Yesterday Was Nik Ranieri’s Last Day at Disney Animation, Now He’s Talking

Yesterday was the last day of employment for Disney animation veteran Nik Ranieri (Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast, Meeko in Pocahontas, Kuzco in The Emperor’s New Groove) after he was unceremoniously dumped by Disney Feature Animation last April along with other studio cornerstones. He wrote a long post on his Facebook fan page tonight about leaving the company while expressing the view that hand-drawn feature animation is still a viable art form. He also showed a hand-drawn test that he produced for Disney’s CG pic Wreck-It Ralph. The full text and video are below:

It has been several weeks since my last Animator page posting. As you’re probably all well aware by now, I no longer work for The Walt Disney Company. June 10th was my last day. In October of this year, it would have been 25 years. Disney was my home for the last quarter century and I’ll always be grateful for the people I worked with and the experience I gained there. The last couple of years have been the most difficult of my career. At times I was filled with hope that my skills would be utilized in a new hand-drawn film. At other times, I doubted that a hand-drawn feature—hybrid or otherwise—would be produced at all. We were pretty much kept in the dark for over 2 years and once the word did come out that no more hand-drawn features would be produced, it was only a matter of days before we were “given our notices”. I’m not so much sad that I was let go as I am sad that they gave up on a medium that, if given the right treatment, could be a viable product once again. You may wonder, what will I be doing now. I can’t tell you that because I don’t know. It is said that when God closes one door, He opens another. I pray that He will guide me to the right door and that I’ll open it with confidence. Not in myself but in Him who guides my path.

As a parting reminder of my last years at Disney, here is my last hand-drawn test for a Disney production. I was asked to animate the character of Ralph from “Wreck-it Ralph”, as a guide for the animation of the character in the film. It took me 2 months to animate this scene because,

1. I had to adjust the look of the character as it changed, which meant redoing some of it and

2. I basically did all the drawings myself. Most animators don’t do every drawing in a scene, but I wanted it fully animated and since I didn’t have any inbetweeners, I had to draw everything.

Enjoy.


  • Bonfiglio

    Amazing animation! I love seeing the rough stuff. Disney’s loss.

  • Roberto Severino

    There’s something about a good hand drawn animatic that doesn’t usually get captured so well in CGI. Just the fact that an individual drew this all himself is absolutely amazing and impressive in this day and age when it used to be so much more common just 10 or 20 years ago! Times have changed. Some things for the better, others for the worst, but a lot of the aspects of the business like these layoffs haven’t changed.

    I wish this great artist good luck in his journey!

  • Terrible

    This test makes me very sad. Replace Ralph with just about any hand-drawn animator at Disney, and the dialogue is extremely fitting. Between this test and Eric Goldberg’s King Candy test, it’s like a chorus of “why aren’t you using us?! look at what we can do!”

  • Hey Now

    25 years at one animation studio- in 2013 no less- is incredibly rare and fortunate. Sadly, working project to project is the new norm- at least in Los Angeles. Kudos to Nik for not making the post all about him, but about the death of 2D animation in general.

    Man, I miss seeing pencil tests- especially those done by draftsman as skilled as Nik- but this particular clip seems to be really overacted given the line reading. Practically every syllable jumps to a new pose- even a ‘Milt Kahl neck-rub’ cliche thrown into the mix. It’s the same gripe I had for most of the animation in Brave.

    Okay, rant over. I truly do wish Nik all the best in his future endeavors.

    • Roberto Severino

      I think there’s only so much one can do to enhance the dialog in this one clip. I noticed the same problems with Eric Goldberg’s test animation of King Candy with the unnatural kind of acting.

      It would be better for the animators not to think so hard about trying to make the characters ham up to the camera and just think about how people in real life make gestures and expressions and then caricature that. I thought that’s what cartooning was about. Caricaturing what real people actually do in life.

