Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Courtroom Rotoscope Drawings

I always knew drawings like these existed, but had never seen any until I acquired this set.  Yet more courtroom art, gotta love it!.  These are (what are now called) rotoscope drawings.  I'm not sure when that term came into existence, but the technique has been around for nearly 100 years.  It is unclear to me how much the animators relied on these tracings, but let's look at how they compare to the final film.  First up we have what appears to be Alice scoffing at the Dormouse's testimony "twinkle, twinkle - what next?"
Going back in time a little, we have Alice correcting the Queen "unimportant your majesty means"
followed by Alice's reaction to the Queen bellowing at her for "silence".
And finally we have Alice looking on in wonder and dismay as the entire courtroom exclaims on the fact that it is the Queen's unbirthday.
Based on these comparisons, I feel that these are not true rotoscopes, but were indeed used as a starting point for the animation.  There are lots of little differences (even taking into account that my screen grabs are not exact), but the basics of the layout, pose, and expression were clearly influenced by the reference tracings.

What do you think?

6 comments:

Galactic Overlord-In-Chief said...

They seem to be very basic reference drawings. They're not very detailed at all, and Alice is quite stiff, standing straight in them. In the animation, the picture is focused on her more. The angles are also shifted slightly in the finished cells. Finally, the shapes in the animation are much more clearly defined. With Alice, her waist is smaller and her skirt is more umbrella-shaped, plus her apron is clearly drawn out and contrasted with her skirt.

They clearly seemed to be a help, though. If you get the pose down, the rest of it should come easier.

Magic Emperor said...

♫Take on me...♫

Major Pepperidge said...

There is no doubt that the top Disney animators of that day were incredible draftsmen; the use of reference doesn't negate that.

However, on occasion some of the human characters in animated features do feel a bit "rotoscopey" in spite of the fact that they were not traced. It's hard to describe, but you can feel it when you watch it.

The drawings are interesting, I've never seen anything like them!

A Snow White Sanctum said...

Nice comparison shots Matt. Wasn't it about 1915 or so that Max Fleischer invented the rotoscope technique? These Alice drawings are sure a long way from that.

Matt said...

@overlord - I agree, and perhaps by this time the animators were better and just referring to these. I do know that in Snow White they did much more true rotoscope, especially in the scene where Snow White is dancing with the dwarfs

@Magic Emperor - I love that video! That was freshman year of college for me

@major - indeed, I had never seen anything like these before either. And they aren't on paper, but some sort of bizarre cel-like material, but frosted on one side.

@Snow - I think so, wikipedia says so, so it must be true ;)

crobl005 said...

This is so neat, I love it. Keep posting.

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