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mangolass
01-25-2006, 03:42 PM
Now that Pixar management is taking over the reigns at Disney Feature Animation, the NY Times is reporting that John Lasseter may decide to revive 2D animation there for some projects.
~source: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/25/business/media/25lasseter.html?_r=1

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 24 - If Wall Street has been fascinated by the pas de deux featuring Robert A. Iger of the Walt Disney Company (http://www.nytimes.com/redirect/marketwatch/redirect.ctx?MW=http://custom.marketwatch.com/custom/nyt-com/html-companyprofile.asp&symb=DIS) and Steven P. Jobs (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/j/steven_p_jobs/index.html?inline=nyt-per) of Pixar Animation Studios, animators have been transfixed by someone else caught up in the dance: Pixar's (http://www.nytimes.com/redirect/marketwatch/redirect.ctx?MW=http://custom.marketwatch.com/custom/nyt-com/html-companyprofile.asp&symb=PIXR) creative leader, John A. Lasseter, who will now face the challenge of reviving Disney's weakened animation unit without losing the magic at home.

In announcing their planned merger Tuesday, the two companies said Mr. Lasseter would be chief creative officer of the combined animation operations, while Pixar's president, Edwin E. Catmull, would become president.

"It's energizing and great fun to have John as a part of that creative process in any camp," said Richard W. Cook, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios, in an interview from his Burbank office Tuesday. "And having Ed Catmull's calm, very smart direct leadership is going to do nothing but help make us do good things."

Of the departing president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, David J. Stainton, Mr. Cook said, "I think David will stay with the company and do some great things here. He's a creative guy with a fabulous business sense, and I know we're going to be able to find something good for him."


Given the performance of the two companies - Mr. Catmull and Mr. Lasseter have overseen six consecutive blockbusters, from "Toy Story" to "The Incredibles," while Disney has had to make do with "Chicken Little" and "Home on the Range" - it seems likely that Disney may receive a much-needed re-education.

"John Lasseter (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=202358&inline=nyt-per) is probably the most respected single person in American animation," said Kevin Koch, president of Animation Guild Local 839, the Hollywood animators' union. "He's a creative leader without being overbearing or over-controlling."

Mr. Lasseter, 49, has been seen by animators as an innovator who honors the fundamentals. Much like the late Walt Disney, his trademarks are well-told, broadly appealing stories, technological advances, interesting characters and a quality that has been conspicuously absent from many recent American films: heart.

"For many of us at Pixar, it was the magic of Disney that influenced us to pursue our dreams of becoming animators, artists, storytellers and filmmakers," Mr. Lasseter said in a statement. In an earlier interview at Pixar, the Los Angeles-born Mr. Lasseter said his love affair with cartoons began when he saw Disney's "The Sword in the Stone" as a boy.

In person, Mr. Lasseter is an outgoing, slightly harried man who invariably appears in his trademark Hawaiian shirts and jeans, and speaks with contagious enthusiasm. He was the second student chosen for the nascent character animation program at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia and spent four years studying with veteran Disney artists. His animated films "Lady and the Lamp" and "Nitemare" won Student Academy Awards.

After graduating in 1979, Mr. Lasseter spent five years at Disney, working on "The Fox and the Hound" and "Mickey's Christmas Carol." After seeing the pioneering "Tron," he and a fellow animator, Glen Keane, made a 30-second test on based Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" that suggested how traditional hand-drawn animation could be combined with computerized camera movements and environments.

In 1983, Mr. Catmull, who then worked at Lucasfilm, invited Mr. Lasseter to visit the company's computer graphics unit. In 1984, Mr. Lasseter left Disney for Lucasfilm, and "a one-month project ended up a permanent position," he said in a 1999 interview.

At Lucasfilm, Mr. Lasseter directed his first computer-generated short, "The Adventures of André and Wally B." (1984). But it was the Oscar-nominated "Luxo Jr." (1986) that demonstrated the potential of computer animation as a storytelling device. A 90-second tale about a rambunctious little lamp and its slightly weary parent, "Luxo" was the first computer animated film in which the characters appeared to think.

