Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lost in Translation

Story sketch artist James Bodrero came up with terrific designs for Fantasia's Pastoral sequence.
Particularly the male centaurs with their robust anatomy fit right into the greek mythological settings. Bodrero combined a Clydesdale horse with the upper body of a Greek warrior. These sketches are loose, and parts of the designs are unresolved, therefor not quite ready for animation. But the overall direction in terms of intriguing designs feels right.

By the time final animation models were needed, these centaurs had undergone an unfortunate transformation. Bodrero's solid draughtsmanship is nowhere to be seen. Instead, heavy simplification helped turn these guys into California beach boys (I am quoting from a film critic's observation after the film's release).
The movie's other fantasy creatures, the winged horses, work very well. But the centaurs never reached the design and animation standard they deserved.


  1. Coincidentally I rewatched the Pastoral sequence yesterday. While it's the least interesting part of Fantasia, it still has much to offer. I especially like the backgrounds and colors.
    Andreas, do you think that simplification is the main reason for the transformation of the centaurs? I could imagine that part of the reason was that the younger 'beach boy' look they ended up with was a better match with the "Freddie Moore girl"-type centaurettes.
    I could not find a lot of preproduction art for the centaurettes in the books I have, but in some of the picture they seem to look more 'mature' as well.

  2. Somehow, that first sketch in this entry reminds me of the Huns in MULAN...

  3. The pastoral sequence was one of my favorites to watch as a child. I was surprised when I read this post to see the original designs - so much more dynamic than what ended up on the screen! I wish it hadn't been lost in translation.