Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Mona Lisa of Thumbnail Sketches


 

I recently posted this page with Milt Kahl's exploratory sketches for Medusa's eye lash removals. But in low resolution. Here it is again, the complete page, in hi-res. Thanks to blog reader Ken who provided me with this scan.

It is so interesting to study the various staging options Milt explored for this sequence. For example Scene 303 shows a couple of different ways how the first ehe lash removal could be staged. 

In this image Medusa uses her right hand to pull the eyelash. Unfortunately you would have that vertical arm in the foreground distracting from the subtle eye action in the mirror.




So Milt thought, the heck with that, I'll have Medusa use her left hand instead, as she pulls the other eye lash. The staging becomes much more focused. Clear and uncluttered.





Same idea, slightly different angle for the head. 




The final version as it appears in the film. This is Medusa's image in the mirror. Her rear shoulder and head in the foreground are not included in this scan. 




For the second eye lash -a few scenes later- Milt decided to use her mirror image only. Medusa pulls this lash -with her right hand- in a more sideways direction.


To me this is the most fascinating and groundbreaking sequence that was animated at Disney during the 1970s. Watch the pencil test here:

https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2014/08/medusas-pivotal-sequence.html


15 comments:

  1. It really is fascinating. Still to this day the way she just rips the fake lashes off her eyelids makes me cringe, and yet it's very entertaining. Her scenes are gold.

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  2. My sister in law had just married my brother back in 2015, and she had seen The Rescuers for the first time, she liked it, but thought Medusa was gross.

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  3. When did Layout stop being so much in the domain of the animator? I've never worked on a project where I had this much freedom to figure out the staging.

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    1. The 9 Old Men were a pretty powerful bunch, and Disney trusted their judgement.

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    2. So was it when they retired, then?

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    3. Don't understand the question.

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    5. The way I understand it is that Milt who clearly was a master of masters had a lot of freedom to explore posing and freedom to change things. Later on this changed and more was decided at forehand giving less freedom to the animator. Tealin was wondering when exactly this changed at Disney if I understand correctly. I don't know how things worked exactly at Disney but from my experience working in the European animation scene it's different each project. Sometimes there's already posing done sometimes there's just an animatic as a starting point to do your animation. Sometimes you really need to follow the posing quite literally and other times there's more freedom to change things. From my experience the backgrounds are always already done once you get to the animation part and camera position is decided but the character posing and placement can be decided by the animator depending on the project and style.

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    6. Yes, 2dfrutti got the gist of my question. In the Nine Old Men's days, animators got to set up their shots as seen in Milt's thumbnails above; by the '90s, the Layout department handed you your staging and you had to work within what they gave you. By 2008, posing choices like the above, in which Milt was experimenting with which arm to use in which shot, would presumably have been decided in the storyboards. So I was wondering, at what point in the history of the studio did they move these sorts of decisions earlier in the pipeline? Was Layout making staging decisions as early as Black Cauldron? In your time there, did you see an evolution in where these decisions got made?

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  4. This is not really related to the post but i dont know where else can i ask you about it: is it possible to write a post about the deleted scene of the « bed time story » in Lilo and Stitch? What really happend because i saw it on youtube and its great.
    Thanks and sorry if its inappropriate to post ot here

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    1. Hi, he briefly talked about it towards the end of a CTN interview ("A conversation with Andreas Deja") where he explained why they had to cut it. I can't seem to access the website so I can't link it to you, but you can Google it. Hope this helps!

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    2. Thank you very much, i’ll google it !

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