The world of animation has grown dramatically since Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs debuted in 1937. Animated movies began as 2D creations, every frame hand drawn by artists at the studio. Since that time, technology has advanced enough to allow for completely CG, or computer generated, movies to be made a lot more than 2D. The latest in animated technology interestingly enough is trying to bring back some hand drawing to the animation process.
The technology is called Meander, and it was created at Disney by Brian Whited. Meander allows for the merging of 2D and 3D in the creation of a movie by letting artists draw directly on top of computer generated sequences. This new technique was used by director John Kahrs in his short film “Paperman,” a film that is currently nominated for (and suspected to win) an Oscar.
This is an excellent example of remediation, with CG and 2D nteracting to move forward in digital media. Being able to combine hand drawn and computer generated animation allows for the expressiveness and detail that 2D gives you, while also getting the precision that computer generated images create.
In an article written by Animation Magazine, Kahrs’ talks about what hand drawing adds to a piece. He says that Meander allows for more appreciation for “the line” that 2D animation has, while getting assistance from the computer to get exactly what you’re trying for.
This idea of bringing back older techniques also brings up the idea that ever advancing technology is not always the best option. For things like animation for example, there is a certain amount of artistry that goes into its creation, and the use of technology threatens to take that facet away. Meander poses an interesting idea, what if we don’t have to completely transition away from the “old fashioned way,” but merely take the best elements of old and new to find the perfect balance. Whether or not you like the idea of Meander, you should still check out Kahrs short “Paperman.”
Zahed, R. (2012, August 6). A cutting-edge valentine to a gone-by era. Animation Magazine, Retrieved from http://www.animationmagazine.net/features/a-cutting-edge-valentine-to-a-gone-by-era/
Robey, T. (2013 , January 31). Paperman is the best thing disney has done in years. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/9839322/Paperman-is-the-best-thing-Disney-has-done-in-years.html