Sunday, September 11, 2011

Robin Hood Double Bounces

I know that "Robin Hood" is not on everybody's favorite list of Disney features,
but there are many things I really like about this film, including this double bounce walk of the title character.
This type of walk was used more frequently during the thirties and forties.
It seems like every classic character did it, and Mickey Mouse himself double bounced quite often. As Disney characters became more realistic and graphic looking, this walk can be seen less and less.

What happens technically is that with every step the body goes up and down twice, instead of once. It communicates that the character is happy and sort of silly.

This is the first close up of Robin Hood in the film. 
Milt Kahl wanted to establish his carefree, happy go lucky personality here,
and it works beautifully. Taking a closer look at the xeroxed drawings, you will see that Milt worked hard at this scene. The positions of arms and legs are erased and redrawn many times, but the final movement is utterly natural.
Did I mention I love this scene?
Having just finished the pencil test, I have to say it takes my breath away all over again!  Here is a fox walking on two legs, and it looks completely believable.
It's pure magic. 
What isn't so magical is the way this scene hooks up with the scenes around it.
Those were animated by John Lounsbery, and they are good as well.
But Louns animated Robin in a standard walk, and the third scene doesn't hook up smoothly with Milt's either. 
I guess the guys weren't communicating with each other, what they were going to do.
More on the development of characters from "Robin Hood" later.











29 comments:

  1. I guess if you really wanted to stretch it - you could interpret that as Robin momentarily picking up on (mocking?) Little Johns double-bounce walk...

    Marvelous animation and character design in that film (Sir Hiss may be one of the funniest character designs in all Disney) but I am one of those on whose list of favorite Disney films you will not find Robin Hood.

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  2. I am so glad you posted this Andreas. I realize that I am in the minority, but Robin Hood is actually one of my favourite Disney animated features. I think a large part of this is actually due to the way in which Robin is depicted.

    I wonder, is the dismissal of the double-bounce walk also partly due to the decline of the standard musical numbers in movies? It seems to me that a double-bounce walk is actually quite nature if you are walking and interacting with an upbeat tune.

    Gorgeous pencil test. Thank you as always for posting these, they are a marvel to watch.

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  3. Can you explain a little bit about the technical details of the Xerox process they used?

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  4. Certainly that Xerox process may interest some, but I'm more for the moment alone, it's great studying these!

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  5. I had this on super 8 as a kid.
    Who is the one who does not like this?
    Teodor

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  6. Robin Hood is the first Disney movie I recall seeing in a theater and the movie (it's songs perhaps primarily) stuck with me through my teenage (comic book) years when Disney animation wasn't the cool thing to admit you were into and tethered me to the film. I gained new appreciation for it later from multiple vantage points, one of with inherent 'studyability'; it is as an ideal movie to study on many levels. Every day I find a new reason to appreciate the work that went into it. Thanks for shining more light on it here.

    As far as who doesn't like it... it seems to me that it consists mostly of people who work inside the animation industry. Perhaps they may are too close to the process to enjoy what they are seeing?

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  7. I should have also said:
    Some who actually worked on the film have been particularly critical but I think this stems from the era itself where production budgets were being squeezed and higher production values were noticeably suffering. In any feature where the artists themselves verbally express their dissatisfaction (think Black Cauldron) there is sure to be a rippling effect that reverberates and influences other's perception of the film. My advice: Watch the film and (try to) enjoy it not for what it could have been but for what it is.

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  8. I like robin hood! thanks for posting this pencil test! awesome

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  9. I positively love Robin Hood, and have since I was a child. Thanks for sharing this amazing pencil test, Andreas!

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  10. This may be the nostalgia talking but Robin Hood was always one of my favourite Disney movies when I was younger. It's one of the few Disney flicks where I actually liked the songs, and the character designs and voice actors were fun. Of course I was too young to know about what a budget was or about recycled animation and things like that, but I liked the movie (it's kind of a drag in the middle though).

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  11. This really brings me back. I think this is one of the cartoons that made me want to become an animator. Thanks for posting these. Funny thing is one one of my homework assignments is to do a double bounce. It doesn't look easy.

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  12. Great walk! I see what you mean about the hookup between shots, it kinda jumps to the double bounce walk. Great stuff Andreas, thanks for sharing.

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  13. It may be more subtle in live action film than in animation, but Fred Astaire naturally always seemed to move in a "double bounce" walk in all of his films. There was such an inherent musicality about the guy, even when he wasn't dancing.

    Count me as a Robin Hood fan. When it first premiered back in 1973, it became a favourite Disney feature of mine, second only to The Jungle Book. While my opinion of it on the whole has become a bit more critical in the ensuing years, I still value the film as a showcase for the remaining members of The Nine Old Men, who were still in their prime when it came to fun, personality-driven character animation. I suspect that the Xerox process enabled it to look that much more expressive, and I have never really come to terms with the overly polished clean-up line being employed since the computer took over from cel painting. I think some of the vitality of the animation is lost in the translation these days.

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  14. The first walk cycle is on 2s. Is it possible to capture the double bounce walk on 2s? This may be the reason why it was simplified. I noticed on Milts scene he animated it on 1s, perhaps to capture the double bounce action better. We don't see Robin's feet it the ground in this scene even though its a pan so It could have been animated on 2s but perhaps that wasn't enough to capture the action of the double bounce. The scene right after Milts is on 1s as well but doesn't have the double bounce, which is odd.

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  15. My oh my. Look at how smooth that happy walk animation is of Robin Hood.

    Milt Kahl was not of this earth. Clearly an immortal drew that! ;)

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  16. That's funny, I didn't know Robin Hood wasn't liked by a lot of people. I always loved it. I especially love how you can see the rougher lines on the characters.

    Did they use the xerography technique on this film?

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  17. It's cool walk and really great work. What do you think of Adelaide Bonfamille's walk (Aristocats) when she leaves the carriage at the beginning? In my opinion it's the best animated walk till today because it's so natural and realistic.

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  18. Robin Hood was definitely one of my favorite Disney movies when I was a kid. I like that Xerox Disney style so much with other films like the Aristocats and 101 Dalmatians. It would be awesome if they replicated that effect in today's animations.

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  19. Matthias,
    I like Madame Bonfamille's walk leaving the carriage very much. This is the kind of thing only Milt Kahl could pull off without the help of live action reference.

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  20. I was re-re-re-re-listening to Clay's interview with James Baxter the other day and caught the bit about how Milt would rarely go back and erase/re-draw his motions, and he'd said he hoped the reason the drawings in the archives had no wrinkles on them were because they were kept in archives and not because Milt never flipped his work. But look! Wrinkles, glorious wrinkles, the man was human after all!

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  21. Robin Hood is one of my absolute favorite Disney movies. Paying attention to the way the characters move is something I love to do when I watch this movie, because that in itself is so telling about the character. It's just like acting, only more difficult, because the animator has to make the audience see the movement through a drawing, not live tangible action. It's really an awesome piece of work.

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  22. Beautiful work!I really liked the movie and I'm glad this did not happen to it-http://flic.kr/p/aoQeuB

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  23. Actually, this is one of favorites. This and Jungle Book really show off the animator's skill without loosing so much in cleanup. I totally agree with Andy up top, "It would be awesome if they replicated that effect in today's animations."

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  24. Oh really great and awesome. Wow fantastic information on different different types of info here you display. Anyway I watch Robin hood Pencil test-it's awesome! :)

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  25. Thanks for the Post Andreas,is the first time that follow you. Nice Job about Robin Hood,because Can see many post in Facebook and is not the same.

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