There have been a large number of influences within my short film for my final major project, but more than any has been the influence of Disney and Warner Bros. and they still do so within their current work. Disney’s recent film ‘Wreck It Ralph’ for me was a very enjoyable film and had lovely design, story and animation to the film. But the main point I want to discuss within this blog post is the design and pre-production work that had gone into the film which made it so enjoyable.
Having looked at Tangled and other films for things like film direction, I had not thought so much on the actual structure of the characters and environments until remembering some images I had found last year. I sadly haven’t been able to find the images again but, there was an image which I had seen of the shape comparison of the Pixars ‘UP’ cast. This was a great comparison between the general shapes that make up the characters and contrast them against one another. I had found and talked about a similar image which was done for the cast of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ in which it again showed the general shape of the characters compared to one another.
This was something I really wanted to get a greater understanding of and develop within my own animation. It was very quick from their to decide what shapes and colours I would have to each area and how these would be also shown in the characters.
The images below are shots taken from the film and taken from the ‘behind the scenes’ special features of the film. Each one looks at the shape of the environment and the structure with the vast difference in colour, shape and tone depending on the nature of that specific moment within the film. It was interesting to hear as to why they chose those shapes and colours for those specific parts of the film such as the squares that make up Niceland or the triangles that form Heroes Duty.
Each shape of course has a different feel and connotation to how the story is meant to feel to the audience and almost another subtle hint or subconscious message that the film direction also does. The idea of the shapes of course don’t just mean a certain feeling or mood within that moment for the animation, it also looks towards the purpose and practical realism to the world. An example of this would be looking at Niceland, with it being a retro game based within the earlier arcades, the visual art work for those where mainly made up of 8Bit squares and therefore the use of such shapes would fit in with the world that they come from. For Heroes Duty, the idea of triangles also look into the use of triangles within some modelling as well as the make up of characters and games within today’s world compared to the setting of Fix It Felix.
The shapes however where a main reason I was focusing so much on Wreck It Ralph as it gives a perfect example of the difference in connotation with the squares, triangles and circles. The squares where an interesting choice for the team as of course they needed it for the 8BIT feel, but as use for a connotation, they could make the surroundings very clean, simple and some what normal. You felt as though the world was somewhere quiet common or you could familiarize yourself with it. Compared to the use of the square shape within in Wreck It Ralph I’ve tried to make it a little bit more scary and use its clean, sharp look for the cold area of the frozen aisle. But still going with a similar feel of clean-cut shapes and lines but trying to also adapt the style I’ve tried to build up.
With Heroes Duty and the triangles, this idea really came to light for me because I loved the design and pre-visualisation work that was created for the film within this level/world. I’ve used triangles for the same reasons as Wreck It Ralph, using them to evoke a sense of danger with the shape edges, lots of edges and heavy-looking environments. It creates the same sense of fear, interest and danger that I want within some parts of my animation using it within the lava section of the animation.
Sugar Rush uses the circle as its main guide to creating the world. It’s clear that they chose to do this due to the connotation of an object with a circular shape. The idea is that circles and soft, round and friendly, with this in mind I too used it for a candy world in which the kids end up within. Something that also expanded the idea of the shapes for the environments and characters, was the noticeable pattern that began to occur within the design of my animation. As I was explaining the use of shapes within one of the small meetings I had with most of the team, Liam had noticed the pattern of shapes losing corners and where smoothing off through the animation. What is quiet interesting is that the shapes go from hexagons, to squares, to triangles, to circles, within my animation and hopefully this accidental but slightly planned occurence within my animation hopefully give off the correct connotation and feel but without the audience needing to be told or even notice.
The screen shot above is something a little extra, as the creatives at Disney spoke about the study of the classic hand drawn animation that had influenced some of the animations and movements within this film. It was interesting just to see how much influence there still is for the artists and how much they take in from the styles, methods and approaches to certain moments within the animation.