      Michael Sporn made a bunch of posts over at his excellent blog critiquing the book The Illusion of Life and the mistakes people like Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas made in writing that book.

      Nonetheless, it is quite remarkable how this artist was able to work at the same studio for such a long period of time and still be able to do a competently done animatic like this. Bob McKimson actually once animated a whole cartoon called “The Hole Idea” and this piece of animation made me think about the amount of skill it must have took someone like McKimson to pull that kind of cartoon off and with someone like Sid Marcus writing it!

      • Robert

        Roberto,

        I must disagree with your statement
        “and just think about how people in real life make gestures and expressions and then caricature that. I thought that’s what cartooning was about. Caricaturing what real people actually do in life.”
        If we wanted to see a character do and act exactly as they do in real life, than we would only need live actors in film.

        I have always felt that animation could bring us to worlds that never existed, people who would never be, and things that could never happen, except in our imaginations.

        Thanks to work done by people like Nik, we have been able to experience this.

        Just my 2 cents…

        Robert Spezzano

  • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

    One has to wonder, where are all of these talented people going to go?

  • Cheese

    I too miss traditional animation. Someday when I have an animation studio of my own, the first thing I would do is forbid CGI (except computers for they may come in handy for drawing animation on screen instead of paper (saves the environment)) and stick to traditional animation forever. Besides, there are plenty of animation studios to produce CGI.

    • IJK

      You’ll probably go out of business faster than you can say “Don Bluth” with that biased attitude.

      • Animator606432

        Don Bluth actually used CG for his last feature.

  • Nikolas

    All these laid off artists need to form a company, put up a Kickstarter, and create some great, new shorts/films/characters that would make their old bosses regret dumping them. Don’t those corporate shills realize that these talented artists create the characters that people love? (The same who are willing to spend money to see and own DVDs and merchandise featuring said beloved characters.)

    • JimHat

      Don’t those talented artists realise that these corporate shills will create the animated CG features that joe public will still be queueing up to see come hell or high water?

      • Nikolas

        Judging from how the public has recently reacted to Epic, The Croods, and Rise of the Guardians, commercial success isn’t guaranteed even if the film is a CG movie from a major studio.

    • Leslie

      My thoughts exactly! Animators like Minkyu Lee and James Lopez already created/ are currently creating beautiful hand drawn animation like Oscar nominated “Adam and Dog” and “Hullabaloo” (https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkAnimation) outside of Disney; With their own studio these artists could prove that 2D animation is still in demand

    • Alex Printz

      it’s going to happen… it’s going to be a new generation of animators with the connections to projects hiring the older guys to help teach them to bring it to the next level.

  • Confused Now

    This is indeed very sad. Killing 2D animation for no reason. I thought Princess and Frog was successful for them?
    Wasn’t Lasseter a proponent for 2D and gonna bring it back?
    What happened to that?

    • William Bradford

      I think he had to really push his weight to get THAT made. THey made the mistake, though, of trying to reuse their old-hat type of story, and I think more then anything people are fed up with the classic Disney story, not 2D itself. maybe they’ll try again at some point, though yeah that doesn’t help guys like this master now, does it? :T. Maybe they’ll open there own studio. hand drawn is cheaper then CG afterall…

      • Leslie

        I was just going to make that suggestion: those who were laid off should strongly consider teaming together and starting their own studio à la Bill Plympton: I’m certain I’m not the only one who would be in line to purchase hand drawn, well written indie animated features.

  • Mad Guru

    It makes me sad to see the state of 2D feature animation in the U.S., and as someone in VFX and CG animated films, I see that segment in bad shape too, thoug that is more work situation than 3D not being used. I don’t think that 2D can be called dead because the larger studios have moved away from the medium though. I see incredible examples of 2D animation in features from other countries as well as shorts and advertising that shows that there is a lot of fresh new stuff being made. Much too much great work to call the medium dead because of short sited executives at larger studios. It is changing, as is VFX and CG. i feel for all my fellow artists forced into transition, but let’s not call 2D dead. Here are a few examples that tell me otherwise. http://www.madguru.com/archives/4924

  • BruceW

    I agree. Nik’s work on Hades completely nailed every beat in Woods’ vocal performance. Great stuff, and the same goes for the “Ralph” test.

