Wednesday, 6 January 2010

No wonder Mary Poppins was awful in this regard

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Following its release in 1988, the production team responsible for Who Framed Roger Rabbit were instantly applauded by the millions of stunned moviegoers who subsequently saw the film, and rightly so, as even now (an unbelievable 22 years later) the most hardened critic would have difficulty finding fault with the near-seamless interactions between live-action and animated characters. The following memo - sent by the movie's director of animation, Richard Williams (also author of the fantastic The Animator's Survival Kit), to all those working within the animation department - is a fantastic illustration, literally, of just how aware Williams was of the potential for disaster. Luckily for everyone the memo's message was heard, the eye lines were connected, and a Poppins was averted.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of original Roger Rabbit animator Peter Western. Huge thanks to Joe for bringing it to my attention.

Recommended reading: The Animator's Survival Kit: A Manual of Methods, Principles, and Formulas for Classical, Computer, Games, Stop Motion, and Internet Animators.



Transcript
AUGUST '87

MEMO TO ALL ANIMATORS, ALL ASSISTANTS, ALL INBETWEENERS

EYE LINES

A MAJOR PROBLEM HAS JUST LEPT OUT TO FACE US…

THE EYE LINES BETWEEN CARTOON CHARACTERS AND LIVE ACTION ONES ARE PROVING INCREDIBLY CRITICAL.

(NO WONDER MARY POPPINS WAS AWFUL IN THIS REGARD)

THE WHOLE TRICK IS BLOWN IF THE CARTOON PERSON DISCONNECTS HIMSELF FROM THE LIVE ACTORS EYELINE.

- IT SEEMS THAT ONLY 2 OR 3 FRAMES WRONG IS ALL THAT IS NEEDED TO BLOW THE ILLUSION.

THIS OBVIOUSLY HAS NEVER BEEN FACED OR SOLVED PROPERLY BEFORE AND SOMEHOW WE HAVE TO.

TAKE EXTRA CARE…

DICK