Bill Bumgarner


Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas

I just watched a DVD of Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas. I had no background on the film and the animation style really caught my eye. In particular, the film is entirely 3D computer animation that is radically different from traditional Mickey cartoons. It looks very much like it is a seriously upgraded version of the same technology to do Rollie Pollie Ollie.

The quality of the rendering is quite good, though it totally lacks in any atmospheric lighting or effects beyond very basic localized stuff. In general, the lighting and shadows do not create any coherent set of light sources. Textures tend to be extremely simple and flat. Whether that is a limitation of the technology used or a result of artistic direction is unclear. Certainly, Mickey cartoons tended to be relatively untextured.

At the same time, the actual animation is quite good. The facial expressions are quite lively and there is some limited movement of fabric. In general, the stories are quite well told given the rather traditional nature of Mickey related cartoons.

I wonder if the same animation group within Disney will be doing Toy Story 3. There are aspects of the Mickey DVD's animation stylings that would lend themselves well to creating a Toy Story like animation. If it is, then Disney clearly has a bunch of work to do achieve look and feel cohesiveness between TS2 and what will be TS3, but they are well on their way. It looks like Toy Story 3 will largely be a question of whether or not Disney can create and present a good story. I wonder if Pixar already had a TS3 story line roughed out?

Toy Story 3 certainly will be interesting.

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