Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Animators of Tangled!

Here are a few posters I worked on for Tangled. I posed the characters out using Glen Kean’s drawings as ref. These were alot of fun to get to work on!

New Disney Tangled Trailer.

New Tangled Trailer! (international)

This is the new trailer for Disney UK. There will be a few different trailers tailoring to different cultures, each having its own unique flavor.



New Tangled publicity images.

These are a few different poses we have done through animation for publicity. We would get drawings of these poses from Glen, and then have to translate them onto the 3D characters. The Translating Glen’s amazing drawings into the characters on the computer wasnt easy. We all learned quite alot just from working on these poses. ENJOY!

Oscar’s Animation Race Just Got ‘Tangled’

here is an awesome Write up from a writer who got a sneak peek of the film.

Oscar’s Animation Race Just Got ‘Tangled’.

I know everyone (including my new Deadline colleague Mike Fleming who will be reporting on the ground there for us) is winging their way to Toronto right now to see a bunch of Oscar hopefuls that I already saw in Cannes, Telluride or oh-so-cool private L.A. screenings (more on THOSE flicks as the fest unveils them). But I am also focused on checking out some contenders NOT on display in Canada. That’s exactly what I did yesterday in the not-as-exciting clime of Burbank. I came away feeling I’d found another strong entry in what is becoming a very strong awards season race for ‘toons.

That’s right. Wednesday Disney did something studios never do unless they know they have the goods. They flew in several members of the press–mostly those who cover animation for outlets with long lead times–to see the first ever screening of the big Thanksgiving holiday release Tangled. The musical weaves a new take on the Rapunzel fairy tale, in what represents Disney’s milestone 50th animated feature since Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs in 1937. John Lasseter told the gathered press, “You can feel the pride people in this studio have in Tangled. We just couldn’t wait for people to see it.”

It’s looking like there will again be five nominees for Best Animated Feature this year. Based the deservedly enthusiastic press response to the work-in-progress print shown yesterday, Tangled could easily be among them. As will Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3, which remains the 800 pound gorilla in the race. Dreamworks is already aggressively campaigning for How To Train Your Dragon.

Tangled had to be shown in very rough form since only about 60% of the animation has been completed. The 3D isn’t ready, and composer Alan Menken’s score isn’t in place yet although the songs are. Producer Roy Conli said they expect to have the finished print in a couple of months. It was an all day event. Several artists explained different aspects of the production, extensive tours of the Disney animation building , and a large lobby transformed into an elaborate forest setting where press were encouraged to join in the “forest fun” with a turkey leg toss, frying pan ping pong and photo opportunities, among other things. Ya gotta love Disney, right?

Rapunzel is an idea that has been floating around apparently since the days of Walt but due to its hair raising nature has never been really possible to crack until sophisticated CGI technology made it easier to place those 100,000 pieces of follicles atop this latest Disney princesses’ head. The movie itself is also an attempt to revive the 80’s and 90’s heyday of big Disney animated musicals like Beauty And The Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas, with scores and songs from Alan Menken who won a whopping 8 Academy Awards for that quartet and performs similar duties here with his collaborator Glenn Slater. Tangled’s directing duo Nathan Greno and Byron Howard (Bolt) actually look at it a little differently than those hits. “This is not a big Broadway kind of musical. We look at it as more in touch with classic Disney films of the 50’s where music is a key element in the storytelling,” Greno told me when I sat down with the talented team late in the marathon day. “It has that classic 40’s and 50’s Disney kind of feel but at the same time we’re making these movies for a contemporary audience. It’s great to acknowledge our roots while being non-traditional but not cynical,” Howard added.

For his part, Menken doesn’t mind the comparison to his earlier works at the studio that brought him all that Oscar gold but notes it differs because it really is the first CGI-3D animated musical. Last holiday season Disney tried a more traditionally animated 2D musical ‘toon written by Randy Newman. “As good as it was, The Princess And The Frog underperformed, so the jury’s out. My hope is that Tangled will go through the roof, not just selfishly for me but for the form,” Menken told me.

Menken says he tried to put a medieval flavor to the new songs mixing in influences like Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens and 60’s folk rock although Donna Murphy who voices the evil Mother Gothel has a flat-out standout Broadway-style number called “Mother Knows Best”. Mandy Moore is the voice of Rapunzel. Eventually there will also be an added end title rock-style song , a “sore point” for Menken who didn’t write it. Menken feels the song with the best shot for another Oscar nomination is “I See The Light” which highlights the remarkable lantern sequence in the movie. “I was nominated for three songs on Enchanted (2007) which is probably why we didn’t win (Melissa Etheridge’s ‘ An Inconvenient Truth’ was the victor). I would be happy to just have one,” he says.

