Sunday, 16 January 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (VI)

Hey folks, this is the last entry for the Nutcracker Suite segment - it doesn't seem to be much of a fun ride (comparing to feedback), but I'm still not giving up and I'm hoping to get more and more feedback on my Sorcerer's Apprentice mosaic.

Several Fantasia mosaics ago, my postings haven't been lengthy and I lacked my knowledge there. Although, my postings can be erratic, but it doesn't mean that I'm leaving the web - I'm just gone for most of the weekdays because I'm at a boarding school and my blog is blocked at school, and I've tried numerous times to ask a teacher to unblock it, but I'm afraid that all Blogger sites are blocked, and that it will stay that way. Now my fault.

Animation breakdown for The Waltz of the Flowers: Animation of the fairies with the first half done by Les Clark, and Robert Stokes does the middle section of the skating fairies, and George Rowley does the final scenes of the fairies dancing on snowflakes at the end. Milkweeds also by George Rowley, with leaves by Brad Case, and the fairies' effects by Vern Witt (long shot at Shot 20 on fairies' wings), and the ice-skating effects by Sandy Strother.

The effects animation here is very stunning, and it's so beautiful that it looks like a group of professional artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, or Claude Monet were animating it and doing the layouts. I've described Fantasia many times as a piece of artwork on a frame, but done a million times, and moving. All the effects animation here is beautiful. Brad Case, an unknown effects animator who seemed to have a good career after Disney, did a fantastic job on the leaves, and they look real, they feel real, and they ARE real. I love the golden leaves that fall on the ground (also done by Case), and I love the glorious effect of the leaves shining brightly, it shines so wonderfully that I had to shut my eyes, because of the beautiful sparks on the leaves.

I think at the time, Walt Disney and his effects artists were at the pinnacle of their achievements, animation was developing so quickly from that point, that Disney would've wanted to see computer animation soon - because Walt had always been searching for some machinery robots that would replace the animators, but he failed for looking for one. But, that technique (known as CGI animation), wouldn't have been invented for decades to come (probably when Tron first came out, that's when it was first seen). However, after the Second World War, it seemed that Disney effects animation had declined, and animation wasn't getting any artistic, and that technique wouldn't have returned until when around The Black Cauldron came out, the effects looked so real, or I think Sleeping Beauty was the last film that Walt saw with glorious effects.

George Rowley's milkweeds are promising and serviceable, and for a long time I thought it was done by Cy Young (as I already knew he did the spinning-top flowers), because they looked like his work, and the style was there, but now looking at it, George Rowley's makes more sense.

Les Clark's animation of the fairies are wonderful, they move beautifully and I knew that it would've been difficult to stage or time, because they move around at different times, and fly around, and the animators had to be very careful with the movement and the shots. But Les achieved that target, and made it a brilliant effect to it.

I want to take a look at both Clark and Stokes' handling of the fairies here, some of the shape is different, and I want to compare:

Les Clark.

Les Clark handles the fairy here in this scene brilliant! The staging is superb, the shapes and her body looks completely like a fairy would be. I like how her wings were drawn, it looks superbly real, like a fly or a bumble bee's wing. Clark does one of the best fairies here, and of course he is the only member of the Nine Old Men that works in The Nutcracker Suite and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Bob Stokes.

Now, Bob Stokes' handling of the fairies is interesting. He animates it a lot different than Les Clark does. For example, the bodies of the fairies here are a lot thicker, while Clark's fairies were much thinner. Stokes gives the fairies a thicker body, and thicker legs, and gives the fairies with short hair. To me, that lacks appeal. However, the wings are superbly drawn and are more realistic than Clark, it's like frost (mind you the scenes here are wintery), and the scenes of the fairies ice-skating, is probably the most memorable of this sequence. The music is wonderful, the effects are marvelous, and there's so much detail here.

In the final scenes with the snowflakes by George Rowley, a lot of the snowflakes in the draft credit "SPEC. EFX." is of course means "special effects." I think it means, that an object on the screen wasn't done by an animator of effects animator, but I believe it means that someone created a snowflake and shot them in live-action and placed them onto the animated screen. This has happened many times in Disney productions before, so don't worry. They used a lot of it (e.g. the rain effects in Dumbo, Little Toot, The Sword in the Stone, etc. the rain looks really real and they obviously shot it in live-action).

I have to say, that the final scenes of the fairies that I stuck on the mosaic were very frustrating because the draft has the descriptions for the scenes like "Repeat Scene 44 [or 45]", and yet when I got them all, it was confusing because I don't think all the scenes were there, and plus on the Deems Taylor narrating the instructions, it shows the last scene of the fairies in the snowflakes by George Rowley, and I placed it there. I think that one of the scenes were taken off in the final minute, because after the draft is typed, there's often final minute changes. So, if I made mistakes here on the last scenes, forgive me. It's not as easy as it looks.

I'll leave it here for now - and please feel free to comment, I won't bite at all - I'll listen to your thoughts, and I will reply with no harm. ;-)


Eric Noble said...

Excellent breakdown of the scene. Actually, the fairies in the first half look more like dragonfly wings. The effects animators were in top form in this film.

Steven Hartley said...

Mmm - Dragonfly wings -- they're wings are more realistic than Evinrude's ;)