won the opportunity through a competition that had been held by the State.

The concept required a large landscape painting of some rugged Utah mountains that would then fall to reveal the actual scenery.  What starts out as a plein air painting transforms into a film set.

I did the storyboards for the spot, and then produced the large (9 1/2 x 5 foot) painting.

I’m trying to figure out what this painting would be called.  A Matte Painting?  A Scenic Painting?

Storm Mountain painting

The finished painting

Location shoot with painting

The actor and film crew with my painting

source photograph

Photograph of the actual scenery

As soon as the finished spot becomes available, I’ll post it.