Animation with a twist: Disney’s Tangled on DVD
Concept art for Tangled. Image © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
As for colour, Cooper describes it as somewhere between classic fairy tale and impressionism, with traditional Disney thrown in. “It’s a hybrid of everything the directors liked and some things Dave [Goetz] and I liked,” he says, shyly acknowledging that he has exhibited his oil paintings in galleries.
“We both also paint outside of Disney for some sort of creative outlet… or maybe creative torture. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.”
Thus, as might be imagined, Goetz and Cooper weighed in heavily in the areas of colour and lighting, developing a colour script that described the palette for the whole movie.
“We created thumbnail versions of each sequence that showed what time of day it was, the mood, and how we affected that with colour and lighting,” Goetz says.
These were paintings arranged in a grid pattern on a single printed sheet to show the colour scheme for each sequence.
“Then as we got into the lighting process,” Goetz says, “we’d do paintings for key scenes that expanded the little postage stamps on the colour script.
The colour keys show direction, hue and saturation, intensity of key and fill lights, amount of atmosphere, and any other information we would like an artist to have,” Kallianpur says.
During the production process, the art, look and lighting directors sometimes did quick paintings on top of a shot being lit to illustrate particular ideas.
Goetz notes that traditional 2D movies have rich colour, which they adopted for Tangled. “One of the things we were going for with Rapunzel is the whole symbolism of the hair,” he says.
“She’s a bright character with a positive attitude and has a positive effect on everything, so in the beginning, when we meet her, there are a series of warm sequences.
“Part of that is to set up the appeal of the world and part is a reflection of who she is as a character.”
Maximus the horse is more cream-coloured that pure white, to provide a warmer look to the film. Image © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
When we see Rapunzel, we see sunlight and bright, saturated colours. When she is in the tower, it is warm and cosy; when she leaves, it is grey and lonely.
On the other hand, Mother Gothel – the witch who imprisons Rapunzel – wears a blood-red dress and has jet-black hair.
Cooper describes her as pale but healthy: “She has a dark cloak with a touch of green to it, so we have that red-green vibration going, but mostly we see black,” he says.
When she enters the empty tower looking for Rapunzel, she doesn’t add a bit of warmth to the scene – and later, when she murders a character in the film, the colour again disappears.
“We de-saturated the entire scene,” Goetz says. “It’s beautiful, but we have a dead, grey feeling in the palette. It sticks to her because she’s so evil.”
While Mother Gothel has cold, grey lighting, Flynn wears earth and sky colours. “We gave him a creamcoloured shirt, blue jerkin, and earth-toned pants,” Cooper says. “We wanted him to be more or less an adventurer type.”
The horse, which many think steals the show with his canine-like antics, is also not quite white. “Most of the whites in the film are cream-coloured,” Cooper says.
“If something is white, it leans toward buff, eggshell or off-white. Our marching order was that everything had to have appeal, that we had an underlying warmth in all scenes in the film.
“We made certain we had saturated colours except when the story dictated that something needed to be grey or contrasty or tense.”
To convey the lighting they had in mind which would produce the colours and mood of the classic Disney films, Goetz and Cooper again created impressionistic lighting keys.
“We tried to get a feeling of impressionist light,” Cooper says, “which is a combination of ambient from the sky, sunlight, and the warm light from the ground. Hopefully, we conveyed that in every scene.
Image © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
In the paintings Dave and I do, lighting isn’t the standard razor-sharp CG. It has more atmospheric edges.”
Atmospheric edges? “It’s basically getting the light to wrap around a surface,” Cooper explains. “You get the environment interacting more with the edges of the object rather than lighting something that feels like a precious piece of Tupperware under light. We also used indirect lighting.”
When shadows appear, they are either on the opposite sides of the colour wheel from the light or near the colour. “It depends on the emotion you want to convey,” Cooper says.
“If you have the shadow and light across from each other on the colour wheel, it gives you a bright and cheery feeling. If they’re closer in hue, more monochromatic, it can feel sombre. We use [a monochrome scheme] for sensitive scenes or sad or tense shots.”
Typically, each shot has one dominant colour and the other subordinate: for example, a cool light with warm
shadows, or vice versa.
Cooper and Goetz split the lighting keys between them, creating hundreds for the film. Lighting ranges from daylight to night, interior to exterior, cloudy to sunny – and sets the mood, sometimes even despite available light.
The tower, for example, needed to feel warm, inviting, and charming most of the time, even though it had only a few windows.
“We cheated the heck out of it,” Kallianpur says. “To make the lighting look different in various sequences and convey moods, we made up windows that did not exist. The bar was high on this film.”
Click on the next page button to read about Disney’s use of in-house tools and physically-based algorithms in the approach to Rapunzel’s hair.
Tangled on Amazon UK
Tangled on Amazon US
on Thursday, May 26th, 2011 at 4:08 pm under Features, Making of.
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Tags: Animation, CG, Disney, Tangled