The Pencil has a Point

Notes from GLEN KEANE Lecture 
Museum of Moving Image, 2/5/15

 - "The character exists before you draw it, it's weird." - G.K.

Part of the line to enter the theatre!
 - 'It took me a lifetime to draw like a child' - Picasso

 - 'The pencil is connected to your heart rather than your head.' - GK

 - 'Squash and stretch really tells you something about the texture [of the object, in this case a fox]' - GK

 - GK quotes Goethe

 - 'What can, should, 2D be?  What have we let it be?  What can we make it?' - GK

Glen Keane's secret desktop!


 - there is twice as much animation in the upcoming Google app than there is in the theatrical version of Duet

 - this is the first time all of his animation is 'there;' at Disney, it had always been cleaned up by other people

 - gribouiller, French, to scribble

 - Regina Dugan, leads Adv. Tech and Projects (ATAP) at Google, formerly of DARPA! Defense Adv Research Agency, in charge of the Duet app project, approached GK and gave him free reign to design the film, She will 'push GK creatively, and he will push us [ATAP] technologically,' 

 - also GK has other similar animation apps made/in the works, 

 - previously the only similar project was Windy Day by Jan Pinkava but apparently that's for Motorola

 - Small screen v. big screen?  No, the phone is a window to the biggest screen ever

 - GK's son is the production designer of Duet

 - while doing research sketches on how babies are made, GK decided to skip the early embryonic stage with a "poetic transition."

 - animated at 60FPS!!!  a metronome was used to make the transition (just as old film animators made the transition to video) set the metronome and snap your fingers, saying "24, 24, 24" on each stroke, so GK said " 60, 60, 60" instead and "303030303030" for double time

 - 60 FPS is recommended for these apps/devices for maximum fluidity of animation as the phone moves, but without the technological ability to project at 60 FPS theres really no point in animating that way

 - a new style of story boarding, learning how to coax people where to go with the phone; he thought he could just dive in, but his son convinced him to plan ahead

 - story timeline: a double helix, with the boy and girl's story as its own strand, with time as the y-axis and space as the x, and the change in time represented as two cylinders existing in the same space (o.0)  an animatic was made in 3d space

Time time time, see what's become of you.

 - you must find new ways to cheat the distance in the layout

 - spatial arrangement of scenes inspired by anatomical limitations of the human, the body of the viewer

 - GK did sketches at the Paris Opera Ballet company's dance classes, and worked with Benjamin Millipied (artistic director, choreographer of Black Swan, husband of Natalie Portman, scandalously dated her during the movie!! typical ballerinas, amirite?)

 - filmed his grandkid skipping down the street for reference: the back leg pushes off AND it lands first ("which makes sense only because a child invented it" GK)

 - the girl's pirouette was drawn in 3 point perspective so you can pan the phone up and down

 - GK used Google's big windows and sunlight to backlight a massive mosaic of layout drawings for the tree background (10K drawings?!)

 - animation done in reverse B&W color, aided by used of Google Glass which can see in reverse

The Holy Grail of Frame Rates

 - the music was dancing on the edge of "cheesy" (with an accompanying literal cartoon)

 - GK was inspired to draw his own water SPFX as opposed to a computer simulation, of lights on rippling surface, intersecting triangles morphing into polygons

 - in the app, if you get lost or too far away from the main action, a butterfly appears to lead you back on course; it is unclear if the animation scenes are triggered by spatial coordinates but I would suspect that it just pauses until you are close enough

 - his work could be considered cubist, in the sense that "you are aware of the top, side, and bottom," "animation is sculptural drawing" GK

 - the animation took from Oct-June 2014, the app will be archived by Google

 - in terms of CPU power, a line (pencil, charcoal, effect) is much heavier than a vector drawing

Home Life

 - "Alright, get out from under the bar!" cartoon drawn on underside of family home's bar, made by GK's father Bil Keane

 - ideal job: "You just want to be a kid getting paid a lot of money." [Audience goes wild]

 - GK's father taught him to draw, and GK passes lesson on to his son Max: give child a piece of paper with ovals drawn on it and have them add faces showing different expressions

Drawing the Beast
Disney Career

 - GK was hired by Eric Larson (why did I write Glen Larson?) EL quickly  flipped through all the carefully crafted and shaded works in GK portfolio and only looked at a Matisse-like scribble brush drawing, the rest was status quo, and he wanted more like that; a week later GK came back with like 700 more 

 - Re: Tarzan, GK, Paris, 1999, his son was skateboarding in the Trocadero (pfft, Americans, amirite?) and he decided Tarzan would be a jungle skateboarder

 - Re: Pocahontas, the first time his animation appears in a feature film, pastel wind FX in Colours of the Wind sequence

 - Re: Beauty and the Beast, the Beast is a combination of a bison's beard, a gorilla's expressive brow, a lions mane, and finally cow ears (to soften his countenance so Belle will fall in love)

 - 'The Pencil has a point, and if you can identify and explain(?) elucidate the point, you can have smart people solve the problem.' GK, re using a stylus to draw corrections over rough animation from Tangled; it also looks like he is doing this just to make his underlings better animators/work on composition/posing, rather than teaching drawing in general

 - "Don't animate what the character is doing, animate what they are thinking" Ollie Johnston

The Little Mermaid

 - TG personal opinion: Part of Your World is still so sad, even though it looks like it's about a spoiled teenager in her room full of things

 - GK: it's vulnerable and scary, opening yourself up to others; when the mermaid reaches out to the audience and fades away to the bottom ocean floor, GK over came his corny feelings of sentimentality as he was animating, he was 33 years old at the time and the mermaid is 16

 - "I always felt in a lot of ways I identified with Ariel, aside from the sea shells." GK


 - Glen Keane 'fell into animation' at CalArts film school, where he was originally admitted to film graphics instead of illustration

 - his advice is to "surround yourself with challenging people you can learn from"

 - while GK was at Disney he learned from the archives, he took old Freddy Moore animation frames and only looked at part of the sequence, then he tried to finish them with his own drawings, and compare the results with the originals to see what worked

Thank you to ASIFA-East for providing tickets to this amazing experience.

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