The Animation Research Library… Animated

Last month, we told you about the iPad app Disney Animated. To get more information about how the hundreds of assets in the interactive app got there, we talked to Fox Carney, Manager of Research at the Animation Research Library.

“Everybody would like to see everything, but you only have so much time,” says Fox of the choosing process. This same sentiment was echoed by Walt Disney Animation Studios Creative Director Dave Bossert, who told us that it was all about finding a balance between the unseen and the fan favorites. With over 64 million assets to choose from in the Animation Research Library (ARL), that was no easy task.

Fox says the request first came from Dave, who brought in members of the Touch Press team to see some of the physical assets in the ARL. One such asset? The Pinocchio maquette.

Disney Animation Pinocchio

Once they determined which physical assets were to be captured, the ARL Collections Team assisted by putting them on stands so they could be photographed.

But that team wasn’t the only one from the ARL that helped Disney Animated come to life. Almost every group had a hand in the final product. For example, when Dave and Walt Disney Animation Studios came to the ARL and asked for drawings from “The Illusion of Life” by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, first the ARL needed to identify the scenes and work with the drafts (breakdowns of shorts and films) to figure out which images they needed.

“Initially,” says Fox, “we were scanning to match the drawings. Then we thought: ‘Can we put these in motion?’.” Once they realized they could, they said, “Let’s rehouse the whole scene and catalog the drawing.” At this point, the research team jumped in to catalog.

“Those cataloged images were taken to the Image Capture team,” says Fox of yet another step in the process. The Image Capture Team uses both ultra-high resolution cameras and high resolution cameras to make sure they are saving each image for many generations to come.

After that? The ARL took those files and presented them to someone in the animation building, who was able to build pencil tests out of them and create a Quicktime movie file so the progression could be seen in the app… in motion. “You wanted to be able to see these pencil drawings come to life,” says Fox. “It was as if they were producing them again, except in pencil this time.”  And that was just one example of one set of assets. The app has hundreds, if not thousands.

Fox says that all of this makes the app a totally new way for fans to engage with the ARL. “For the most part, a lot of the presentations of our art are very passive. You can just look at it,” he says. “Here you can make choices.”

“This opens up our collection immensely to the public,” Fox continues. “For the most part it’s just been windows, limited and focused. Here it lets people feel as though they’re entering the ARL itself by seeing a lot of the treasures and a lot of the art that’s in our collection.”

You can see the above assets—and hundreds more—when you download the Disney Animated app for iPad.

Posted 4 years Ago
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