Getting into the Autumn Spirit with New Tinker Bell
Sheryl Sackett: The main thing that we tried to concentrate on was improving the facial animation. So we worked on a lot of things to push the facial animation: get more shapes and blend shapes in there and make it easier for the animators to use, and also getting the animators up to speed on that part of the animation.
BD: And what was it like for you personally, since you worked on the first Tinker Bell movie?
SS: The fun part for me was introducing new characters and bringing new personalities in. In this one we have Terence [voiced by Jesse McCartney] and Blaze [voiced by Bob Bergen]. We tried to make those engaging characters [to play off of Tinker Bell].
BD: And what was it like exploring her more fully?
SS: It's interesting because in the original Peter Pan, which we're always referring to, if you string it all together, there's only five minutes of animation for Tinker Bell. Even in this film, we pay a little homage, but she's growing and our main focus is just to make her engaging. She's always our curious girl and we try to keep that part of her personality, because she's a tinker fairy.
BD: But she's also very mischievous.
SS: Well, that's beside the point. But it's important to us that she's appealing.
BD: How difficult has it been to translate her into CG?
SS: In the original, it was a lot of work. It took us a long time. There's a lot of cheats in the 2D version that we try and make into the 3D version, which is a little difficult to make sure that people recognize her as Tinker Bell. But she's different… she has to be by the nature of it. For instance, her hair is a whole 2D cheat, whereas in 3D it has to be grown almost like real hair. And artists can draw her and make her engaging, but in 3D were limited in that manner. We got some good notes from John Lasseter on making her look more Tinker Bell-like, so that's progressed. She's evolved.
BD: And how was Lasseter helpful on this one?
SS: It was a lot of his influence in pushing the facial and getting a lot of symmetry on that. And it really paid off. A lot of it is ease of use for animators and we want to make the rigs easier to use and push them forward more to get their animation more refined. It's pushing little details and gestures and getting character into the animation
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.