Tag Archives: waltdisney

Eyvind Earle’s painting how-to

When I was in San Francisco last week, I visited the Eyvind Earle special exhibit at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Eyvind was a background painter and concept artist on Sleeping Beauty and other 1950s Disney features. I love this series of small paintings he made to train his assistants:

Today, something like this would be done digitally in layers. In 1959, he had to paint each layer multiple times to fully demonstrate the technique. No shortcuts.

Making the Kickstarter video

Since I launched it over 3 weeks ago, thousands of people have watched my Kickstarter video, but I haven’t watched it again myself since that first day. I knew if I watched it I’d find new problems with it, and remember all the things I wanted to fix. It’s too late.

I had fun creating it. I wanted something with a hand-drawn feel, because to me blogging is about individual creative expression. It’s about not being afraid to publish something that isn’t perfect — something that is personal and a little rough, like a quick sketch.

Because I love traditional animation I wanted to draw all the frames with a pencil and paper, not digitally. Here’s me flipping through some of the drawings:

At 30 frames per second, doing any animation at all is extremely tedious, even with these little sketches. I made about a hundred drawings and scanned them in one at a time. I composited everything in Apple’s Motion, then ended up using Motion for sliding objects around and fading them in or out, which cut back on the number of drawings I would have otherwise needed.

The inspiration for introducing the video was the early 1920s-era Max Fleischer and Walt Disney cartoons, like Alice’s Wonderland. I also thought it would more naturally cut from me talking at the camera to illustrating the story of why independent microblogging matters.

I’m not sure whether I will ever do another Kickstarter campaign. But I hope to have the chance to make a video like this again. I learned a lot from it.

Glen Keane drawing in 3D

Here’s a wonderful video of Glen Keane drawing with VR goggles. I’ve been watching and listening to Glen explain animation for a long time, on bonus videos going back to my small collection of Disney feature LaserDiscs. It’s great to see him still in the spotlight after leaving Disney, and the great work he did on last year’s Duet.

Speaking of the Disney company, I really enjoyed last night’s American Experience on Walt. Part 2 airs tonight on PBS.

Update: Shortly after posting this, a new film from Glen Keane showed up in my newsreader. It’s a good month for animation.

Saying goodbye to Wii Transfer

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” — Walt Disney

There are many posts on this blog about Wii Transfer, the little Mac app that launched commercially almost by accident, and convinced me that it would be worthwhile to invest time in this side business called Riverfold Software. Early posts like the launch post in 2006 or this one about the first 75 days, and this one covering the price bump in version 2.5. But the app has been fading over the last couple of years, no longer as relevant today as it once was. It’s time to let it go.

I’m retiring Wii Transfer to focus on my other apps. It’s not that it doesn’t sell; it still does. It’s just that it’s not an app I actually use anymore. By officially shelving the whole project, I hope to remove a psychological burden of sorts — to no longer worry that I’m ignoring an active product.

It also doesn’t fit into a new theme I have for Riverfold: apps that are all about keeping and remembering what matters. For Clipstart, that’s family videos. For Tweet Library and Tweet Marker Plus, that’s old tweets. Wii Transfer is about… listening to music on your Wii? It doesn’t fit, and in the world of the Apple TV and Roku, modern streaming technology has passed the app by.

If anyone is disappointed that Wii Transfer will no longer receive updates, of course I offer refunds. I won’t be selling or open sourcing the app, preferring instead to continue to support existing customers myself for as long as they want to use the app. And I’ll keep the automatic bookmark service running that makes setup easy, as well as the Mii rendering service, so nothing breaks.

I put a lot of work into Wii Transfer over its 5-year lifespan. It’s not easy saying goodbye, especially to some of the unique things that only Wii Transfer could do, such as exporting Miis as images. Maybe I can bring that back one day. For now, I’m following the path started by my apps Tweet Library and Clipstart, for which there are many new things still to do.