C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Animating Popeye

A fascinating 1939 report from Popular Science - in color, too! - of the filmmaking process at the studio of pioneer animator Max Fleischer. Nowadays I suppose there must be software that would allow a child of 8 to make a cartoon - but even though I myself grew up in pre-computer times, it's still mind-boggling to contemplate the vast amount of skilled, painstaking work that was necessary - and which produced such beautiful results.

First, some background from Wikipedia on Fleischer's stereoptical process:
This technique replaced the usual flat-plane, drawn and painted cartoon backgrounds with a circular 3-D scale-model background — a diorama — in front of which the action cels were positioned and photographed. As the character, say, hustled down a city street, the camera operator would rotate the diorama a click with each frame. The result was a constantly changing perspective of converging parallel lines that gave an amazing sense of depth. The process worked most dramatically with pans or tracking shots; for static shots, traditional drawn backgrounds sufficed. It was used to great effect in the longer format Popeye cartoons Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936) and Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves (1937). These series of double-length (two-reel) cartoons were a gradual progression expressing Fleischer's desire to produce feature-length animated features.

And here's the complete film they were working on in the short subject: the two-reel Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp:


Frank said...

When my dad, who was quite an artist, was young and just married he wanted to move to California and draw for Disney. Circumstances prevented it. I can't imagine how different our lives would have been.

Russ Manley said...

Hmm, that's an interesting speculation - no doubt you'd have grown up surfing the waves in Southern California instead of shoveling snow in New England.

Related Posts with Thumbnails