How Disney used 3D CG to create the 2D world of 'Paperman'

Credit: Disney

Seth MacFarlane's hosting duties at last night's 85th Academy Awards might have been questionable, but there was no doubt Disney's "Paperman" was the favorite to win the award for "Best Animated Short."

Directed by John Kahrs, "Paperman" is the synthesis of 2D and 3D animation at its finest. On its surface, "Paperman" is a homage to the hand-drawn, black-and-white animations from Disney's early days. The short film doesn't have any dialogue and relies entirely on finely animated facial expressions and body language to move the story along.

But like most Disney movies, the magic lies beneath the surface. It's hard to tell, but underneath the beautiful 2D brushstrokes of "Paperman" sits a 3D CG layer. By combining a 2D top layer and 3D bottom layer using software called Meander, Disney animators were able to intelligently create object movements between scenes without drawing each frame.

As Kahrs says in the video below, CG has created an explosion of creativity, but it's not animation's only future. 2D can still exist (albeit assisted by 3D CG rendering and tracking) as an art form, and "Paperman" is proof of that.

Via Fast Company

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