COPYRIGHTS AND RESTRICTIONS AND CONDITIONS OF THIS WEBSITE

 

A CLOSER LOOK -

Mike Gabriel on the Creative Process for LORENZO, page two

© 2005 Ron Barbagallo

MIKE GABRIEL:

When the street light blows out, I decided to go into a silhouette of Lorenzo for two reasons. First, to punch the contrast for higher drama, and secondly to sneak his fur back to normal after all the preceding scene where Lorenzo becomes scorched and mangled.

MIKE GABRIEL:

This sequence marks the return of Malo, and the return of the color red to the film.

I started the film in reds to establish the danger and mood, and to inject Malo's scenes with as much menace as possible -- but have laid off them from the point in the film with green fountain on -- so that it would feel like a return not only of Malo, but of the color red. The more you can get a full circle feeling in your ending the better. This time the reds are hotter than before too. I saved the hottest reds for the end.

MIKE GABRIEL:

As you can see from the storyboards, I originally didn't have any wild paintings in mind behind the long neck dance. That came later on while making the character pose paintings for the production.

 

I would always play the music for Lorenzo as I painted the backgrounds to let it influence my color and design choices. The music really starts pumping here as Malo’s neck starts elongating so I started doing some wilder flings and splatters with the paintbrush, to follow the music’s lead.

 

While I painted some variations of different colored backgrounds, I let our editor Jessica Ambinder-Rojas play with the timings and cut to the beats to juice up the visuals to match the level of intensity of the music. I left her cuts exactly as she cut them together and in her order of shots, too.

 

At the last minute we switched the second cut back to Malo. It used to be just a repeat of the previous Malo scene cutting his tail action, but closer and closer. Baker Bloodworth thought we should do something new and make it more interesting. I came up with the "tick-tock, time is wasting" idea, and Baker added a nice touch with the idea to have Lorenzo's scared expression seen in the flash of the knife's reflection.

MIKE GABRIEL:

The tail almost had a pair of eyes along with it’s mouth early on. Roy Disney asked us to try a pair of eyes on Lorenzo, and in fact some of Joe Grant’s drawings had eyes on the tail as it came to life. I just felt it got a little creepy and less appealing to have these eyes peering out of the fur. I left them off and hoped the animation would prove the eyes weren’t necessary. Roy went with it without argument, and never mentioned it again. These guys know how to produce.

MIKE GABRIEL:

My color concept was to get very vibrant, lively hues pumping, but keep the hot reds out again to relieve the eye for the upcoming finale. I was a little nervous that this color blinking effect going on behind Malo's head coming forward with the knife was maybe getting a wee bit too "Aristocat-ty." The "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat" type affect. But the crew liked it so it stayed in. They were right as usual.

 

As Lorenzo contemplates a horrible proposition, the music gets intimate which allows me to dip down all hue, except pale pink, to give the upcoming reds as much punch as possible. I punched the value contrast between the reds and blues during the knife fight sequence where Lorenzo is fighting with his tail -- the darks and lights, and blasted the reds full screen for the first time.

MIKE GABRIEL:

The run back to the cafe goes from insane warped world into normalcy by the

time he reaches the door and ducks back into the cafe. Most people probably aren't aware that this is supposed to be the same cafe he started in.

 

Once Lorenzo is back in the cafe with the tail on the outside I wanted to flatten out all the values and eliminate the hot reds, so when the door is flung open you feel the sudden surge of contrast, really strong darks and lights, and hot red hues.

 

Plus I wanted the knife and Lorenzo's eyes to be the only thing you are watching, so I kept them lightest and brightest in the scene. Once the door is flung open I wanted to be at peak screen visual intensity so I pulled out the stops. Even the characters are drawn with sharp angles, rather than their normal curves.

 

The animation that was originally done for this scene was not quite wild or frantic enough so I asked the animator to really cut loose and go nuts with it. I told him to have the cat run cycled in four frames on ones. Full rotation of all four legs in four frames. I knew it could be done because I had done it on The Great Mouse Detective with Felicia running from Toby at the end of the film. When I opened this new pass at the scene up on my computer I flipped. It was exactly the level of madness I was hoping for, and then some. Superb intuitive animation. You can only get that kind of scene done straight ahead on ones.

MIKE GABRIEL:

I was always amazed the studio never once flinched at the depiction of Lorenzo cutting his tail off. The ending was always going to involve the tail being cut off. But we never felt we should leave the audience in that emotional state. We needed an additional tag. The day before Don Hahn and I flew to London to record the music with Juan Jose Mosalini and his big Tango Orchestra, we both thought of the same idea. Have the band strike up a fast burlesque type version of the music and have the characters actually come out and take a bow to let everybody know no animals were harmed in the making of this short. All just cartoon fun, folks. We tried other ideas but this one where they take a bow seemed to set a nice upbeat tone, but I wanted to let the audience know that the tail was cut off nonetheless.

