Saturday, February 11, 2012

Animated Set Design

It took a while for this idea to sink in with me but, of course, there is also set design - production design - in animated films.  In animation, in "straight" films with computer CGI backgrounds, and in computer games, virtual, animation settings are a big deal!  For games like World of Warcraft the settings are half the fun.

What joggled this little fact home to me recently was almost simultaneously watching Pixar's Cars 2 - of which the settings are the best, most imaginative part - and reading a terrific book Dream Worlds: Production Design in Animation, by Hans Bacher, who was production designer for Mulan.  Gorgeous illustrations and an interesting back-stage kind of text.  Among his other designs is the iconic poster image for The Lion King.

the Lion King poster, designed by Hans Bacher


  1. The term Backplate is used more often in association with CGI and 3D. Backplates are 2D background images of landscapes suitable for any kind of advertising.

    cgi backgrounds

    1. Thanks for the correction. In theater it'd be a background (or a backdrop)... also I think in painting, as in foreground, middle-ground, background, but "plate" makes sense in terms of a camera and layers of animation drawings. Film terminology is fascinating - i'm particularly fond of "apple boxes" as a term and a handy tool.