Mind Your Business: Partnering on Princess and the Frog
Darley said Premise used more than a dozen seats of Toon Boom's Harmony animation software, having moved away from their proprietary CAPS system a few years ago. As artistic coordinator, Darley answered the crew's process questions for clean-up and effects, Harmony questions and set-ups the artists may not have been familiar with in the system. Plus, she served as department head for ink and paint and scanning so that means prepping all the shots for them and pitching in wherever she was needed.
"The thing that's really great about Harmony," Darley continued," is that it has indexed color, so that you can modify the palettes post ink and paint. Colors across an entire scene can be changed even after it is completed. The thing that's great about working in a smaller studio is that the people tend to be multi-talented. You have to be to be able to jump in and help out where you can because it is a much smaller crew."
Part of that crew included Premise's head of backgrounds, David Wang. Wang is another Disney Feature alumnus with credits that include Pocahontas, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch and Brother Bear.
When painting the backgrounds, Wang said, "I am using Photoshop with an Intuos tablet, not a Cintiq. The Cintiq is too close to me as I paint. I can have more space from the monitor using the tablet."
Even standing there, watching Wang paint, I couldn't believe how incredible the art was using a standard tablet. Wang's small crew of background painters worked on many sequences throughout the film.
Premise provided a lot of visual effects follow-up on the production, headed by their effects department head, Tony West, another long-time Disney Feature Animation vet. "We did maybe around 200 effects shots," West said. "We've been doing a lot of tones and shadows. We've also had a chance to do some pretty cool organic effects like a giant wave and bubbles and splashes and ripples and highlights. I actually had an opportunity to do something I've never done before after 20 years in the business and that was animate snot. We did two shots of snot."
To produce the effects, Tony's crew worked digitally on Cintiqs in Toon Boom's Harmony. Added West, "It's nearly perfect for effects in my opinion. I love it. Even on my first digital scene, I was able to draw effects about 1/3 faster than on paper."
Carola concluded: "I think it's fantastic that there is such terrific talent still here in Orlando that we can continue to work here and by utilizing today's technology, you don't have to be in the same city where the production is headquartered. That's one of the best things that has happened in the last eight years. People can now live where they want to live but still have opportunities to work on a great production and maintain relationships with good people they work with long distance. It is a wonderful feeling to be associated with a project of this quality."
To hear more of my interviews with the artists at Premise Ent., you may listen to the 20 minute interview podcast at http://www.SellYourTvConceptNow.com/frog.html.