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Comment of the Day: “Ballad of Nessie” Production Notes

The Ballad of Nessie

Matt M, one of the artists who worked on Disney’s The Ballad of Nessie, commented with some helpful details about the production of the short:

This short film is based off of Stevie’s (one of the directors) ideas she had come up with while back at CalArts I believe. The style is meant to be flat. The character animation was traditionally done on paper as well as the cleanup. The effects were done using Toon Boom and were drawn on Cintiq’s the same way we did all of the effects on PATF. All ink and paint and comp was done in Toon Boom as well. I even used maya (3d) on a couple of shots but you would never know it by the way it was treated in Toon Boom. I believe Joe Mildenberger (2d efx) used After Effects with Toon Boom for one of the sequences with art direction based of Lorelay Bove’s work. Dan Lund set up the look of the effects with some scenes he did. It is a simple story and the style is simply done. Not everything needs all the bells and whistles. Enjoy the animation and enjoy the story from this film. Both go hand in hand and neither one of them tries to overshadow the other. This film was completed at the end of PATF and was a nice way to roll of a very busy film. Andy Harkness was the art director and was so great to work with as was everyone at Disney. People who dont work there or never have need to find out facts before they bash on a place. Does Disney have its problems, yes but at the same time it employs some of the most amazing people and I believe in time things will get to where they should be at Disney.

  • Congratulations to Stevie! It’s a rewarding feeling when an idea you had as a student gets the backing of a talented studio team. I’m excited to see this short.

  • That’s why Disney should start to be more open to the original ideas as well as new talents, rather than going the same way. This looks amazing, and cannot wait to see it. Hope to see this with their feature films.

  • For years, I’d heard that Disney storyman Joe Grant had a pet project about the Loch Ness monster. Were any of his development ideas included in this short?

  • Some Girl


  • Josef

    I wasn’t planning on seeing Winnie the Pooh, but I’ll go see it for this short. I like the classic Disney feel to it. The feature film doesn’t look that bad either from what I’ve seen. It’ll be fun.

  • Good notes. Thanks Matt M.

    In regards to “bashing” films, I don’t think people mean harm by saying whether they like it or hate it, they’re just stating an opinion.

    Then again, too often people are rude about it and don’t know how to politely express their opinions.

    I for one look forward to this short. I support hand-drawn animation all the way! Sure it’s nothing “innovative” design-wise, but at least these projects employ many talented people.

    I’m curious, was there a catchy “ballad” written for this short? The Silly Symphonies of old are classics for their music score.

    Congrats Disney.

    • purin

      True. I suspect there’s an amplifying quality to the internet that makes any statement of “I don’t like this” or “I’m not going to buy this” look like a nationwide call to burn Beatles albums.

      • Iritscen

        It’s nothing mystical, purin, it’s really just a matter of people offering criticism (as happened in the comments on this short where certain folks pointed out the art style was “derivative”) without balancing out their negativity with praise (“but I like ___”, “but I’m glad that __”).

        I do think that sometimes we act like every new animated film should try to be a Renaissance of the art form instead of looking for the positives. It’s a shame because (to me) animation is imbued with positive vibes in a way that live-action rarely is, and yet we end up with a “glass half-empty” mentality instead of letting ourselves just get lost in the fun of the animation like we used to as kids.

      • Thanks for this statement. People say “cartoons are supposed to be fun”, yet no one online is allowed to enjoy anything besides a small selection of Looney Tunes. Ironically, the world of cartoons is more about the politics than the art or entertainment.

        I’m going to add a few years to my life and have some FUN at the movies on July 15th. :)

  • No shortage of Loch Ness Monster ideas, Scott. I pitched one to Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Roy Disney back in 1994.

    • I seem to remember H-B kicking around a “Nessie” concept for a feature film, too!

  • “Ballad of Nessie” is done in a sort of spoken song way, if you like the classics you will love this as well. By the way I added a link to my site, just click on my screen name.

  • Completed at the end of PATF… why hasn’t it been released before?

    • Angry Anim

      Waiting for the proper time to release it. It was probably always slated to be paired with Pooh.

  • Spencer

    Bout time Toon Boom got the let out! Amazing program to work in and the stills prove it. Can’t wait!

    • Xgeeme

      You do know ToonBoom was used on The Princess and the Frog, right?

  • Hans W.

    I saw the film at the Anima festival in Brussels and wasn’t very impressed. I mean, it was okay, but not better or different than most of the shorts Disney made during the Golden Age in the 30’s and 40’s.
    Still, every decent made 2D short should be applauded these days.

  • I’m looking forward to it.

  • John

    My god these drawings are so mediocre!

  • To many of you thanks for the comments. To others I must ask have you ever worked at a studio? Have you ever worked on a 2d or a 3d feature or a short for that matter? To judge a product by 3 or 4 stills is pretty ballsy. You have no idea how the stuff moves, the context, the flow of the line, timing or beats. I have seen comments on the drawings themselves. If that is your issue then post specifically why a drawing is bad not just a blanket statement of “it sucks”. Just some food for thought.

    • I hate to admit, but you CAN usually tell what a film will “look” like off of one still.

      *Consistency is key, when dealing with western style character animation right? I mean, we’re not talking about eastern, modern, art-house films here.

      That said, I think people are just stating their opinions on “aesthetics” alone. If they’re being rude about it, or not explaining themselves, then yes, that’s wrong.

  • TsimoneTseTse

    Oh man does this feel like, nice warm comfort animation. It takes you back to a time of innocence and hope and when Disney himself, was creating a Wonderful World (yea i’m that old). I’m looking forward to taking my family to see this and Pooh.