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Technology / Disney PopWrapped | Technology

Watch Disney Animation Legend Draw Characters In Virtual Reality

Ross Keniston | PopWrapped Author

Ross Keniston

09/13/2015 9:56 am
PopWrapped | Technology
Watch Disney Animation Legend Draw Characters In Virtual Reality | Virtual Reality
Media Courtesy of

Set minds to blown.

Does the name Glen Keane mean anything to you? Chances are it doesn't, but, if you knew what he had created, you'd be singing his name from the rooftops.

Keane is a former Disney animator and brought to life iconic characters such as Aladdin, Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Beast from Beauty and the Beast. For nearly forty years, he worked at the House of Mouse until he moved on in 2012 to Motorola's Advanced Technology group (which is now owned by Google).

Now, though, he's all about the buzzwords of 2015: Virtual Reality. A short film has been made of his work called Step Into the Page (created for the Future of Storytelling summit), and you can watch it below.

Directed by Ashley Rodholm, the film showcases how virtual reality allows Keane to create his characters to life. Keane says:

When you draw, you're expressing something that's real, visceral. By making a line, it's sort of a seismograph of your soul.

Keane is seen in the film drawing life-sized versions of Ariel and Beast with a HTC Vive headset and the Tilt Brush app. In it, he's able to walk around his character as if they are standing in front of him. It's worth noting that this recording showcases Keane using the technology for only the second time. Amazingly, it can only get better.

In a way [VR] is making what happens already in my head a very tangible and practical thing. It's always been VR in my head. When I animate, I think of sculptural drawing. I try to turn a character in space so I can prove to you this is not a flat drawing. 

What I realized about VR or AR [augmented reality] is that we're not going to really conquer that unless we really have time to master the craft, because it's a craft like sculpting or painting. 

You can't just give someone a paintbrush who hasn't held one before and ask them to create the Sistine Chapel [...] The tool is there, but it's going to take patience and time.

It's a very exciting future ahead for storytelling, one I can't wait to see.


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