When Pixar placed the bumper sticker “Save 2D Animation” on Cars character, Filmore (the hippie VW Wagon), they were referring to the potential for this significant artwork to be lost in the rush to produce computer generated films (ironically something Pixar excels at).
Most fans of 2D animation though, recognised the future of the medium lay in a mix of 2D and “3D” and that embracing both styles was an important step in 2D animation’s evolution.
Paperman, Disney’s short animated film, screened with Wreck-It-Ralph, is a beautiful example of that future.
Introducing a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with the Oscar®-nominated short, “Paperman.”
Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute.
Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him.
Created by a small, innovative team working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Paperman” pushes the animation medium in an exciting new direction.
Paperman Featurette – The Future Of 2D Animation
The behind-the-scenes featurette demonstrates some of the techniques used to combine 2D animation and 3D animation. The technique uses traditional hand drawn 2D animation by carrying the information with the 3D CG using a program dubbed “Meander” created by Eric Daniels.
“Paperman” director John Kahrs has described the process: “It’s not like a texture map. It’s just like painting on the surface of the CG. It actually moves on a 2D layer that’s driven by the CG.”
John Kahrs goes on to describe the working process of animating: “…folds in the fabric, hair silhouettes and the like come from of the committed design decision-making that comes with the 2D drawn process. Our animators can change things, actually erase away the CG underlayer if they want, and change the profile of the arm.”
2D animation has, for some time now, taken a backseat to 3D computer graphics but John Kahrs has stated that although he does not believe they are ready to do a feature-length film using the technique that it is a direction that they are eventually going to move toward and that Disney believes there is a strong future ahead for this technology.
“Paperman” is one of the 10 animated shorts being considered for an Oscar at the next Academy Awards.
For more info about “Paperman” visit their Facebook page.“