A series of shorts that culminated in the Oscar-winning "Tin Toy" (1988) served as a ramp-up to "Toy Story" (1995), much the way Walt Disney used the "Silly Symphonies" to prepare his animators for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937).

Among the questions Mr. Lasseter will join Mr. Catmull in facing at Disney - where he will also be principal creative adviser to the theme parks' Imagineering unit - is how to handle the question of sequels to the Pixar hits, a source of tension between Mr. Jobs and the former Disney chief executive, Michael D. Eisner (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/e/michael_d_eisner/index.html?inline=nyt-per).

Pixar had been reluctant to proceed with sequels under its previous deal with Disney, but Disney had the right to make sequels if Pixar declined. Disney went so far as to set up a studio to work on those sequels - an operation called "Pixaren't" in animation circles. Some had speculated that the unit would be shut down if Disney and Pixar made peace.

Mr. Cook said that "it's probably a little premature to say what's going to happen there. We'll wait until Ed and John have a chance to come down and see what's going on. Clearly anything that John wanted to do, we would want to do with him."

A broader question concerns management style, and whether Mr. Lasseter will bring some of the freewheeling spirit of Emeryville, Calif., where Pixar has its headquarters, to a culture where animators have long complained that vice presidents, creative executives and other business managers have gotten in the way of creativity since Disney's fortunes peaked with the release of "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" more than a decade ago.

Another the hotly discussed question among artists has been whether Mr. Lasseter - despite having made Pixar's fortune with a brilliant series of computer-generated hits - will bring back the traditional 2-D animation on which the Disney empire was built. Mr. Lasseter and other Pixar artists are known for their enthusiasm for the classic Disney films, and for the drawn features of the Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=167694&inline=nyt-per).

Mr. Cook commented, "I've talked about reviving 2-D with John for some time, it wouldn't surprise me at all if these a project emerged that we would want to do in 2-D."

"To a lot of animators, John is kind of a King Arthur figure who represents the classic storytelling Disney was known for when Walt was alive," said the animator Pres Romanillos, whose work includes the evil Shan Yu in "Mulan."

"In many ways, he created the C.G. age and he's the one who can bring back traditional animation. And if he does, ask him if he wants my résumé."


LT

MAK
01-25-2006, 03:50 PM
Fap Fap fap :bounce:

ArtisticVisions
01-25-2006, 03:56 PM
Eisner: "2D Animation is dead!" :cry:
Lasseter: "2D Animation is back!" :thumbsup:

mlmiller1983
01-25-2006, 05:27 PM
Well this is good news.

RockinAkin
01-25-2006, 05:34 PM
God I hope this happens... 2D animation is still a very beautiful and uncharted territory to be explored.

ThomasMahler
01-25-2006, 05:34 PM
Yep, good news indeed!

JMcWilliams
01-25-2006, 05:36 PM
Lets hope so, there is room for all dimensions. :bounce:

Pentagramma
01-25-2006, 05:42 PM
That would be so cool, and at the same time so ironic!

Deep respect to Mr. Lasseter, if they manage to do it: :applause:

kiaran
01-25-2006, 07:36 PM
That would be awesome. All my non-animator friends keep asking me why Disney isn't making 2d animation anymore. I think we animators are just as confused as the general public.

My simple answer: because Disney is stupid. Let's hope the Pixar guys can turn them around on this issue. Remember how awesome Emperors New Groove was?

HamsaPaksham
01-25-2006, 08:11 PM
Well. I think it´s time for them to start to explore more 2d animation.
Many thought painting would be dead after they invented photography.

But the fact is that it evolved in 100 years more than it has in three thousand years before. And then came Kandinsky and Picasso.