Actually, it’s obvious Menken’s winning ways were responsible for rule changes from the Academy’s music branch that make ineligible the kind of musical scores for which the composer regularly won Oscars. Only Alfred Newman’s 9 statuettes surpasses Menken, and a Tangled win this year would tie him. But his fellow musicians are not making it as easy as it once was. “Now they have made it so a score from an animated musical cannot be validated as best score in any way, not even underscore. I understand that songs do make a score jump out at you in a way underscores can’t compete, but I don’t agree with that. If there were more musicals we could have a Best Musical category but there just aren’t enough,” he says.

The Academy also tweaked the rules after Dreamgirls and Enchanted each scored three song nominations in successive years. Now it allows only two to be named from a given movie. Last year, they didn’t even perform the nominated tunes on the show. What’s an 8- time Oscar winner to do with all this meddling? “For me the Oscars are a little strange because it’s really about actors anyway, those familiar faces,” he says. “ All that attention is really about big glamour. But I’m just happy to be part of the evening and walk away with my Oscar or two.”

New Tangled Preview

This is a great video with Mandy, and Zach talking about the film.


France Poster!

This is a pose I created for the France Poster using Glen Kean’s amazing artwork as a guide! It was always challenging getting the same attitude and appeal from Glen’s drawings on paper into the characters in 3d, but well worth the effort. Hope you like it!


C’est une attitude que j’ai créé pour l’affiche la France en utilisant oeuvre étonnante Glen Kean comme un guide! Il a toujours été difficile obtenir la même attitude et l’appel de Glen dessins sur papier dans les personnages en 3D, mais en vaut la chandelle. Hope you like it!

(I hope that’s right)

Tangled France Poster.

Finishing animation on Tangled.

CTL + Save.

all done…

Reflecting on all the work that's been done.

Finishing my last shot on Tangled is a bitter-sweet feeling. This Film has been on such an incredible journey, and now that its wrapping up there is an amazing sense of energy, excitement and hope. I know that as studio, we have poured ourselves into this film, and I think it shows on the screen.

This is a shot I animated for the Teaser Trailer. Kira Lehtomaki also worked with me on this.

I Feel extremely lucky to have had the chance to work with so many wonderful artist on this film. Getting to work with Glen Keane on a daily basis is something I never expected. It is quite a treat to be able to pick his brain, as well as him pick ours. It’s so wonderful to get to work on something that you truly believe in. Dailies was always a place for inspiration and open artistic collaboration. The animation department really fed off of each other to push our ideas and make our shots better. It was obvious from the beginning that we all wanted to push ourselves and our skills to learn as much as we could while working on this film.

To talk a little bit about the animation aspect of this film, I had to learn to approach animation in a much different way than I was accustomed to. The animation in this movie is much more contained and “real” than I have animated in the past, and by real I’m not saying we were trying to animate in a hyper-realistic style, but we were really pushed to make these characters really feel alive, and to exist beyond this movie. We all knew that these characters existed, we just hadto learn how to translate our thoughts to the screen. Our Supervisors, Glen Keane, Clay Kaytis, and John Kahrs did an amazing job of guiding the team down the right path, and keeping these characters true to who they are as well as keeping the look of the animation consistent throughout the movie. Glen said to me once, (talking about Rapunzel) “I know this character better than I’ve ever known any other character, and I’ve never animated her”. But in reality, It was like Glen had already animated this film and he just wasn’t telling anybody. In dailies sometimes glen would draw over our shots and make everything look and feel so much stronger, the illusion was that he did it with such ease and precision he made it look easy…but then you get back to your desk and realize what a challenge you had ahead of you. The Directors, Byron Howard, and Nathan Greno were great as well. They had such a high standard for this film and they didn’t drop the bar once. It has to be right, no matter what it takes to get there. It was a very interesting way of Directing animation. I find we were treated like actors and not so much animators. The majority of notes we would get in dailies were less about animation, and more performance notes. “The animation looks great, but instead of Flynn thinking this, maybe he does this instead… because earlier in the film, this happens” etc. Everything was about performance and who these characters are, not about arcs and movement. Although the principles of animation are very important and were held to a high standard, the directors really focused on the performance of the characters over all. So I think with them focusing on the performance and trusting the supervisors and the animators as artists to produce great animation. This type of direction really made us push ourselves even harder.

