Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mike Kazaleh on "Technological Threat"

Animator Mike Kazaleh sent me this after seeing my post below on Technological Threat, describing how the computer animation and hand-drawn animation were put together. Posted with his permission.
I worked for Bill Kroyer for several months after this film was made. There was a machine that made the drawings. The machine drew the pictures with a technical pen (the kind with a cylindrical nib). The pen was mounted on a bar that could move the pen back and forth, and could also lift it off the paper. The paper, meanwhile was on rollers so that the paper could move back and forth at a 90 degree angle to the pen motion. This way the pen could move anywhere on the paper. The drawings were then used as reference for the hand animation, then xeroxed onto cels. Vector graphics didn't exist yet. The computer images were made by creating reference points in virtual space, and connecting them with straight lines. On a theatre screen the reference points are visible, owing to the fact that the ink from the pen flowed the heaviest at the stop and start of a line, less so in the middle of a line when the pen was moving at its fastest. This resulted in a small blob of ink at all the connection points. There were a few other studios that used this technique. Some of them would have an animation assistant go over the drawings in pencil first so that the line would better match the hand drawn animation.

1 comment:

Chris Sobieniak said...

The use of the machine here reminds me of something we had in drafting class I went to back in school known as a "plotter".

Kroyer would use techniques like this on a few projects during that time like the opening to "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids". Of course most would probably only know of Bill for the Fern Gully movie.

Here's something else he did in the 80's for Mattel...