Monday, July 14, 2014

Pinocchio in the Bird Cage

Ken Anderson relates the following details about the complexity of one of the scenes in Disney's Pinocchio (1940):


"The most difficult multi-plane shot in terms of design and layout was far from the most spectacular of the film. It’s where Pinocchio is locked in the bird cage in Stromboli’s wagon, and the wagon is moving. You had a great number of levels. There were the swinging bars of the cage, and that cage had two levels, front and back. Pinocchio was inside, responding to the pull of gravity. The problems of proper registration was tremendous. On top of that, you had swinging puppets in the foreground and light coming in the window with the moon shining on the farthest level back. The moon was held while the other things were moving and swinging. The light ray of the blue fairy had to be airbrushed through the window. The final result looks natural, but planning all the effects was very complicated. And expensive."
From Cartoon Brew, where Steve Hulett has been presenting a serialized memoir called "Mouse in Transition" about his years at Walt Disney animation. While he was there, he interviewed older animators, including Ken Anderson, about their work on Pinocchio.
Images copyright Disney Enterprises

6 comments:

CC said...

James! You have the best links! You must be the smartest man in all of art! :) Thanks for these...I signed up! Love them! ♥

Brad L said...

Hey sir, I have remember reading something once upon a time that said that many of these older animators and artists suffered from arthritise and carpal tunnel and the like. Some days after bearing down on a painting or drawing or tablet for 8 hours my hand will basically lock up. Research into this topic has yielded a lot of oldsters pitching fish oil (omega-3) and the like, but I'm 27 and I thinking more prevention, like hand exercises and the like. What have you heard?

OverTheSea said...

Sorry for the off-topic post, but I recently made my way through your two instructional artbooks and found your blog through them!

I wanted to try and ask for any advice regarding painting interiors. I find the books exceptionally helpful for making me think about exterior shots, but I'm still finding it hard to approach interiors, I find myself routinely confused by how light is reflected in a tight space like a bedroom. Any tips or starting points of references for how to paint interiors would be greatly appreciated! If anything I simply want thank you for putting together your two books, they've given me a lot of good information for my self-taught studies.

(And if any other readers of the blog can provide some tips by all means I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts!)

James Gurney said...

Thanks, CC, just passing on some fun stuff I find out there.

Brad, sorry, I don't know much about this topic, but I wish you well finding out answers.

OverTheSea, well, let's see. Light behaves according to the same laws indoors as out, but indoors you often are dealing with artificial sources or light coming from windows. I did a post on "Window Light" here: http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2010/05/window-light.html

....and I dealt with some of the issues of lighting in traditional interiors here: http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-family-eating-dinner-1760s-style.html

With multiple artificial sources it gets complex to track down all the effects. Most of the best study of that would be CG and photography forums.

Hope that helps.

Gavin said...

Speaking personally, as you get older it's hard not to hold onto some nostalgia of my youth. The first films I ever saw at the cinema were classic, painstakingly drawn Disney cartoons. I 'force' them onto my young kids now, but they love them too.

In the era of Sponge Bobs, and Peppa Pigs (I understand their entertainment value, and the need for budgets), it's a skill that's disappearing. I admire the advances in CGI, and they still involve a whole lot of problem solving and skill, but it's not the same.

You got me on a soapbox! :)

OverTheSea said...

Thank you for the reply Mr. Gurney! I'll try and track down a good photography forum to try and help me learn how to do interiors. Thanks again for the tips!