  • Hope things get better

    $104 million was the domestic gross, the total gross (domestic and worldwide) was $264 million which is on par with what Tangled made if truth be known what that film cost to make. Tangled costs around $250 million to make but they never say that cause they do not count the pre Lasseter years the film was in production etc. IT has nothing to do about PATF under performing it did not and Pooh was only made to give that name brand a kick as they make insane amounts from the Pooh toy and clothes line. I worked on PATF and while I there we were told the budget was $65 million and we came in under budget as well. Disney sees CG as the tool they need to use to compete in the animation market, plain and simple. They lack vision that’s for sure to see that 2d is still a viable art form. We would all be happier if they just came out and said “we think 2d is a waste” cause that is what they think and they would at least be honest. They wont ever say that, they need to protect their image as an artistic studio. As to why they did not keep these guys around to do CG is beyond me. Nick can do CG like no ones business. Honestly they should of had these 2d guys be the animation directors. Tangles is an OK movie, what makes it amazing is the animation and that came from Glen Keane. Compare Ralph to Tangled, the animation in Ralph is good but no where as strong as Tangled. Animators at Disney are now a younger group wanting to prove themselves and do not want the 2d guys there, they believe they hold them back. Sad state of affairs I think. Same thing happened at Pixar when Brad Bird brought up 2d animators from Iron Giant to work on Incredibles, the cg animators despised them.

    • Scott550

      Tangled almost made it’s money back. Terrific cartoon–but hardly burned up the box office. And no, Pixar animators did not “despise” the 2 or so hand drawn animators that worked on The Incredibles..most of the animators who animated or designed the film were from traditional animators.

      • Hope things get better

        Agreed, Tangled did not make its money back yet was heralded as a success from Disney and Frog was not even though it was. I did not say all Pixar animators despised the 2d guys but I know folks who were interviewed there and were not well received and they were 2d animators.

      • daniel

        True, it’s hard to despise hand drawn animators that are fixing all your problems with your rigs and modeling issues and raising the overall animation quality of your films.. but Pixar leadership did kill the return of hand-drawn animation at disney by putting them in the same box that they rebelled against in the 90s, and forcing the second hand-drawn film a remake of Winnie the Pooh.. They sure weren’t supporting the return of the medium either..

    • Andrew G

      In response to the comment that “cg animators despised them” This is just not true. Everyone looked up to guys like Tony Fucile, Bolhem, and all the others. Everyone just wanted to learn from each other. I just don’t understand where you got that information from.

      • Hope things get better

        Again I did not say everyone at Pixar despised them or hated them, not true but some people there did not like the fact that Brad Bird brought on his 2d guys from Iron Giant. I will not say who told me as that would not be good to do but a few people did not like them. As for Tony, what is not to like about the guy? All I can go by is what people have told me who were there. My comment was made for the atmosphere at Disney that many of high up CG folks really were not into the 2d guys. I worked there and I saw it and heard it.

    • OCTruth

      Tangled did $590 million worldwide. Tangled more than made its money back and was on the heels of Ratatouille for box office. In fact it is the 20th highest grossing CGI animated movie domestically of all time. It also did better than

  • Aaron Mincey

    I think we all have to stop being nostalgic about how everyone hates CGI and so on. Yes Disney might have killed off their 2D animation stuff but at least if gives people like Nik and others to focus on other things. There are plenty of 2D films from across the seas and even in the independent field in america. Go support those films if you so called are tired of CGI all the time. But seriously stop always complaing about 2D is dead it is not, it just has moved somewhere else. Its Disney loss not yours. Give support to those who still make 2D and all various forms of animation.