I think it´s the same thing here. With 2d and 3d. What is needed is a paradigm shift.
2d will never be dead.

kmest
01-25-2006, 08:24 PM
fantastic....the problem recent disney animations had,was only the lack of story teling,,,the directores did great(treasure planet for instance),theire 2d animators are abzolutely the bests,deja,kean,.....theire art departman is still the best,but only because they lost theire way into the new technologies,they were confused of what they wanted to make,so it rides to bad movies like home on the range....BUT,with lasseter on the role,it's something else....he knows the technology,he knows how to deal with it....and most important all,,he knows how to make great movies WITH HEART..something you cant see in recent animations anymore(exept pixars)....

this is a good news cause i still like to see 2d cartoones more than 3d's...even pixars:)

swadepgh
01-25-2006, 08:27 PM
Ok ok ok....I am having trouble containing my excitement here. It would be wonderful to see the new Disney/Pixar mix take on some new 2d projects. This could be really cool. :D

JDex
01-25-2006, 08:29 PM
I'd love to see 2D return... but I am much more interesting to seeing Lasseter achieving Pixar quality storytelling in their core medium successfully as a Disney subordanant, before hearing about his plans to do all these other things.

ambient-whisper
01-26-2006, 04:29 AM
i kind of agree, i would actually rather have them wait out another few years before reviving 2d. this will get people somewhat thirsty for something other than the 30 or so animated films that will be made within the next few years.

opus13
01-26-2006, 05:48 AM
edit: oh forget it.

agreenster
01-26-2006, 06:17 AM
Woah, a silver lining! How about that.

Slurry
01-26-2006, 07:33 AM
i kind of agree, i would actually rather have them wait out another few years before reviving 2d. this will get people somewhat thirsty for something other than the 30 or so animated films that will be made within the next few years.

Considering it takes about 4 years to make a feature, it may not be a bad idea to start now. If they did have plans to start 2D up again at Disney, it will take time to re-staff and make nescessary adjustments to their infrastructure after Eisner dismantled it.

It wouldn't surprise me if Lasseter started it up again. If only to prove a point that the medium style is not what makes the movies great - it's the story/characters.

Plus, alot of ex-Disney animators would have good jobs in the top of their field again. Mr Lasseter started out in 2D after all.

Fingers crossed.

Art

Breinmeester
01-26-2006, 08:06 AM
I think this merge is great! Off course I was sceptical at first, fearing it might get Pixar stuck with middle management dissicions that go in favour of Disney's core business (licensing and merchandising) and weak out the content. But Disney seems to have bought Pixar in for their magic and to let the top Pixar people do to Disney what they've done for Pixar.

I'm sure that if they find the right project that they feel HAS to be done in 2D, they will make it in 2D. I heard Brad Bird has a lot of old ideas laying around. Imagine him making a 2D film like 'The Iron Giant' with talents like Glen Keane! That would be the top....

MrPositive
01-26-2006, 09:52 AM
That would be insanely fabulous. It always comes down to story and not necesarily the look of 2D vs. 3D. If the stories are strong then word of mouth will spread. The last five disney movies (except Emperor's New Groove of course) have all been very poor in storytelling and have not captured both the adult and child heart. To succeed you really must entertain both old and young.

PaulHellard
01-26-2006, 10:36 AM
This is almost, ... yes it is MUCH better news, even than the buyout.

Actually because it isn't just a rumor, and there are quotes (but thats another story).

I'm going to plug this on CGSociety News and Features right now.

angel
01-26-2006, 10:55 AM
Very good news indeed! This could be the shot in the arm that Disney so desperately needed.

PieterVH
01-26-2006, 11:01 AM
Hahahaaa! :D

I was so hoping for this.

"2D is dead", my hairy bottom!

Good news! Excellent news!

:beer:

paperclip
01-26-2006, 11:12 AM
I particularly like the part where they acknowledge the fact that artists are bemoaning the executive over creative decisions in animation and are actively trying to reverse that.

Yay for Lasseter!

http://www.wowow.co.jp/cv/images/p_106.jpg
'Resurrection!'

Frank Lake
01-26-2006, 11:50 AM
Ok this has me, beyond a doubt, cringing!

