At a recent press conference, John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, touted the return of 2D with THE PRINCESS AT THE FROG (opening today in LA and New York and expanding Dec. 11).
"As we started working on this film and getting people to come back, it was so exciting because some of the artists left the studio that were working on hand-drawn animation because they didn't want to be re-trained for computer animation. Some of the artists were re-trained. So we brought both of those groups back together -- and never, ever in my career, have I worked with a group of artists that had more to prove to the world that this art form is spectacular…
"And I believe strongly that there are certain things you can do in 2D animation and still can't do in CG. I think, actually, when you look at PRINCESS AND THE FROG and the amazing animation of Louis the alligator, I'm not sure that would be quite the same way in computer animation. And I always say that if you look at SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, that the animation of the dwarfs themselves is something that's pretty much impossible to achieve in computer animation. That fluidity, that squash-and-stretch, that kind of stuff just works with hand-drawn animation. Also, the rich painted backgrounds, we took a look at the films that Walt Disney made because I asked them to aim high: I said, 'Let's make great art.' So we chose LADY AND THE TRAMP and BAMBI for the bayou scenes, the nature, the way that that was represented there, almost an Impressionistic point of view at times. And then with LADY AND THE TRAMP, the scenes of the humans and the architecture of the character design is just the pinnacle of what was Disney's personal style."
Afterward, Lasseter elaborated on the importance of this hand-drawn movie for the industry. "I think this is extremely crucial," Lasseter told AWN, "because it hasn't been done [in quite a while]. There are naysayers out there who think that the reason to dismantle the 2D animation at all the studios was because they thought the audience only wanted to watch CG. And I don't believe that at all. You have a group of artists who really want to prove that audiences will love this movie and I think it's about the storytelling -- what you do with the medium."
As for the future of 2D at the studio, Lasseter spoke about the next animated feature slated for spring 2011. "We're doing WINNIE THE POOH -- it's the next hand-drawn animated film coming out of the studio; we have other things in the works (nothing's been announced). But we're really excited about that. And we're really excited about the return of WINNIE THE POOH and to do it the way the original WINNIE THE POOH AND THE HONEY TREE was done by Walt Disney.