From pencil to pixels: how Disney cartoons evolved

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It was 1937, when a boy called Walter Elias Disney introduced his first animated feature film to the market: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. After brief initial skepticism, the cartoon turned out to be a great success and opened the door to other successful films like Cinderella, Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty. These are unforgettable stories and fairy tales, brought to life by Walt Disney, a real genius who drew on the blocks of paper with a technique based on merely the talent of freehand drawing: thousands of sheets which, when scrolled quickly in sequence, produced the animated effect which generates movement in the characters.


How the “Animated drawings” technique works

The technique used to create cartoons is based on a phenomenon called “persistence of vision“. The Lumière Brothers already spoke of it as “Retinal Persistence” and clarified how it works, by explaining that the human eye retains an image even after it has disappeared. This is why cartoons seem to be moving images to us, when they are in fact static drawings shown very close together (about 24 frames per second) that create an optical illusion. It is interesting to think that for 10 minutes of a cartoon, 14,000 drawings are needed, which will be shot with a perfectly vertical plumb-chamber and subsequently overlapped to create the magic of the “moving pictures” that we all know.


A new film genre is brought to life with Toy Story

Exactly sixty years after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a production company, expert in 3D animation, releases the first full-length computer-made film: this film is Toy Story, and the production company is called Pixar, Disney’s technological branch.

From that first film created by Pixar with the use of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), a real cinematographic genre was born, adding innovation and creativity to the already existing magic of cartoons. It is a great change, where pixels replace pencils, allowing the creator to focus on a few frames of an entire sequence and then creating, with computerized automatism, all the movements in between.

This digital revolution, in addition to having greatly reduced production times, has significantly reduced the costs of the sets, lights and shots, leading the world of cinema to respond effectively to innovations right through to video games and the world of television.


Behind Pixar, there is a certain Steve Jobs

This change that saw the inclusion of Pixar in the world of Disney, holds the name of one of the greatest innovators of all time, Steve Jobs. In 1986 he was the one who purchased, along with former Disney animator John Lasseter and the current president of Pixar, Ed Catmull, The Graphics Group, the production company which would subsequently become Pixar. Jobs and his associates’ goal was to make films with the same quality with which Apple developed its products. Seeing how things turned out, we can confidently say that the visionary entrepreneur hit the nail on the head.


Disney and technology also come together in Tribe’s accessories

If the evolution of Pixar has enthused you, you certainly won’t remain indifferent to our USB sticks: memory sticks of 8 GB and 16 GB, which faithfully replicate Toy Story, Monsters & Co and Baymax characters in 3D!




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