2D Animation Disney style Animation
Updated: Jul 25
Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS), sometimes shortened to Disney Animation, is an American animation studio that creates animated features and short films for The Walt Disney Company. Founded on October 16, 1923 by brothers Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney, it is one of the oldest-running animation studios in the world.
Founded as Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in 1923, renamed Walt Disney Studio in 1926 and incorporated as Walt Disney Productions in 1929, the studio was exclusively dedicated to producing short films until it expanded into feature production in 1934, resulting in 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, one of the first full-length animated feature films and the first one made in the United States.
Which software is used for animation by Disney?
For modeling (and rigging as well, I believe) Disney uses Autodesk Maya. For sculpting they use Pixologic Zbrush. For visual effects Pixar and Disney use Side Effects Houdini. Disney Pixar has their own proprietary program; Presto, which they use for animation.
What is the animation process?
The 2D animation process is the technique of creating the illusion of movement using still images in a two-dimensional space. It includes characters, storyboards, and backgrounds in the form of vector graphics.
The Animation Process From 1938
How are Disney animated movies made?
The layout step is created entirely in the computer, and a virtual camera is placed. The characters are placed based on those camera angles and are animated to fit within those shots. Animation and simulation brings life to the characters.
Why did Disney stop making 2d animation?
"Unfortunately 2D became the excuse for poor storytelling," said Lasseter, who pioneered the CGI animation revolution with Toy Story in 1995. "The general consensus was that audiences did not want to watch hand-drawn animated films, which is of course completely ridiculous.
The History and Stagnation of Disney's Hand Drawn Animation
What was the last traditionally animated Disney movie?
Disney's last traditionally animated films were 2009's “The Princess and the Frog” and 2011's “Winnie the Pooh.” Before that, decades of history allowed artists to put pencil to paper and create life on the big screen.
Walt Disney was a restless innovator; tirelessly pushing the boundaries of whatever medium he was dabbling in, whether it was animation, live-action productions, or theme park attractions. Rarely did he settle on what was currently possible; always wanting to invent, explore, and expand upon what was considered doable.
1. “Steamboat Willie” (1928)
While most remember this as the first film to feature Mickey and Minnie, the real importance of “Steamboat Willie” lies in its technological innovation. It is, after all, the first film to feature synchronized sound. This meant that, for the first time, the action and dialogue of the characters (done mostly in an unintelligible garble by Walt Disney himself) were in sync, instead of background music wallpapering the action. The nearly eight-minute-long film is a marvel, for sure, but like every other innovation listed here, its true magic is in its winning combination of humor and heart.
2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
In the decade that followed “Steamboat Willie,” Walt and his creative confederates had mastered the short-form medium, pushing the limits of what was possible and coming up with pieces that were critically adored and publicly embraced. But that wasn’t enough. So Walt set out making the first-ever feature-length animated film. This was such unwalked territory that many in Hollywood began referring to the feature as “Disney’s Folly.”
3. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
A little more than 20 years after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs revolutionized the film industry, Walt was still experimenting with how to give animated features more depth and make them contemporary. Two years before Sleeping Beauty was released, Lady and the Tramp became the first animated film exhibited in the anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio. With Sleeping Beauty, though, an even bigger breakthrough was introduced: It was the first animated film photographed in the super-wide Technirama 70mm widescreen process.
4. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
Before 101 Dalmatians, the process of animation looked something like this: Animators would draw their characters on paper (24 of these drawings are required for every second of finished animation). Drawings would be transferred from the animation department to the ink and paint department first, where the animator’s lines were meticulously traced by talented artists in that department, onto cels. These cels would then be photographed, in quick succession, and the illusion of life was born. With 101 Dalmatians, though, a new process called Xerography was introduced. This technique, developed by Chester Carlson in 1942, had only been sparingly used in animation but never on a feature film. The new process allowed a clean production style that would replicate the artists’ work via dry photocopying. Animators, for the first time, were seeing their pencil strokes appear on film. This process was so successful, and the look so charming, that it would be the standard for Walt Disney Animation Studios for decades to come (more on that in a minute).
5. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Walt Disney had been fascinated with combining live action and animation; years before “Steamboat Willie,” he had created a series of shorts inspired by Alice in Wonderland that featured a human child interacting with cartoon characters. Later Disney projects like The Three Caballeros, Mary Poppins, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks would feature this process extensively. But there had been nothing like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which mixed live action and animation liberally, and with an unprecedented level of realism and interaction. Post-production on the film took more than a year, with animators having to animate around director Robert Zemeckis’ active camera movements, and compositing being finished by Industrial Light & Magic. The entire process was exhausting and, in the end, revolutionary. Not only did the film win the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Editing, but it was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Sound and received a Special Achievement Academy Award for “animation direction and creation of the cartoon characters.”
6. The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
By the time the studio made The Rescuers Down Under, the Xerography process developed for 101 Dalmatians had been utilized and refined. (Veteran animator Floyd Norman told us that it had been pretty much perfected.) But by the end of the ‘80s a new process was being tested at Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Computer Animation Production System, or CAPS. The system (developed by Pixar, years before Toy Story) was used for digital ink and paint and for compositing purposes. It was first tested out on the rainbow at the end of The Little Mermaid, but The Rescuers Down Under was the first fully CAPS colored and composited film. Cels were now a thing of the past, with animators’ drawings being scanned and manipulated inside a computer. This allowed for more sophisticated imagery and a more artful blend of computer animated and traditionally animated elements. It also looks gorgeous and brings the audience into the story in a fuller, albeit subconscious way.
7. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Up until Beauty and the Beast, computer animated effects had been utilized mostly on scenery – the opening shot of The Rescuers Down Under, for instance, or Big Ben at the end of The Great Mouse Detective. And, yes, technically the CGI ballroom in Beauty and the Beast is a piece of stagecraft, but it was also the first time that a piece of CGI was used to elicit an emotional response. The reputation of the computer as a cold machine was still lingering but the sequence in Beauty and the Beast gave it warmth. Try thinking about Beauty and the Beast and not remembering this sequence; it’s impossible. It proved the viability of CGI as a storytelling art form instead of just a visual effects tool, and one that cannot be overstated.
8. Tarzan (1999)
The multi-plane camera, developed by William Garity for the Walt Disney Studios, was first used in the Academy Award-winning short “The Old Mill.” The camera moved through different pieces of painted glass, giving the illusion not only of motion, but of three-dimensional depth.
9. “Paperman” (2012)
Computer generated imagery and traditional animation had, by 2012, been intermingling for decades. But never in the way that “Paperman” presented them. The Academy Award-winning short utilized software that Disney had developed, called Meander. Inspiration came from director John Kahrs watching master animator Glen Keane draw over animated images from Tangled. For “Paperman,” two-dimensional animation was mapped over 3D spaces and forms. Hair and cloth was drawn by hand, and the computer generated underpinnings of each character or environment could be manipulated or removed if the animator saw fit. The resulting film feels both organic and cutting edge, with the technology heightening the already intense emotionality of the piece.
10. Big Hero 6 (2014)
There’s so much fun and adventure in Big Hero 6 that it’s sometimes easy to overlook how many technological breakthroughs are nestled inside of it. A program called Denizen populated the massive urban cityscape, with a complementary program called Bonzai used to create the trees. But the biggest breakthrough came in the form of Hyperion, a new rendering system that allowed for complex lighting scenarios (like Baymax’s semi-translucent vinyl skin or the illumination of the entire city). Not only did it add to the adorableness of Baymax, but Hyperion gave the movie a distinctively gorgeous look that perfectly mimics big budget live-action superhero movies.
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