|10.11.2012 – Traditional hand-drawn technique is a lost art now with the dominance of computer-generated animation. But with a marriage of two concepts can bring out something new and fresh that Introduces groundbreaking hybrid approach that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques.
First-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with “Paperman,” a new short from Walt Disney Animation Studios that debuts this November with the Disney feature “Wreck-It Ralph.”
Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man (George) in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman (Meg) on his morning commute.
Convinced that the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him.
“Paperman” was produced by Kristina Reed (a key player in production and development at Disney Animation since 2008), and created by a small, innovative team working at Walt Disney Animation Studios. It pushes the animation medium in an exciting new direction, and is a bold experiment in bringing the organic, expressive and artistic qualities of traditional hand-drawn, Disney animation to the cutting-edge look and limitless possibilities of the CG world.
Jeff Turley served as the film’s art director. Emmy® Award-winning composer Christophe Beck (“The Hangover,” Disney’s “The Muppets” and “Under the Tuscan Sun”) adds to the film’s uplifting mood and appeal with his soaring score.
Helping to give “Paperman” its unique look and style are the contributions of a department the Studio dubbed Final Line. This small team of traditional 2D animators used a proprietary drawing software tool called Meander to create a layer of expressive hand-drawn lines and paint strokes that “stick” to a foundation layer of carefully prepared CG animation in a completely new way, respecting the flatness of the drawn line and using techniques specifically developed for the project.
The result is an extraordinary blend of the two animation mediums that is a perfect match for the story and character needs of “Paperman.”
“‘Paperman’ is definitely an attempt to do something different in animation,” says Reed. “John and I both felt that so many CG films today are striving for photorealism—we believe there is a whole different visual frontier that should be explored.
We wanted ‘Paperman’ to put something on the table in that direction, and we’re hoping that Disney and other studios and artists will continue the conversation about how different animation can look. It’s virtually limitless.
“John and I both come from CG backgrounds,” continues Reed. “When we came to Disney, we discovered the power of the line, its expressiveness and what our great 2D line artists can do. It inspired us to think about where could go with this.”
“Paperman” had its world premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France on June 4, where it received a resounding reception from animators and critics from around the world. It went on to further acclaim with its North American premiere two weeks later at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Watch “Paperman” in Philippine cinemas as it precedes all theatrical screenings of “Wreck-It Ralph” starting November 1, 2012.