Disney turns its CG rendered back on traditional 2D animation for now

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As somebody who learned most of his life lessons as a kid from classic cartoons (like the fact that you can keep walking on thin air as long as you don’t look down, much to my parents’ horror), I have a special place in this shrivelled head of cabbage that I call a heart for all things animated.

And while I’ll be the first to marvel at the advances in 3D CG animation, I just think there’s nothing that looks as classy as hand drawn 2D animation. Disney’s Paperman winning the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film gave me hope that we might be seeing a resurgence of this medium, but according to the House of Mouse, who became the powerhouse they are today because of their pioneering efforts in exactly this field, we shouldn’t be expecting more any time soon.

While speaking at an annual shareholders meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed the sad state of animated affairs.

“To my knowledge we’re not developing a 2D or hand-drawn feature animated film right now. There is a fair amount of activity going on in hand-drawn animation but it’s largely for television at this point. We’re not necessarily ruling out the possibility [of] a feature but there isn’t any in development at the company at the moment.”

Well there goes those rumours that Disney were developing a feature film using the same techniques as Paperman, where artists still “hand draw” the animation cells, but on a computer instead of a drawing board.

This recent development is certainly quite the contrast to a few years ago, when Toy Story creator and Pixar boss John Lasseter became Disney’s Chief Animation Officer began hiring back all the old animation hands who had been let go in favour of CG animators. Here’s what he had to say about it at the time.

“Unfortunately 2D became the excuse for poor storytelling. The general consensus was that audiences did not want to watch hand-drawn animated films, which is of course completely ridiculous. The day I stepped in we got in touch with these guys and set about bringing back the artists that Disney had laid off.”

Unfortunately, those claims turned out to be not quite so ridiculous as Disney’s pure 2D efforts over the next few years saw more bombs than the Gaza strip. So while this latest bit of news was certainly inevitable, it’s still a pretty depressing thought.

The Kingdom just got a little less magical…

Last Updated: March 8, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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