Traditional animation, the kind involving such archaic devices as pencils and paper, is HARD. Which isn’t to say that the modern, computer-heavy kind isn’t as well, but there’s a particular kind of difficulty associated with being hunched over a drawing board for hours -if not days- on ending, grueling over image after image just to get the turn of a character’s head juuuuuuuust right. Nowhere is this more true than at Disney, a studio with a high standard of quality when it comes to detail and fluidity of motion. And maybe a few draconian business practices, but we won’t talk about that.
30-year animation veteran Aaron Blaise took to youtube a few years ago to share his wealth of experience with the world with videos sharing a lot of his tricks and techniques. Especially given the ubiquity of CG animation these days, efforts like these to keep traditional 2D animation alive are incredibly important, and Blaise should be thanked repeatedly for the work he’s doing. His latest video may hold some special interest for Disney fans, who may recognize his work from quite of lot of Disney’s 90s output. In the video, Blaise discusses one shot from Beauty and the Beast, the raw materials which he was allowed to keep after the project. Blaise was responsible for animating the Beast’s movements in this relatively simple scene, and it’s fascinating to see just how much careful attention went into something so simple as the character talking over their shoulder.
Blaise is currently listed as the director on an as-yet-unnamed Disney Animation project, and given his background, I think a lot of people are hoping that it might be a return to 2D animation. Fingers crossed!
You can check out the video below