For as long as I can remember, I have loved Disney films. I grew up watching Oliver & Company and The Little Mermaid over and over. I appreciated the songs, the story, the beautiful colors….it wasn’t until I was older that I also appreciated the amazing animation of all of the Disney films. Last week, I was able to check an item off my Life List – meet a Disney Animator.
Ethan Hurd is an Assistant Animation Supervisor at DisneyToon Studios and he just finished up working on the movie Planes. Ethan gave us a short demonstration on how he brings Dusty, the main character from Planes to life.
It all begins when Ethan and his team receive storyboards of the characters drawn in black and white. The animators then do a rough draft of the scene, show the director and actually physically act out the scenes while trying to figure out how they could apply their emotions to planes. Then, they would go back to do a final animated version of the scenes. To bring that character to life, Ethan uses computer software called Maya 3D. I got a chance to use the program myself to move Dusty around and I have to say, it’s definitely overwhelming!
Ethan shared that it took a little over a year to animate Planes. The animators of Planes flew to Emeryville, California to visit Pixar Studios. There, they looked closely at Cars and Cars 2 to make sure that Planes stayed consistent and it felt like you were in the same world. With animated movies, the voice actors record their parts first and then the movie gets animated. Ethan and his team would watch videos of the voice actors recording so they could insert their mannerisms into the characters.
Check out the finished version of Dusty that you will see in the movie – I love the amazing detail and I know you will too!
I was totally fascinated by Ethan and his job. He has always been into drawing when he grew up and he attended the California Institute of the Arts. After seeing Toy Story, he knew that he wanted to be an animator. Ethan has worked on many of your favorite films, but he shared that to date, Planes has been his favorite movie to work on. Next up, he’ll be working on Planes 2, which has been confirmed!
When you head to the theaters on August 9th to see Planes, remember the amazing work that Ethan and his team put into animating Planes – I know I will!
Fly with Planes Online
Disclosure: Disney provided an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles including travel, accommodations and activities. All thoughts and opinions are my own.