'Paperman.' This Oscar-Winning Disney Short Will Change The Way We See Animation

Disney’s Paperman won Best Short Animation at the Oscars last week (and many would say deservingly so), but how is this animation different to the ones before it? The trick, it seems, is to start looking back to the basics.

Some may feel that Disney, in this world of modern animation, may have lost a little touch with the progress into this futuristic world; with the loss of many of its hand-drawn lines.  “Isn’t there a way we can bring that hand of an artist back?” John Kahrs though.

This is where the genius of Kahrs, director of the short film, shone through. He thought about how he could combine modern animating technology with the classic hand-drawn method that has such a historical aesthetic associated with it. Using a program called ‘Meander’, the animators were able to sketch individual scenes whilst the program would fill in some of the gaps left, without mistake.

So let’s take an example, if a sketcher draws a woman smiling, and the same woman frowning, the program would pick up on the initial smile and fill in the steps leading up towards the frown, itself creating the necessary scenes to fill in the space.

This overall allows a multitude of hand-drawn sketches to be included in the picture, and still has the accuracy and detail of CGI. This is a hallmark for future 2-D animation, one giant leap into the depths of creativity and possible future animations and designs. Maybe this will lead on to future Pixar animations? Who knows. All we know is that the spark that some say Disney might have lost, is coming back. Personally, I can’t wait to see the results.

If you would like to see more of this technology in action, check out this video with Director John Kahrs: