bolt

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Capture from the clip. Sometime in November, Disney's new computer animation piece, Bolt will be released. It isn't a Pixar extravaganza, but a simpler piece generated by Disney studios alone—Like Meet the Robinsons and Chicken Little . I think a piece like Bolt could be compared to earlier Disney work like The Fox and the Hound and The Black Cauldron - cartoons that honed young animator's skills without much public fanfare, Scan from the book.though these Disney folks are getting pretty good even without Pixar.

I love computer generated animation, and look forward to everything Pixar does and most of what Disney does too. There's a lot that bothers me though- and it usually bothers me after–the–fact, not before; and never enough to keep me from actually attending and basking in the sensory perfection of a piece like Ratatouille . What bugs me is the sterility; and that might be the wrong word… packaged sensations? Programmed responses? Isn't that what art is ? Computer work from years ago, like the series Reboot made me wonder if illustration and cell animation would at some point be brushed aside in favor of the more photo-perfect styles. For producer/directors, there's a great deal of visionary power in being able to view computer animation in–the–works Capture from the clip.and call for relighting, grander or subtler movement, or different points of view, all while looking over the animator's shoulder.

I'm delighted then when I see alternatives, and the Disney marketing machine has lots of alternatives. I heard of the Bolt Little Golden Book in an illustration blog I follow. I looked in town for a copy but no one had it. Scan from the book.Early this morning, I found a copy on sale at the grocery store so I didn't have to go through Amazon.

The book is delightful. The style is crisp and simple, making no effort to be the same as the film it depicts. The captures and scans that I have here are arranged to contrast the depictions of similar scenes, and clicking them goes to the Amazon or Trailer sites respectively. There's something satisfying in the texture and tone of the Little Golden Book drawings. They were done by Joe Moshier, who also did character design for The Emperor's New Groove . As I mentioned, Disney's marketing machine is massive, and there are actually a number of different books out- aimed at different age levels and reading abilities, I imagine, and they all feature different styles and different artists.Capture from the clip. There's even a larger book due called The Art of Bolt and it features a painted cover that's possibly a conceptual piece done in gouache.

I guess I find comfort in these books. There's a sensuality in this sort of illustration that modeled, generated, machine rendered animation doesn't yet match.Scan from the book. Maybe it will some day, either by advances in the medium, or changes in the perception of artists and audiences. Bolt existed so accurately in its own 3D space that an additional 3D version could be released. It would have been easy to generate single frame images for a book- even new single frame images that didn't exist in the film but that were composed just for single shot vertical illustrations. But, the Machine chose to use 2D images. Like the credits in Ratatouille or The Incredibles we have sensual, visual contrast.

Why? Not sure. Maybe for artistic reasons. Maybe for reasons that would make me shudder—like for more, or cheaper, toy tie-in opportunities. For now, I'll just enjoy my golden book. And maybe I'll take out my pastels and draw a hamster or two.

Penn State
April 18, Symposium 2009; reimagine.
New content. Symposium 2008.Digital Commons at Penn State. Improve the workplace; hire for variety.

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