Blog Post 2: Recycling the Frames   8 comments

This is one of my favorite animation videos available on youtube, and I get more and more fascinated with it every time I watch it. I’m watching it with more and more of an artist’s eye; what, exactly, is getting reused? Take the part comparing Snow White’s dance with a totem pole of dwarves with Maid Marian’s dance with a broken-legged dog. I hadn’t paid much attention to it before, but I saw that tonight, and I thought — what? There’s no way they match up. Dopey and the other dwarf have a long body and short legs, and the dog doesn’t. But nope. The dog has a long body and short legs, and the hobbled movement matches.

I’m trying to imagine where, exactly, the points diverge. It’s easy to see how Baloo and Little John can be recycled — recolor that big round bear and bam — but it really throws me when you’re comparing a vixen and a human, or a piece of paper and a human. In one shot, a sword is swung, but in the comparison shot, a paw is swiped, and in both cases, a short thing ducks. Is only part of the scene being recycled? Are they recycling, say, the ducking short thing, but redrawing whatever it is that causes the short thing to duck? Did I just use the same words over and over again, causing confusion? I apologize.

Try rewatching it, but imagine the characters as black and white lines, or even stick figures. I imagine that’s how far back the recycling comes from, the basic sketching. Most of the recycled animation is actually pretty difficult animation. Swing dancing, clapping, standing up when she’s wearing a long, flowy skirt, that complicated chase scene, beating a drum, those are all fairly complicated motions, involving multiple layers, lots of movement, and precise placement.

gif maker
Gif maker

Heck, even just doing this was pretty complicated, and half of this is recycled frames. For some reason I felt like this was moving two things at once. I guess not. Next I’ll try to pop a bubble, and then I’ll do something with two points of movement.

Last: I think Beauty and Beast’s final dance was more of a homage, considering it was drawn a couple decades later. Yes No?

Posted February 1, 2012 by agentksilver in animation

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8 responses to “Blog Post 2: Recycling the Frames

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  1. thsi is pretty great. if you watch chip and dale rescue rangers, the rescuers, and peter pan there is a similarity with the crocodiles. i cant remember if they are animated the same but they are similar. its a pretty good way to save money and time.

  2. I had actually seen that a while ago! Pretty interesting huh? The only way I can explain it is I think in one of the behind the scenes on one of the classical disney dvd’s. Someone explains that Disney’s first few movies they had to use real people acting out scenes to be able to draw since before they had no references, being a new company. Then after a while they built up their own storage of references, so the re-used them when convienient or to save money. I may be wrong but I thats what I think I remember from one of those dvd extras. Great topic to bring up!

  3. It’s amazing to see that these pinnacles of animation creation are so similar. I don’t know if it is simply because the creators felt that these films were primarily for children who just simply wouldn’t know the difference or the animators ran out of time to create something new. If a certain dance move or scene from one movie was replicated to another, the audience would probably catch on, and depending on the production companies, could result in a major lawsuit!

  4. Up until now this has never been brought to my attention. I guess the “Disney style” has become such a norm that people just assume that they are all special in their own way. They all have differant unique story lines yes, but in the end they are still the same gags and giggles. It is very fascinating to line them up side by side like that and see just exactly which characters they used the same moves for, some of these characters are similar and some are differant, but in the end I guess even Walt Disney has to stick to the classics even though he invented some of them.

  5. I’m not surprised. It seems to be a recurring Disney theme to reuse everything they can that they own, up to and including completely redoing movies they already made. (Like The Parent Trap.) On the other hand it’s pretty economical. They own the rights already, they’ve done the work, they have time constraints and payroll to think of, and I can’t imagine how hard it is to draw animated dancers. Several years ago I attempted a web comic about an adventurer, and it took me two days to draw a single image of someone swinging a sword that looked remotely realistic. You’re darn straight if I had to do it again I would trace over what I had already drawn!

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  7. I too never noticed that! You would think after the hundreds of times watching those movies as a child I would have picked up on that. If you think about it I bet it was due to the fact that they didn’t want to come up with a completly new dance every time so they just kept it simple. But it also saved a lot of time and money reusing those frames.

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