Monday, November 1, 2010

Team work

This is a great example of team work that used to take place at Disney in the old days.  Here you can see key drawings  of Robin Hood by Frank Thomas and  underneath them drawings that Milt Kahl did over to bring them on model.  Frank and the other animators always got their drawings shown to Milt or Fred Moore so they could go over and suggest ideas or just to help with a difficult angle or pose.
The late Dale Oliver, who was Frank's assistant for more than 20 years, told me that they always went to get at least one drawing from Milt and that drawing would make their scenes so much better.

You can notice in these drawings how much nicer Milt's drawings are in comparison to Frank's.  They have more structure and better design.   Frank was an amazing animator but he new his limitations as a draftsman so he left his ego behind and got Milt to go over his drawings.  Sometimes Frank would send his assistants to Milt for help.

One of my best experiences was when I worked with Joe Moshier at Disney.  Joe is a great designer and I was working closely with him on Emperor's New Groove.  He would design a character and I would then take that and make a turn around model.   I would show him my drawings and he'd take a new piece of paper put on top and show me what was wrong with or where I could improve it.  It was just great and I learned a lot by having him going over my drawings.   I also took drawings to Andreas Deja for suggestions and I used to show other animators some of my scenes for criticism.  I wished I had done more of that while I was there.

 Animation is usually a collaborative effort, specially in Feature films like Disney's, so is very important to show your peers your work and get their input or if you need help with a drawing.
That's team work.

16 comments:

  1. Great post. I love that all he did was make the pose stronger and a bit more on model. its good that he didn't change the angles of stuff.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for these! I really like to study each animator's viewpoint. You can see that Milt made the eyes rounder, opened the mouth a bit and added variation to the hand poses. The fur around the face is fluffier as well. Frank's humility and wanting to make the scenes the best that they could be says alot.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nossa Sandro é imprecionante o senso de design do Milt eu sei que a preocupaão principal do Frank não era o desenho mais a animação, agora o Milt fazia cenas exelentes e com desenhos lindos!

    ReplyDelete
  4. He really improved the solidity of the face and broke up the hands into nice poses. Thomas' hand poses are pretty boring by comparison. Wonderful stuff. Thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. i like how he added more variety in the fingers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks so much for posting this. It's so informative to get to compare drawings by these masters. Frank's drawings are fine, but next to Milt's you can see that extra 10% that made Milt king. The eyes and fingers are more alive, the collar doesn't point away from the face, the ears and sideburns are less rounded/cat-like and more angular/fox-like, and Milt is better at foreshortening parts of the face to show depth, such as by placing the far eye closer to the bridge of the nose. Great stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's awesome. I'd always heard of Milt's draw-overs, but it's cool to see the tweaks he'd make to keep things on-model.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Unfortunately, that brief shot is the only one Milt got to tweak in that entire sequence where Robin is stealing the bags of gold while Prince John sleeps. Interestingly, I remember not liking the way Robin looked in that sequence even when I first saw the film back in 1973 as a young teen. Imagine my disappointment when I found out many years later that Frank did that scene. I love Frank, but I honestly believe his best work was behind him by the time they did Robin Hood, although I must say I like his animation of O'Malley in The Aristocats very much. But his handling of Robin pales in comparison to Milt's generous share of that character's scenes, I'm afraid.

    I also am not keen on the animation of Little John in most of the jailbreak sequence. He was animated so beautifully in scenes animated alternately by Milt and Ollie earlier throughout the film, but here he appears to be handled by a second string animator, with eyes too far apart among other flaws. Thanks for posting these really intriguing draw-overs, Sandro.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A good example of good draftsmanship and staying on model.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Fascinating post and amazing to see the comparisons! LOL doesn't make me feel so bad now when I get my directors to go over my drawings - it always helps the work and I always learn something!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dude, thank you so much for sharing all this!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sandro, when did Dale Oliver pass on? I didn't hear anything about it. I met him briefly at the Frank and Ollie event at the beverly hills in o3' (were you there?) Its hard for me to imagine the wonderful things he picked up while working under a master for so long

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for posting these... great to have the chance to see a comparison like this. Amazing how a tiny little adjustment here and there can improve a drawing !
    Best,
    Alex

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sandro: This is the best explanation of design I've ever seen...although the explanation is really in the drawings. Being able to flip back and forth between one artist who's work is so-so and the other artist who is an expert---that is where you can really see the differences. I am nowhere near the designer that you or Milt Kahl are, but many people have asked me "how do you know what is good design or bad design?" And I always find it impossible to explain.. From now on I'm going to tell them to come to this post and flip between the sets of drawings---when you see Robin's fat face become the nice beautiful design it was intended to be--that explains it better than I could with words.

    ReplyDelete