rain: soft rain, hard rain, heavy rain, blowing rain, swirling rain, drizzling rain* These were printed ontc special papers, so they could be combined with th< animated rain as needed to get any effect wanted. Jos! had been told. "When I look at rain, I don't see a lo of black lines around every drop. Sometimes I don' even see the drops, just streaks of light, and littl-splashes on the ground." The animator's drawings b themselves could not give this illusion, but by combining them with photography of real rain, it was possible even to capture the mood of the rain. There was dreary. , weeping rain for the sad sequence in Snow While when her friends wept at her death; there was the fury of driving, stormy, excited rain shortly before, as the dwarfs chased the witch up the rocks; and after she had fallen, the steady, drenching, heavy rain that seemed to wash the evil memories away. A few years later, a whole sequence of effects animation depicting a summer storm was a high-point of entertainment in Bambi. The effects had become an integral part of the film, contributing drama and excitement and mood, as well as the vital element of making everything so believable.
Of all the natural elements that had to be drawn in pencil lines without shading, water was the most difficult. The combination of transparency, elasticity, weight, mobility, and consistency, together with the many moods associated w ith bodies of water, made it impossible to handle realistically. It had to be repre-
sented in a design the audience could accept without question. As one animator said. "You had to draw some kind of effect that would give the impression of water without costing a fortune," yet what could anyone draw in line that would look like water? "You weren't just drawing the crest of a wave, you were moving the highlights and shadows and all the color indications that were so important to the animation.'"1
If it was a large body of water, the animator had to think in terms of the mass, the perspective, the depth, the movement of it, all going back into space. And he had to be careful that he did not have everything moving the same amount and at the same speed, which would give a type of rhythm to the action that would kill any feeling of realism. Ed Aardal was one of those who had a special affinity for large water action, which he attributed to his year spent on a fishing boat off Alaska. "When you lived all that stuff." he commented, "you kind of memorize it—you got the feel of it."
One animator admitted that he had tried to fake his handling of the water in a scene instead of taking the time and effort to study real water and make it right. The work was criticized immediately, and a more experienced man was called in to take it over. Nothing but the highest quality was accepted, and although water was the most difficult effect to do. and the most expensive. most of the men in the department felt that the
audience remembered impressive scenes of good water animation longer than any other effect.
It was not only a matter of representing nature-each film had its own design concept, and the drawing of the effects had to comply. Someone would try many different ways of depicting whatever it might be— water, smoke, frost, or sheen—searching for a way of drawing that was compatible with the style but still allowed the necessary freedom of movement. He would try complicated groupings of colors and patches, highlights and sparkles, drybrush, airbrush, any effect thai pictorially would be convincing and exciting. During the period that Josh Meador was in charge of the department, he was a source of many suggestions, since he had such a feel for design and form and color.
The experimental sketches were shown to the director and his crew, and decisions were made as to which design was best for this particular job. Often a few color tests were shot to be sure of the results before embarking on the expense of animating an elaborate concoction. Josh would break down the elements of his sketch, figuring what the animators would do. what should be added by the inkers and painters, and wha! would be done by the cameraman with exposures and special lenses. It was often difficult for the animator» visualize how his limited portion could possibly produce the exciting drama that had been described.
Walt had set the standard, and that way of doini things persists to this day: it must be the very best>xw can do: and, if properly prodded, you can always (to far better than you think you can. During the making of Pinocchio, the animators were experimenting witk various ways of handling bubbles, trying to get something on the screen that looked wet and shiny. Ik) carefully animated the circular forms, keeping then rubbery and fragile, with changing shapes; but most of their effort went into the choice (if inks, of colors, highlights, and the techniques that would make these circles look like real bubbles. The animators finalh shot an assortment of experiments in color and m them for Walt so he could choose what he wanted. H: surprised them all by commenting not on the lines an: colors, but the quality of the animation. "I like the« —the others look too heavy. The bubbles should he full of air." Who else would even notice if an animated bubble looked heavy?
animator■ Norm Ferguson —Alpine Climbers.
Pluto has been rescued from a snowdrift by a St. Bernard with a brandy w cask. Warmed through, Pluto's run is now interrupted by a violent hiccup. STARTS ON PAGE 299
The story sketch below of the threatening Tyranno-saurus Rex in "Rite of Spring" suggests forked lightning as a backdrop.
Carleton (Jack) Boyd— ' Rite of Spring.'' Fantasia
Drawings from the scene as animated show how the spectacular flashing effect was achieved. Alternate frames of black and white double-exposed over the drawings gave the shimmering, dazzling look of real lightning.
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