Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sad if true...

This little blurb over at Cartoon brew got my attention last evening.
To quote...
I am a regular reader of your "Cartoon Brew" website, and an animator at DisneyToon Studio's Australia. I have some breaking news for you: At 3pm today (Monday 25 July) the entire studio was summoned for a staff meeting in which we told by the General Manager Phil Oakes that upon completion of our next production "Cinderella 3", DisneyToon Studio's Australia will be closing down after 17 years. They have cited current business needs and production schedules as the cause. So Disney hand drawn animation now ceases to exist.

Seems Disney has finally broken the last remaining link to their hand drawn animation heritage. 80+ years of tradition and heritage left adrift. Now I know that some folks may say they've already done that by shuttering the orldano studio and by making the Burbank studio Cg only, but I thought the Australian crew were really starting to hit their stride as artisans. Sure the projects themselves may not have been the most original or inspired, but the quality of the work was advancing. So maybe this is not big news, but I think it's still sad. This means that any traditional animation done with the Disney name won't even be done by artists with the Disney name on their paycheck, if they do any at all. Will they putsopurce to Korea or other markets like TV does? Does this mean all direct to video projects will also be CG only? I know Disney's video division has a full slate of potential direct to video CG projects in the pipe. There are studios doing animation tests now for a Pinnochio-2 video sequel (all in CG, pinnochio as a real boy). Seems the outsource model is the path for Disney now?
On a side note, I wonder if this spells the end for Andreas Dejas. He's been the most stubbornly resistant animator when it comes to switching away from hand drawn. He'd been keeping himself busy doing animation direction and such on the tradtionally animated Disney Australia projects.

I dunno. I find it sad. But at the same time, it could be exciting to let traditional hand drawn animation find a new patron saint, someone who won't treat it with such contempt. I'm keen to see where the next great traditionally animated film comes from. I've got high hopes for Nocturna and Giacomo's Secret.

10 comments:

Drew said...

i think some of the most beautiful pieces of animation are pencil drawings. one of the best parts of the tarzan dvd was seeing all of the animation tests in the special features. same with the emotional climax of ice age. people are going to get sick of seeing phongs, precise and calculated movementand, and slick environments and there is going to be a studio that comes along and fills in that void.

it's sad to see something like this happen, but if "2D is dead" then let it die, have a wake and hope it fares as well as lazarus.

i got into animation because of my love for drawing, but being able to transcend media says something about an animator.

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

I wonder what's Andreas Deja is gonna do as well. Although he hasn't been THAT stubborn. He's tried learning Maya for that cancelled Orlando project (something with ghosts), but it wasn't his thing, so he decided to go to the Australian studio. Something I've been hoping for a long time now, is that he'd rebuilt the Disney Animatin training program that Eric Larson started. Now that would be cool, and would probably give us a few more greats in the field.

But I don't think it's gonna happen...

It'd be a real pitty if he left Disney, though. It's his 25th year there, and there's already planned a jubileum day in his hometown in Germany.

- Benjamin

Tim Hodge said...

2D isn't dead. It's just that execs who want to buy new Lexuses aren't going to pay anybody to do it. So it's now a very small niche market. It's like this: we've had lightbulbs for over 100 years now, but people still use candles.
From now on, traditional animation lives in the hands of those who love it.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my cave painting.

- Tim

Andy Welihozkiy said...

This outsourcing trend is disturbing. Begin learning that second language people.

Looks like ILM is doing the same out in Singapore for the Star Wars TV series. The production will be fleshed out here stateside but the bulk of production work will be in Singapore. Lucas' test for future full production outsourcing? We'll see.

But how long did Film Roman outsource the Simpsons? I recall animation was always done in Asia. Only layout was performed here in the US.

Keith Lango said...

"From now on, traditional animation lives in the hands of those who love it."

The idea of traditional animators as candle makers is intriguing. There's a homespun warmth to that notion. I kinda like it.

Adam Levin said...

I feel that Studio Ghibli needs to be mentioned if we are to talk about the current state of traditional animation. They continue to amaze me with their work, and its not underfunded or done in two different places. And shows all that 2d has to offer and that 2d can handle any story.

Lars van Schagen said...

It's a shame Disney's closing it's 2d facilities. Hopefully studio's like Ghibli will keep producing 2d films. Anyways it's a shame they (Disney) invented full animation, why kill it? Execs are weird.

* Lars

Ryan Hagen said...

Walt is turning over as we speak. Sad to hear, I hope everyone gets along ok after the shut down. There's more to closing than just losing a form of animation...it effects families.

Adam Green said...

Oh great, now it will be CG Cinderella 4...

Mike Milo said...

I think it's pitiful that Disney would turn it's back on it's heritage. After 80+ years animating in 2d they suddenly realize that it doesn't make them money? This after buying ABC and any number of smaller companies. Hmmm, where did they get the money to build that hideous ABC building off Rt.5 in Burbank? Where did they get the money to buy ABC and all it's afiliates? Do they think it was from something other than animation?
Fools.
Perhaps they should realize instead that it was not the medium that made them produce flop after flop but rather poor stories and stupid unmarketable ideas.
Don't get me wrong, 3D is an amazing medium and I love the way The Incredibles and Ice Age looked but c'mon guys! 2D Dead?
I think not.
Last time I checked, Sponge Bob and Powerpuff Girls, Ren and Stimpy, Fairly Odd Parents and many other cash-cows are proving daily that it's the "idea" that makes a film (or story)successful not the "medium" and as long as they produce turkeys like Atlantis and Home on the Range, their 3D films will do no better at all.