See the Animation Behind a Single Shot From Beauty and the Beast

For those of us who aren’t animators (so, most of us), it can be impossible to fathom just how much work goes into making a feature-length film. Artist Aaron Blaise helps shed a little light on the process with a series of YouTube tutorials. Recently, he took a look back at his hand-drawn work on 1991’s Beauty and the Beast. As Slate writes, Blaise worked with Disney for over two decades, and also had a hand in Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994).

In the video above, Blaise focuses in on a single shot from the film when Beast is leading Belle down a hall after she first arrives at the castle. Here’s the bit of dialogue that goes with it:

Beast: “The castle is your home now so you can go anywhere you like, except the West Wing.”

Belle: “What’s in the West W-”

Beast: “It’s forbidden!”

It’s pretty short, but as you’ll see, it takes pages and pages of sketches to bring the scene to life. Disney allowed animators to keep the shot drawings when production was over, so the ones featured here are the actual pages Blaise used to create the moment. They include little tricks of the trade like a chart he scribbled on the sides of the pages to help incorporate the up and down motion of the Beast’s walking. Blaise talks through everything from details to big picture planning; it’s a fascinating look at the process behind the art, as well as a welcome look back at a form that’s falling away in the digital era.

Blaise says, “Paper is still a viable medium for us to animate on—I still love to do it every once in a while. Don’t get me wrong: the digital world, the moving end of the digital world, that's progress and we’re moving ahead, and I think there’s some beautiful digital animated films that are being done, but there's no reason why we still can't come back every once in a while and enjoy these little bits of nostalgia.”

Banner image via Aaron Blaise // YouTube.

[h/t Slate]

Stephen Hawking's Big Ideas, Made Simple

On March 14, 2018, visionary physicist Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76. You know his name, and may have even watched a biopic or two about him. But if you've ever wondered what specifically Hawking's big contributions to science were, and you have two and a half minutes to spare, the animation below is for you. It's brief, easy to understand, and gets to the point with nice narration by Alok Jha. So here, in a very brief and simple way, are some of Stephen Hawking's big ideas:

If you have more than a few minutes, we heartily recommend Hawking's classic book A Brief History of Time. It's easy to read, and it's truly brief.

[h/t: Open Culture]

Warner Bros.
See What Paddington 2 Looks Like Without the Bear
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

For the average moviegoer, a film like Paddington 2 might seem like a cinematic wonder. Not because of the quality of its story or acting (which, for the record, are amazing) but because of one simple fact: How do you film a live-action movie about a talking bear without ever bringing in an actual bear? Neatorama alerted us to this fun visual effects breakdown from Framestore, the effects company behind the animation in Paddington 2, which takes you through some of the key ways the film makes the impossible come to life.

First, there’s the 3D animation itself, dictating how Paddington (who is voiced by Ben Whishaw) moves and how his facial expressions should change depending on the emotions he's feeling. The animation occurs in multiple steps, creating a smooth virtual outline of Paddington, then overlaying the photorealistic fur and colored clothing.

When it comes time for a shot that only has Paddington in it, animators can put together the whole thing using a mixture of live footage and special effects, allowing him to ride on the back of a running dog, bolt down the roof of a moving train, or dash around the prison dining room.

But there are other shots that require Paddington to interact with the people around him. For those, there are stand-ins who carry out the actions that Paddington needs to—like setting a cafeteria tray on a table or rubbing mustard on Knuckles McGinty’s apron. Afterward, these people will be scrubbed from the shot, replaced by a furry CGI bear. Once the visual effects magic is finished, Paddington looks as natural in a scene as any human actor.

See it for yourself in the video below.

[h/t Neatorama]


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