    • atlanticjem

      The problem with 2D animation from elsewhere is that it lacks the (not sure how to say it) Disney look about it. Personally, I HATE anime with a passion. It looks horrible! I absolutely loved Princess and the Frog, Lion King, Aladdin, and so many others. I’ll take a classic hand drawn Disney movie over any other hand drawn cartoon any day. Nobody makes movies like The Brave Little Toaster, Fieval Goes West, or Balto anymore. Even Looney Tunes has taken a turn for the worse lately. Unless these latest-former Disney animators decide to take matters into their own hands and create films with that same look and feel they’re accustomed to, as opposed to adapting their talent towards other styles, then it IS ‘our’ loss, not just Disney’s. I think if Disney had kept making more movies that incorporated both hand drawn and CGI talent, like Beauty and the Beast and Mulan, they would get much further. Pure CGI worked fine for movies like Toy Story, where the characters have a plastic, fake feel to them because they are actually toys. But when they try to animate human or animal characters, CGI alone just doesn’t pull it off organic lines very well. I certainly never came anywhere near mastering it, but I’ve tried animating 3D characters on a computer. And I’ve hand drawn characters. Hand drawing brings a much more believable element to organic shapes and characters. Trying to do so in CGI may not be impossible, but it certainly has not been successfully accomplished…yet (as far as I’ve seen). And until they can do so successfully, I believe they should reserve such technology for specific stories and scenarios, or to enhance hand drawings. Not relied on completely for all animation. The latest rendition of Mickey Mouse is a great example of CGI gone totally bad. Mickey’s head may be a circle, but there are times where it shouldn’t just look like a shiny ball all the time, reflecting every light source like a highly polished bowling ball. (Mice have fur, right?) That’s really difficult to pull off on a computer. Rolie Polie Olie was cute. But that’s not what Mickey should look like.

      • luca

        errr, you hate all anime? japanese animation has a million different looks, and they cover all genres, from kid`s movies to thrillers and drama. I`m not sure how you can hate all of it. have you ever seen tekkon kinkreet, tokyo godfathers or kemonozume? or the genius party beyond collection? Most of my favorite animators are japanese, I don`t think you can look at koji morimoto, tatsuyuki tanaka or masaaki yuasa work and say it looks horrible, there are so many masters over there.

    • Funkybat

      If more of those overseas 2D films got at the very least “art house” theatrical releases stateside, I might support your post. But the vast majority of these foreign 2D features not only never get a US theatrical release of any kind, they don’t even get Region 1 DVD/Blu Ray releases! I’m tired of all of this great stuff basically being suppressed by shortsighted suits. There’s money on the table over here if only they’d give us the chance to spend it.

  • WOA247

    AMAZING! LONG LIVE 2D!!!

  • Scott550

    jim hill never “gets it right, ” and is more than often, if not always, well behind the curve when it comes to info regarding the industry. I don’t really blame the confusion, though–he’s not really a journalist, or even a very good writer. The problem with Pooh, and especially nessie, was they just weren’t very good films.

    • Tommy

      That doesn’t address the argument.

  • Scott550

    Of course they do. That’s why they’ll continue to care about the medium that made them rich–great storytelling and film making.

    • coolzone

      That’s funny. I thought it was just the international branding. And owning ESPN.

    • Daniel

      NLet me make it clear.. it was Lasseter who made the decision to make a handdrawn film that looked and felt like a 90s musical princess film.. the exact thing that pixar was fighting against.. In my eyes he put disney in a box where it wasn’t surprising it looked and felt the way it did.. he’s also the main reason why disney isn’t doing another one.. not iger.. not some corporate exec.. by the way he also started tinkerbell and planes.. you were talking about filmmaking and storytelling?

