Walt Disney Feature Animation has made its first public recruiting pitch to the animation community in four years with executives from the studio unveiling five films on which they are working.
They also showed off the animation tools they are using as Disney makes the transition from traditional 2-D pen-and-ink animation to 3-D computer animated features.
A team of Disney executives on Tuesday made an impassioned plea for the Los Angeles Professional Chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH -- the area's premiere computer graphics artists -- to join the animation studio during a session at the ArcLight cinema complex in Hollywood.
With "Chicken Little," the studio's first 3-D animated film, set for release Nov. 4, Disney's animation division is undergoing a transformation in the wake of several unsettling developments. Last year, "Toy Story" producer Pixar Animation Studios ended talks about extending its deal with Disney. Internally, Disney issued a controversial corporate mandate to end all traditional animation processes in favor of computer animation. And over the past year, several key animation executives departed the studio.
The Disney team touted the company's new Glendale-based computer animation building, which is earmarked for "Toy Story 3" production, which Disney is proceeding with under its contractual right to produce sequels to the Pixar films. The story follows Buzz Lightyear as he is recalled to Taiwan after a series of malfunctions. Learning of a productwide recall, all the toys in Andy's room, under Woody's leadership, head to Taiwan to save Buzz from doom.
The program included preview material from five 3-D computer animated movies in the pipeline, which will comprise the studio's homegrown animation slate through 2008.