The LAST thing I wanna see from a disney 2d film is an asian clone with drop dead poor useage of digital 2d that I've been seeing for years. Yes the guy is talented and he can lead, but will he be able to spend 5-15 years training people into a cohesive and consistant digital 2d unit.

mangolass
01-26-2006, 04:43 PM
The LAST thing I wanna see from a disney 2d film is an asian clone with drop dead poor useage of digital 2d that I've been seeing for years.
Huh? Asian clone? We're talking about traditional Disney hand-drawn animation here ~ I don't know what you're talking about.

Yes the guy is talented and he can lead, but will he be able to spend 5-15 years training people into a cohesive and consistant digital 2d unit.
Huh? Disney would need "training" to make a 2D film? :eek: They have most of the best traditional animators already, more experience than anyone, and at most would need to re-hire some people. Their traditional 2D films have all been digitally inked for 15 years.

LT

Romero
01-26-2006, 04:49 PM
Lasseter for president. Man this is good news I hope it actually happens. I miss 2d and would enjoy seeing some new classics.

DaveW
01-26-2006, 05:35 PM
The last five disney movies (except Emperor's New Groove of course) have all been very poor in storytelling and have not captured both the adult and child heart. To succeed you really must entertain both old and young.


Well if you include Emporers New Groove that's the last six films :) Anyway, I thought Lilo and Stitch was really good too, it had it's moments of Disney cheese, but overall I liked it and it was different from the standard Disney film. I think it was also the most financially successful of the lot wasn't it?

Bentagon
01-26-2006, 06:25 PM
As a student of traditional animation, I really can't do anything else but :bounce:

WOOHOO!

- Benjamin

Frank Lake
01-26-2006, 08:50 PM
Huh? Asian clone? We're talking about traditional Disney hand-drawn animation here ~ I don't know what you're talking about.


Huh? Disney would need "training" to make a 2D film? :eek: They have most of the best traditional animators already, more experience than anyone, and at most would need to re-hire some people. Their traditional 2D films have all been digitally inked for 15 years.

LT

We are talking PURE digital 2d here Disney will NEVER go back to 'tradional' cel work, so that axes alot of the 'tradionally trained' talent because they can't or wouldn't make the jump either well or while retaining their trained abilities or skills. Many 'tradionally trained' people have ALOT of difficulty making the leap to digital and disney will be NO different. It will be a clone because they must get away from those childishly bright primary colors and seemingly continually 'styled-based' film designs.

3d animators do not equal 2d animators. Don't forget Disney got rid of nearly all of it's 2d staff. And "if" they have been digitally inking their films for 15 years that most certainly explain the very poor quality that they've had for the last 20 years. Unless they harken back 30 years disney 2d has little chance, regardless how much I would love to wish otherwise.

mangolass
01-26-2006, 09:19 PM
And "if" they have been digitally inking their films for 15 years that most certainly explain the very poor quality that they've had for the last 20 years. Unless they harken back 30 years disney 2d has little chance, regardless how much I would love to wish otherwise.

Starting with the last shot in The Little Mermaid, yes, they've been digitally inked.

The happy-ending wedding scene at the close of the film marked the first use of CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAPS_%28Computer_Animation_Production_System%29) in a Disney feature. CAPS is essentially a digital ink-and-paint and animation production system that is used to take the animators' drawings and color them digitally, as opposed to the traditional method of tracing onto cels using ink and paint (see Traditional animation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_animation)). The rest of The Little Mermaid is painted traditionally. All subsequent Disney features have used CAPS instead of traditional ink-and-paint. ~source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Mermaid_(movie)

I don't follow your logic for how 15 years of digital ink and paint explains 20 years of "poor quality." (Although of course, whether your logic makes sense or not, you're entitled to your opinion!) If you didn't like the quality of hand-painted cels in The Little Mermaid ~ and if you didn't like the quality of digitally inked films like Beauty and The Beast, The Lion King or Tarzan either ~ then you have very high standards for how films should be inked. :)

Digital ink and paint doesn't change the fact that these are still traditional 2D animators, and even though many have been getting some training recently to switch to 3D animation, the great animation talent is still there, and they could make more 2D films ~ if they are given a chance by the new management.

