Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stepmother Reference

I am always fascinated to find out how Disney animators used live action reference for their animated scenes. Fascinating as well is to see what went on during the filming of the live action. What kind of effort was put in to simulate the animated performance. As you can see in this photostat, actress Eleanor Audley's outfit doesn't exactly match the costume design from the final frame, but it is close enough for study. Animator Frank Thomas changed the bent of the arm pulling the tray, perhaps to better emphasize the sleeves weight. Because of the cat's position, her right arm needed to be staged differently.
I do like the downward head tilt in the photo, I am not sure if Frank took advantage of this in a different frame of his animation.
Eleanor Audley's make up is of interest as well. Slightly overdone, but very graphic as far as eyebrows, eye liner and lipstick. This helped the animator to read facial expressions more clearly.

I think I mentioned before that this sequence is one of my favorites in Disney animation, even though it might look "live actiony" to some viewers. Eric Larson animated Cinderella here, as she is being verbally abused by her stepmother. Staging and lighting is pure Hitchcock. The animation is subtle, to the point,  and it defines the relationship between these two adversaries in a powerful way.