Paperman & 2D animation

Quite recently, with Wreck It Ralph, we saw Paperman come out to cinemas and then soon after it came out on YouTube.
People that know me well or even a little probably know how crazy I have been over this short animation and how much I’ve been talking about it. Above are some images that I’ve gathered over the internet to have a quick overview for those who may not have seen the animation as of yet. I’m sure most of you have seen the animation by now and I do recommend it to anyone to give it a good look as I do love it. The link below is to another blog which has a lot of great pre-visual work for the short which gives a good behind the scenes at just a very small snippet of the development work which went into making Paperman, from character sheets to some of the original visual layout and tone.

The reason that so many people had such an interest in the animation is due to the method in which the animation was being created and not just the simple fact that it was a new Disney short animation. Of course being Disney it was going to become a well-known and high-end animation as they have been recently developing their narratives and animations further aiming to bring back the audience and fan base it once had. With the new techniques and experimental animation style for a large animation company, the end result of the animation came to a great surprise to many who have since seen it.

The idea with this specific project, was to tell a narrative in a new medium that ideally wanted to mix 3D with 2D hand drawn animation. It was an exciting time to see what a company such as Disney would do with such an idea as they have the creative and skilled backing which others may not have to be able to pull off such a technique in a fun, interesting and developmental way. I personally believe that they pulled off the whole thing with a great simple fun narrative that touches upon Disney’s classic design and thought, with the animation technique and finesse to match. The animation style itself was some what of an homage to the classic Disney with its bounce and level of pacing but with the flow of movement and action that you can see within their more current animations such as Tangled.
I’m not sure if this is something I have simply made up, but in my mind the attention to the characters arcs has become ever more clear with other noticeable animation movements, have evolved with the medium as they have to compete further with a piece of software rather than their own hand or wrist. By no means is this a hinderance but it’s interesting to see how they’ve captured the curve of a person’s hand and natural flow of movement, with a softwares immediate action to perfect every line and curve. This is something that sometimes I feel lacks from current animations, of that natural movement and attention to detail that people neglect relying on computer based tweens and un-natural clean imagery and movement. Of course only the more well-known and animated features or shorts only come up due to the mix of narrative and attention to every frame of the movement, something that Disney has once again captured with both 2D and 3D mediums.

If you want more do head over to Disney’s YouTube,, although they have taken down a lot since the release.

Above is some of the behind the scenes of the animation with some of the visual break down and technology behind the short film. The video is a little bit of a ‘mish-mash’ but still gives a good impression of some of the vast work and development behind the technological and visual side.

All’s good in the world with the idea of mixing 2D animation and 3D animation, until Disney has given out the information that they were no longer going to create 2D animated feature films. This has since caused a bit of a ruckus within the animated world and has, in some cases, been over dramatised as the official death of 2D animation. Of course I personally believe, and I’m glad to see that animators within the field believe the same, that 2D will and cannot possibly ever die. Even as a foundation of creativity and understanding or as an actual final production method, 2D itself is something of a constant practice that will never simply cease to exist. Disney themselves only mention them not using it as a feature film medium, but do not look at stopping 2D all together and by no means does that mean no one can do ever do 2D again. I believe that animation came from 2D and came from flat hand drawn images and the magic and illusion of life came from those, so can not ever be replaced, beat or left behind a virtual and 3D world.
This may be a slight rant, however this is something that will directly affect my approach and work method for the future and this current project. Some very good advice I was given that I remembered recently whilst worrying about my project was, that I am making animations for me, at the moment I have no boss, no job, nothing to worry about in terms of loosing lots of money, company or job. I am making animations for me at the moment and for the joy of doing so, if people also enjoy it then that’s great and it has done its job, but this is my time to have fun and play and I intend for this final major project to be that play. A slightly selfish approach perhaps, and I have outlined an audience per say, however this is something I must keep at the front of my mind and make sure animation comes out as I imagined it.

For a good read and more details on the state of animation at the moment and some of the thoughts on the way its moving, do have a good read of the BBC article below. It’s got some good information and well researched in terms of getting input from those in the fore front of animation both large industry professionals and more well-developed freelance animators. It’s defiantly reassured my practice and cleared up a few thoughts.


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