MIKE GABRIEL:

Here is Lorenzo's mental breakdown. It was up to me to try and express this cat's breakdown. The best way to do that was to feel it first inside myself.

 

In order to try to get that feeling into the backgrounds I first mixed up a huge pot of the fiery red I could mix, closed the door to my office, and got out a big fat paintbrush.

 

I mentally wanted to feel Lorenzo's intensity so I just stared at that Lorenzo expression until I felt I could feel exactly that intense mind set. Then I started firing away on the black paper. Anything, it didn't matter what it looked like. I wanted it to feel like anxiety, like insanity. I threw the paint around the room splattering my kids photos on the wall. Who cares, this was go for broke time. I ended up with about thirty or forty of these insane spatters of madness. I whittled them down to the few that felt most insane.

 

I hoped that if I felt in my body and brain the same feeling Lorenzo is feeling, somehow the emotion would be felt through the paintings. In other words I painted the backgrounds as if I were animating the backgrounds. Feel it first, then get that feeling onto the page. There is also a subtle intensifying of the red hue as the scene and his insanity progresses.

BACKGROUND STRESS PAINTINGS

CHARACTER POSE PAINTINGS

All background stress paintings were painted by Mike Gabriel.

Media: tempera on black construction paper.

Size: 13 1/2 inches by 18 inches.

© Walt Disney Company.

All character pose paintings were painted by Mike Gabriel.

Media: tempera on black construction paper.

Size: 13 1/2 inches by 18 inches.

© Walt Disney Company.

All images are © Disney Enterprises Inc.

 

The author would like to thank Baker Bloodworth, Don Hahn, Roger Allers, Howard Green, Doug Engalla, Sarah Baisley and Ray Morton for their help.

 

 

 

This article and interview is owned by © Ron Barbagallo.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may not quote or copy from this article without written permission.

 

 

YOUR USE OF THIS WEBSITE IMPLIES YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THE "COPYRIGHT AND RESTRICTIONS/TERMS AND CONDITIONS" OF THIS WEBSITE DETAILED IN THE LINK BELOW:

 

LEGAL COPYRIGHTS AND RESTRICTIONS / TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF USE

 

INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO QUOTE FROM THE WRITING ON THIS WEBSITE CAN BE FOUND AT THIS LINK.

 

PLEASE DO NOT COPY THE JPEGS IN ANY FORM OR COPY ANY LINKS TO MY HOST PROVIDER. ANY THEFTS OF ART DETECTED VIA MY HOST PROVIDER WILL BE REPORTED TO THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, WARNER BROS. OR OTHER LICENSING DEPARTMENTS.

 

 

 

ARTICLES ON AESTHETICS IN ANIMATION

BY RON BARBAGALLO:

 

The Art of Making Pixar's Ratatouille is revealed by way of an introductory article followed by interviews with production designer Harley Jessup, director of photography/lighting Sharon Calahan and the film's writer/director Brad Bird.

 

Design with a Purpose, an interview with Ralph Eggleston uses production art from Wall-E to illustrate the production design of Pixar's cautionary tale of a robot on a futuristic Earth.

 

Shedding Light on the Little Matchgirl traces the path director Roger Allers and the Disney Studio took in adapting the Hans Christian Andersen story to animation.

 

The Destiny of Dalí's Destino, in 1946, Walt Disney invited Salvador Dalí to create an animated short based upon his surrealist art. This writing illustrates how this short got started and tells the story of the film's aesthetic.

 

A Blade Of Grass is a tour through the aesthetics of 2D background painting at the Disney Studio from 1928 through 1942.

 

Lorenzo, director / production designer Mike Gabriel created a visual tour de force in this Academy Award® nominated Disney short. This article chronicles how the short was made and includes an interview with Mike Gabriel.

 

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, an interview with Graham G. Maiden's narrates the process involved with taking Tim Burton's concept art and translating Tim's sketches and paintings into fully articulated stop motion puppets.

 

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, in an interview exclusive to this web site, Nick Park speaks about his influences, on how he uses drawing to tell a story and tells us what it was like to bring Wallace and Gromit to the big screen.

 

 

For a complete list of PUBLISHED WORK AND WRITINGS by Ron Barbagallo,

click on the link above and scroll down.