LT

Breinmeester
01-26-2006, 09:27 PM
We are talking PURE digital 2d here Disney will NEVER go back to 'tradional' cel work, so that axes alot of the 'tradionally trained' talent because they can't or wouldn't make the jump either well or while retaining their trained abilities or skills. Many 'tradionally trained' people have ALOT of difficulty making the leap to digital and disney will be NO different. It will be a clone because they must get away from those childishly bright primary colors and seemingly continually 'styled-based' film designs.

3d animators do not equal 2d animators. Don't forget Disney got rid of nearly all of it's 2d staff. And "if" they have been digitally inking their films for 15 years that most certainly explain the very poor quality that they've had for the last 20 years. Unless they harken back 30 years disney 2d has little chance, regardless how much I would love to wish otherwise.

There are enough solutions to use the talents of the finest 2D animators Disney still has and keep the overhead costs low by working digitally. I'm sure the heavy weight lead animators can still animate on paper while there assistents inbetween digitally or something like that. I do believe Disney still has the best talent in house to do a 2D feature and I also believe Pixar has the story department to write a good script for it.

MrPositive
01-27-2006, 01:26 AM
Well if you include Emporers New Groove that's the last six films :) Anyway, I thought Lilo and Stitch was really good too, it had it's moments of Disney cheese, but overall I liked it and it was different from the standard Disney film. I think it was also the most financially successful of the lot wasn't it?

You threw off my groove man! You threw off my groove! I love that movie and I'm standing by it forever. Stitch is a decent little flick but after that it was a complete and utter disaster of nosedives right down the you know what (one dimensional stories with unmagnetic characters). Mostly movies developed for an extremely narrow marketplace of ages 2 to 8 hahaha What makes Pixar so magical is they are layered (ala Simpsons) so the kids have fun and the adults have even more fun. Unfortunately, IMO Dreamworks has pulled off that magical delivery for both adults and kids only once in Shrek.

jludwick
01-27-2006, 02:12 AM
Lilo & Stitch is a standout (it's a deal made by director Sanders for more creative control in trade for a lower budget), Emperor is a standout (brought director Marc Dindal in as a last save on Sweatbox-of-a-project), Tarzan is a standout, Mulan is a standout.
It's clear that their movies took on a tin can approach as execs cowered before the large budgets.

I wanted to add: As much as I celebrate the arrival of Lasseter to Disney (and his insightful understanding of story as the backbone of a movie regardless of risk) I celebrate the departure of former Feature Animation Prez David Stainton. I saw this comment concerning his reign (http://www.cartoonbrew.com/) from an anonymous director:
"I LOVE the idea of Lasseter taking over Disney Feature! The only thing that would be better is if David Stainton is tazered, maced, and peppersprayed, and then frogmarched out of the building, stuffed into a burlap bag and thrown into the LA river. Oh, and a video of the above in an easily downloadable format for my iPod."

Bourbon Thret
01-27-2006, 07:00 AM
hopefully john lasseter will get disney to make brad bird's 2D project RAY GUNN.

http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=16604

http://www.bcdb.com/cartoon/67514-Ray_Gun.html

pixar apparently was looking at it a while ago but couldn't commit to a 2D film at the time...


this could be the ultimate kick-off for the disney/pixar deal!

-then again it may already be being made somewhere else, damn secretive hollywood!

kletterget
01-27-2006, 07:47 AM
...Mr. Lasseter would be chief creative officer of the combined animation operations

I guess my greatest concern now would be that Lasseter's creative focus and drive would be spread too thinly. I'm not saying that he is the only thing which makes pixar's films become so successful, but if he is to be "chief creative officer" for what is (so far) reported to be two separate divisions (which I presume will produce films simultaneously) then surely some compromises must be made. I hope not...

...and (only very slightly) OT:

...he and a fellow animator, Glen Keane, made a 30-second test on based Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" that suggested how traditional hand-drawn animation could be combined with computerized camera movements and environments.
I'd LOVE to see that!

/k

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