Friday, December 22, 2006

Animating In Harmony

The Goof in "How to Play Baseball."

The Blackwing Diaries has this New York Times article on Disney shorts. It's not new, but it's relevant to the following anecdote, so I recount:

Four new shorts are in development at Disney: “The Ballad of Nessie,” a stylized account of the origin of the Loch Ness monster; “Golgo’s Guest,” about a meeting between a Russian frontier guard and an extraterrestrial; “Prep and Landing,” in which two inept elves ready a house for Santa’s visit; and “How to Install Your Home Theater,” the return of Goofy’s popular “How to” shorts of the ’40s and ’50s, in which a deadpan narrator explains how to play a sport or execute a task, while Goofy attempts to demonstrate — with disastrous results. The new Goofy short is slated to go into production early next year.

The idea for “Home Theater” came from the experience Kevin Deters, one of its two directors, had buying a large-screen TV. “For years I’ve been saying to my wife, let’s get a nice, large TV, because I’ve been suffering with a 30-inch screen,” he said. “She finally acquiesced around the time of the Super Bowl. When we went shopping, we discovered the stores had ‘Delivery in Time for the Big Game!’ and similar promotions, some of which appear in the film.”

I ran into one of Disney's Grand Old Animators out on the sidewalk beginning of the week, a guy who's been there -- off and on -- since the 'seventies. He told me he was starting to animate on Home Theater, working on the Goof. Said he was working with software called Harmony (if I remember the name right) that allows him to draw directly onto the computer screen. I asked the inevitable question:

"Miss the paper and pencil?"

He gazed into the middle distant and said "No, not really. It hasn't been that hard to get into. I kind of like it, in fact. Pretty easy to draw with the thing. And I don't have all those eraser crumbs in my lap anymore."

So there you have it. Technology marches on. No more eraser crumbs.


Anonymous said...

"been there -- off and on -- since the 'seventies"

Hmmmmm.... Dale Baer ?

Harmony is from ToonBoom in Montreal.

I have to say I enjoy drawing on the Cintiq (I've tested Harmony, but what I use is TVPaint )
and about the only thing I miss is the ability to roll those five pieces of paper between my fingers when animating. I'm still adjusting to scrubbing back and forth over the drawings in the timeline to get something resembling the "flipping" effect.

Exciting times !

Steve Hulett said...

I ain't saying who it is. Good guess, though.

Anonymous said...


It sounds more like a Mark Henn comment.

...and didn't the Florida studio do a Goofy short during downtime. i think it was called "How to haunt a house"

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Dear Sirs:
I do believe the paper is gone.
I always hear on how the animators do good to excellent on the change over from the papeer to mouse.
Where do I go, an assistant working on animator did'nt quite make it there before the axe came.
I also hear about the new talent, these shorts are for them, but there are artist like me that I fill got over looked. Or should I say, I had my day.
It's hard for someone in my level to complete in the out of town out of site work flying out.
Thank You.
Greg Fleming

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