Future of 2D Animation with Disney’s Paperman

Sadly Disney has pulled the full Paperman short and has replaced it with this trailer.

If you’re like me when you first saw the Oscar winning animated short “Paperman” I thought I had seen the future of 2D animation. I watched it over and over again trying to figure out how they gave 3D models a hand-drawn look. Well, in this behind-the-scenes look the director, John Kahrs, demonstrates how they did this exact process. The technique used combines traditional hand drawn 2D animation and then translates the 2D information on to a 3D model. The program used is called “Meander” created by Eric Daniels. “It’s not like a texture map. It’s just like painting on the surface of the CG. It actually moves on a 2D layer that’s driven by the CG.” Thats how Kahrs described this process. He also talks about bringing the “Hand of the artist” into 3D features and if you ask me he accomplished the goal. John Kahrs believes this process is not ready for a feature length film, but that this technique has a bright future. Check out this clip about how they created this new 3D look.

I want to leave you with John Kahrs’s last thoughts from this inside look. Although he is talking about movies and I’m going to paraphrase him here, but I think it can be applied to things every artist is working on. He said “I wanted it to be a rich dimensional world that you could feel like you could reach into. I want the audience to trust that this world is out there.”

Watch the Full Disney Animated Short Paperman

Before the Academy Awards on February 24th be sure to check out this, oscar-nominated, animated short by Disney animation Studios. This short was directed by first-time Director John Kahrs and played before Wreck-It Ralph. When I first saw this short I was really impressed and all I wanted to do was watch it again. So I went home and try to find it on the Internet. Sadly, all I could find was a hand recorded bad version of it. Now before the Academy Awards Disney has released the full short for your viewing pleasure. Read the full Disney YouTube channel description after the break.

Introducing a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with the Oscar®-nominated short, “Paperman.” Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him. Created by a small, innovative team working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Paperman” pushes the animation medium in an exciting new direction.