Friday, November 19, 2010

Glen Keane

Whilst Australia is pretty out-of-the-way when it comes to contact with the mighty in the industry, in Melbourne, we're luckier than most Australian states to get the opportunity to meet and hear from some animators that many of us greatly admire. Glen Keane is such a person. Along with Roy Conli, the producer of Disney's 'Tangled', he gave a talk at ACMI and gave us the wonderful chance to see him draw live and talk about working on 'Tangled'. Glen Keane is an amazing artist. His knowledge of anatomy, dimension and aethetics is extensive and awe-inspiring. He was key animator for Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' and for the Beast in 'Beauty & The Beast' and is arguably one of the greatest animators alive today. To see his drawings is both exhilirating and humbling, so it was an especially interesting move for this traditional animator to become involved with a 3D animated film as Animation Supervisor. He said that he drew as much on this film as he did on the 2D traditional films he has worked on, and to see his hand-drawn pass over a computer animated image and how it turned something that was, at best, passable into something beautifully crafted and full of character showed us how vital it is that animators can draw and how traditional animation has so much to give the world of computer animation. It is also lovely to hear him encourage Australian animators and acknowledge the pool of talent in this country that tries its hardest to survive in a world where the government gives little support and where other countries can do it cheaper. It was also heartwarming to see students and young animators in the crowd listening very carefully and enjoying the masterclass. The craft of drawing animation will, hopefully, always find a place in this constantly evolving medium.
This is not to detract from what Roy Conli had to say. The non-artistic side of a production is often undervalued or scorned as the "evil" or "difficult" part of a production. It is an unenviable job and one I wouldn't care for. I mentioned this to him as he was signing the programme for the Disney exhibition that is being held at ACMI, and he said that he felt that ensuring a project comes in on schedule and under-budget is not his primary function... that more important was ensuring that the film that is originally envisioned is created to the highest standard and with the greatest pride in the craft of animation, and that everyone works together to make it so.
Roy Conli
Roy Conli, producer. He had a stylish goatee as well as interesting things to say!
Glen Keane, the master at work.
Notes for animators
Details are crucial in animation. It can make the difference between keeping a character on-model and IC and watching that same character become someone or something else.
Glen Keane caught on camera pulling the same expression as the character he's drawing... a not uncommon occurance for animators!

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