Computer Graphics World

Edition 2 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 67

30 cgw e d i t i o n 2 , 2 0 2 0 B efore children close their eyes and dri off to dreamland, parents will regale them with bedtime stories of fantastical characters from wondrous worlds. Disney's third VR film, "Myth: A Frozen Tale," uses this ritual to kick off a fairy tale like no other, taking viewers on a visceral journey and immersing them in a stylized world inspired by the environments and elemental characters from Frozen 2. "Myth" begins in a forest setting outside of Arendelle, as a local family sits down to hear a bedtime story. As the mother reads, the audience is transported to a mystical and stylized world inspired by the elemental spirits, themes, and environments introduced in Frozen 2 come to life, and the myths of the characters' past and future are revealed. The VR short was created in-house at Walt Disney Animation Studios by the core team who built Disney's first VR film, "Cycles." "Myth" was directed by Jeff Gipson, who also directed "Cycles" (2018). Jose Luis Gomez Diaz, who also worked on "Cycles," served as VR technology super- visor on "Myth," with Michael Anderson as VR environment lead and Ed Robbins as VR character lead. Brittney Lee, a key visual development artist on Frozen and Frozen 2, was the production designer. In fact, the same artists, technologists, and teams that work on the studio's feature films work on all the VR/AR projects, too. The impetus for the project began with Jennifer Lee, Disney Animation's chief creative officer, who wrote and directed the Frozen films, aer approaching Gipson in late 2018 about exploring the Frozen world for his next VR project. "'Myth' is a fairy tale, a bedtime story in a way of a myth or legend about the ele- mental spirits from Frozen 2," says Gipson, who was inspired by bedtime stories from his past. He tried to imagine what type of stories he would have been told as a child if he were to have grown up in Arendelle. Then aer watching those early screenings of Fro- zen 2, he became drawn to those elemental characters, and pondered what they would like look in VR. "I like the idea that if we grew up in Aren- delle, this was something that everyone was told, a shared story," he adds. A Unique Style for a Unique Medium In Frozen 2, those elemental characters assumed elaborate 3D forms. However, Gipson's vision for them in his VR storybook world was inspired by pop-up books and graphic silhouettes, even stage elements from vaudeville and music hall productions. That style meshed well with Lee's aesthet- ic, which Gipson describes as graphic and stylized, almost Eyvind Earle-like, referring to the art director on the 1959 animated Sleep- ing Beauty. "She does a lot of cutout paper art as well. That was one of the reasons I gravitated to her artwork and her style," says Gipson of Lee. As Lee points out, the world of Frozen 2 is already stylized, and with "Myth," they styl- ized it further. "We wanted to be respectful of what was already there, and didn't want to take the design out of its original realm. It was challenging to walk a fine line that elevated it and took it in a new direction but still felt like it would fit into the Frozen spectrum," she adds. Inspiration for the VR short's music-driv- en narrative came from Disney's Fantasia and even Peter and the Wolf, with all the characters having their own piece of score. "I wanted music to play into that, where every character has protagonistic characteristics, but also antagonistic characteristics as well. The music can inform each one of those and then balance itself out as we introduce A Bedtime S tory FILMMAKERS USE VR TO EXTEND THE WORLD OF THE ELEMENTAL SPIRITS IN 'MYTH: A FROZEN TALE' BY KAREN MOLTENBREY

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Computer Graphics World - Edition 2 2020