About a month ago, we shared some exciting things we learned about Frozen 2 from the filmmakers. We’ve now returned to take a deeper dive into the animation of the upcoming film, and get a better understanding of how this beautiful upcoming masterpiece was brought to life.
The development of a great movie always begins with a great team. Frozen 2 involved bringing multiple artists together to create an overall animation style, despite having animators with their own unique approaches. While this was prone to its own set of challenges, there were leads that helped to carve out a cohesive direction. Alongside the Co-Heads of Animation, the Supervising Animators worked to take charge of the characters and really drive them.
When it comes to the process of animation, every person follows their own method to prepare for a scene. However, what is always consistent is the process of “issuing” with the directors, which encompasses breaking down what a scene will look like. In this stage, Directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck serve as the resources for the overall vision for the different characters and movements. The animators will then soak up all of the information they’re given to help bring the movie to life.After issuing comes creating the layout for a scene. The job of the animation team is to then take the directors’ ideas and explore more of who the characters will be. How do they go about this, you may ask? By recreating their actions in real life! This often takes the form of acting out a motion to better see what it would look like, or shooting a reference. Co-Head of Animation Becky Bresee explains,
I actually act the scene out or my daughters will act the scene out, or [even] my husband will act the scene out. Everyone is affected by it.
Note to self: #SignsYouHaveAnAnimatorInYourFamilyThe next step is Blocking, which involves looking at the timeline and number of frames in a shot. According to Co-Head of Animation Tony Smeed, the procedure entails filling in just enough film frames to pose a character in a “golden pose,” or showcase the tentpole moments of a scene. The purpose of this is to essentially showcase enough of the concept for the directors to understand, without having to fill out everything in case there are changes that need to be made. Upon receiving approval from the directors, the artists will close the gaps and smooth everything out.
The animation of Frozen 2 wouldn’t have been complete without some epic effects! From what we’ve seen in the trailer, we can expect the upcoming film to be nothing short of legendary. “Once you get to see the whole [film], every sequence seems to have [had] something really difficult to do. It was an effects animator’s dream come true because you [got] to do all this very cool, varied stuff,” states Head of Effects Animation Marlon West. One of the amazing characters the effects animation team had the opportunity to take on was the Nokk, one of Frozen 2’s mythical characters. Fun fact: the Nokk took six months of development with half a dozen artists meeting almost daily! With that time frame and scale in mind, it isn’t shocking to hear that it was one of the most intensive characters from Frozen 2 to work on. Countless questions had to be considered during its creation, such as “How much do you even see Elsa through the Nokk?” West notes, “The character has to be believable above water [and] under water. Most of the things that make the Nokk look like water is his tail and his mane.” When working on effects, it’s also important to keep animations incorporated in mind to not conflict with the performance of the scene. Who else has full appreciation for the Nokk now?
What. A. Time. To. Be. Alive. We’re so ready to fully immerse ourselves with the animation of Frozen 2, on Digital & Blu-ray. You can buy it here.