OK, so I’ve never spoken about work-related projects on this site, however I thought I would make an exception with today’s release of Disney’s Princess and the Frog, their “return” to 2D (well, at least 2D with some marketing muscle behind it). No, I didn’t work on the movie, however I did work on one of the ubiquitous marketing tie-ins for the film, the Wii game, which was released a few weeks ago. I was the animation lead on the suite of mini-games based on the movie, and the reason I mention this is that I was particularly pleased with the results; the animation is lively and fun and captures the characters from the movie very well indeed.
The other reason I mention this is that the people at Disney film were very gracious and helpful and set up two meetings with all of the animation leads from the film to critique the animations in our game (and, as an aside, this is very rare that the film studio would want to give the game-makers this much access to the filmmakers (at least in my experience)). Meeting all of the leads, however brief, was wonderful. They were all genuinely nice, and they all understood the limits of game animation versus traditional 2D film animation, so their feedback was all very applicable.
Eric Goldberg was just as I imagined him to be; animated and lively, cracking jokes and ever willing to draw Louis (the alligator character that he was the lead animator on) in all sorts of key poses to express his physicality. Ray’s (the firefly) lead, Mike Surrey, had a ton of great feedback and was incredibly receptive to the game overall.
Anyhow, if you get a chance, go check out the movie and buy the game, if you are so inclined (OK, no more product plugs, I promise).
Below are a couple of designs I did for some of the mini-games.