Video essay: Technique not design defined early Disney animation

(image via YouTube courtesy Kristian Williams / Disney)

The real Disney style isn’t in design but in technique. Techniques that are universal and style agnostic, which is why when budgets were tight, Disney was notorious for repurposing animation from its archive to save time and they were able to recycle that work between two completely different characters because those techniques are just a framework, a skeleton that can fit within the mold of any design or any process. (excerpt via
Laughing Squid (c) Kristian Willams aka kaptainKristian)

There is no denying that Disney animation has a singular style to it.

Along with a handful of other animation studios, it’s animation is at once arresting and instantly recognisable.

But just why is that?

In this illuminating essay, kaptainkristian, known for his conversational but information-rich style, discusses what sets Disney’s long-celebrated animation apart, during which he refers to “the core principles implemented by Disney’s early animators in order to bring an image to life … [all of which were] firmly cemented in the 1981 Disney animation bible The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two members of the legendary ‘Nine Old Men’.” (Laughing Squid)

It’s a fascinating watch that gives you a whole new respect for the studio that has given so many wonderful and longlasting animation classics.

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