Princess and the Frog Comic-Con Video Test

Surfacing on You Tube today was a rather interesting The Princess and the Frog clip. It’s being called the ‘Comic-Con Video Test’ so despite being a rare /Film-er not at SDCC, I’ll take their word for it and assume that’s where the clip originated. Rather than just being more footage from the film (which, frankly, would still have sucked me in right away) it is something a little more special. In this clip you can see several shots from the film in pencil test form. We’ve embedded it below the break.

A ‘pencil test’ is described thus on Wikipedia (well, at the moment anyway):

In traditional animation, a preliminary version of the final animated scene. The pencil drawings are quickly photographed or scanned and synced with the necessary soundtracks. This allows the animation to be reviewed and improved upon before being passed to assistant animators, who will add details and some of the missing frames in the scene. In European studios, the pencil test is called the “line test”, because it happens before the cels get their colour.

Here’s the clip:

Some of the later shots show the integration of line drawing with computer generated FX work or lighting (compare with the image at the head of this post). As there’s no audio, I think I’m going to assume a live commentary was provided in Hall H for the lucky thousands. Any of you remember what was said? Or do I have to wait for the Blu-Ray?

I’m particularly interested in the ‘creeping shadows’ shot. Are those hand-animated over a CG background? It would seem so. And there definitely appears to be some computer assistance going on with ripples around wading feet, bouncing logs and with the chop-chop-chop food preperation.

It’s a tricky one, blending CG work with cel animation but it’s looking good so far. Disney pioneered this sort of cross breeding many moons ago, of course – with Basil the Great Mouse Detective, I believe. They used a computer to animate series of cogs in that one, if I remember correctly. Look how it’s all grown up now!?

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