Disney’s ‘Paperman’ pioneers hybrid look

Fest Traveler: Palo Alto Intl. Film Festival 2012

Boy meets Girl. Boy falls in love with Girl. Boy desperately flings paper airplanes out a Manhattan office window to get girl’s attention.

It’s a new spin on a classic story arc, and Disney’s upcoming short “Paperman” takes a flyer on some new animation techniques to make it work.

“Paperman,” which will play before Disney’s feature “Wreck-it Ralph,” is a black-and-white hybrid of hand-drawn and CG animation, a new look created in part with the studio’s new Meander software.

The visuals put the focus back on the artist’s stroke, creating characters that have the classic pre-millennium Disney look without seeming flat.

Director John Kahrs says the hand-drawn look gives his protagonists’ facial expressions depth, adding, “People believe in the characters. They believe in the emotion that (the characters) feel and that you feel watching them.”

Producer Kristina Reed says: “It’s not about the eye candy on the screen. You just want this guy to win and you’re just watching each plane and going, ‘Is this one gonna make it?'”

Variety will host a panel on “Paperman” at 11 a.m. Friday at the Palo Alto Intl. Film Festival.

Fest Traveler: Palo Alto Intl. Film Festival
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