This team has been so much fun to work with. Everybody has had something special to add to the movie. The team really worked great together. Everybody did a great job of helping each other and motivating each other whenever there was a hurdle in the road. I’ve made many great friends from this film and that is one of my favorite things that I will remember about this experience. I think, watching the film and seeing all the work on the screen is one thing, but being able to relate everything you see on the screen to things that were going on in the studio or in people’s lives at that time, that’s amazing. I married the love of my life during the making of this film. I even animated a shot just for her! ;) That’s something that to me will always have its place with this project. I think if you work on something like this and don’t have the stories and memories to go along with it, you’re doing it wrong!

-Malcon Pierce

Finishing Up

I hope everybody loves this movie as much as I do! I think its going to be a lot of fun for everybody!

I can still remember being in 2nd grade, and the teacher would ask everybody what they wanted to be when they grew up. There were alot of police men, a few lawyers (all thought most didn’t know what that meant), some doctors, and firemen, But I remember saying I wanted to be an animator for Disney. I dont think I even knew what that was at the time…but I liked Disney movies, and I figured everybody who worked at Disney was an animator… so I wanted in. Well, 20 years later I’m walking these halls. Still a kid a heart, as most of us are, its a dream come true.

New Teaser Poster

Creating the Look of Tangled

Latested Video on how the style of the film was developed.

“Collider” provides an inside look into “Tangled” at Comic-Con!

When Disney comes calling, most people jump. That’s exactly what I did Thursday afternoon when I nabbed an offer to cover the Walt Disney Character Creation panel. On hand were Glen Keane (animation supervisor), Jin Kim (character creator), Mark Kennedy (head of story), and co-directors Byron Howard and Nathan Greno. During the panel, they discussed Disney’s upcoming Tangled, which is the 50th animated film in the illustrious history of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

After the break, check out the highlights from the panel; if you are anticipating Tangled, you will want to stay tuned next week for my exclusive one-on-one interview with Byron Howard and Nathan Greno.

tangled_rapunzel_image_disneyFirst off, the unfortunate nature of these panels is they show off goodies that just the audience gets to experience. Meaning, no pictures or video were allowed of what was shown on screen. However, that doesn’t mean what was said during the hour-long panel wasn’t interesting. As promised, the highlights:

Keane described that he first began developing the story in 1996. Rapunzel is naïve and held back, but intelligent. She has the power to transform others.

Co-directors Howard and Greno pointed to Ariel from The Little Mermaid as their “ah-ha” moment with a female lead in a Disney film. Ariel was the first “real” female Disney character, and Keane happens to be behind that character as well.

Howard and Greno fell in love with Rapunzel’s hair because it was so unique. They wanted to do something with this incredibly long hair. So they started thinking that she could use it as a whip, like Indiana Jones.

Howard and Greno said that Rapunzel’s character needed a foil, someone who knows his way around and can show her the world. That is where Flynn Rider comes in. But they didn’t want a prince; it has been done so many times! So they said, “let’s turn it on its head” and made him a thief.

While developing Flynn Rider’s character, they really wanted to nail the look. That was when they had the “hot man meeting” with the female crew. They posted pictures of famous handsome men and worked carefully to craft the image of Flynn, even at the expense of themselves. Howard and Greno were a bit worried that it would turn out like Frankenstein with all of these pieces, but they truly feel they created a great character.

Finally, Keane discussed how he started developing Rapunzel in 2001 and presented it to former Disney president Michael Eisner. Despite Eisner telling him that he loved the idea, he wanted it done in CG. Keane was hesitant because CG wasn’t quite as fluid or organic as hand-drawn pictures. That was when Eisner asked why it couldn’t be, and so Keane saw it as a challenge and got to work.

They showcased the storyboard of Rapunzel and Flynn’s first meeting when he sneaks up the tower to hide and also showed the evolution of the look of Flynn Rider. Additionally, they discussed and showcased the difficulties with working with animation versus hand-drawn, and how they really wanted to push the boundaries of CG animation.

Tangled isn’t quite finished yet, as they still have a lot of little touches to complete before the November 24th release date. As I mentioned before, stay tuned next week for my exclusive one-on-one interview with Tangled co-directors Byron Howard and Nathan Greno. I ask them everything from the influences on the film, why the heck they chose a chameleon as Rapunzel’s pet, and what they feel about the name change and the supposed marketing towards boys.

Tangled Teaser

Here is the Teaser for Tangled. We have about 6 weeks or so left in animation and we’re all getting really excited for people to see the film. I hope you like what you see.



We are a little over 50% animated on Tangled So to celebrate, we had an animation crew party. Here is some awesome video of the party! I thought it was really cool how it was edited etc. Enjoy the flash back… about a month ago.

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