      • jmahon

        I’m sorry, was the Princess and the Frog no less of a great film than the other musical animated movies they’ve made? Did I miss some sort of consensus train where everyone hated it, or something? I thought it was fantastic, catchy and unique and had a solid spot amongst all the others they’ve made since the late 90s. I loved it. I’m disappointed in all the eye-rolling everyone constantly has for it. Disney isn’t going to be making Ghost in the Shell, nomatter how much people seem to want it to happen!

        • Axolotl

          If only…

        • daniel

          Just one person’s opinion on Princess and the Frog.. but if it’s suppose to be the return of hand-drawn animation. you are expecting something better then what’s already been done in the 90s.. In terms of progression, there wasn’t anything spectacular or special about it.. Lasseter actually wanted it to look and feel like his perception of a “disney” hand-drawn film.. and he got what he wanted..

          I’m not asking for Ghost in the Shell, but in my opinion, Princess and the Frog was not fantastic, catchy, or unique.. and based of the numbers compared to “cg” films.. it didn’t ring true to the modern audience either..

          If you want to look for the return of hand-drawn animation look for Adam and Dog.. It’s fantastic, catchy, and unique.. it pushes all the boundaries and changes people’s perception of what classic hand drawn animation really is…

          Disney won’t be making anything fantastic or unique anytime soon as long as pixar is in charge of them!

  • Jonny

    Awesome to see this, thanks for sharing it. I agree. Go to Kickstarter, do a short, and let us back it!!!!! Please!!!

  • Alex Dudley

    Yeesh, I try to stay optimistic with Disney and what they’re doing,but we missed out on some awesome 2D animation.
    I hope some studio out there has the guts to make a 2D animated film. With all the CG animated films coming out, we need some diversity!

  • Lewis

    Weirdly, Pooh was released in Europe in April 2011 but there was absolutely no advertising for it at all. I live in the UK and only discovered when it was opening when I saw a poster for some tie-in books in a newsagent window. One it was out on DVD there were a couple of TV spots for it, but they made it look like a direct to DVD sequel. It does seem like Disney deliberately sabotaged it.

    • http://aaronmannanimation.tumblr.com/ Aaron Mann

      I noticed that on IMDB that international release was still in Europe yet I couldn’t find any One Sheets from over sees that was used in it’s marketing. Yes it was obviously a deliberate sabotage. Pooh was only $30M to make it would have doubled that just in the US alone had it been released on any other weekend other than HP8′s weekend.

  • Steve Ryder

    Some advice from Bakshi…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WApcUBcVMos

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    All this said,
    Nik can and has animated successfully in 3d.
    Drawn is his first love but he is certainly no computerphobe.

  • Andrew G

    Gimme a break. The stock is at an all time high. The studio is producing good films. I can feel your pain about the look but that is changing with shorts like Paperman. The studio is in so much better shape since the day of post Lion King. Its sad that some of the greats like Nick have been let go or more that they were not able to find a place for them. If anything, you should be angry about that… But Iger in my opinion is doing great.

    And in response to the comment that no CGI animator could have expressed the same acting…. I can’t agree either. It’s apples and oranges. The acting comes from the animator not the medium…

  • ScaredAnimator

    What a beautiful well crafted scene. This is in no way to belittle such amazing work but lets break it down?
    It’s has always been a number game with the financing heads and always will be .
    Salary for Nik $2500 a week and that’s a really really low estimate, especially after 25 years ? That was a key breakdown artist salary after Lion King, no foolin.
    $500 dollars for insurance cost for 2 months health, unemployment, disability
    general cost of having someone under the roof add $200.

    So this scene turns out to a very low total of $27,000 ? and will never be seen except for us? Was a scene like this in 3d cheaper to make ?

    I want more 2d animation more then anyone in the world but we have to find a balance with the stupid numbers .

    Nik Please take care and you will be missed .

    • ScaredAnimator

      Correction $20,700 I guess the other 6,300 could be consider ” Hidden cost, Promotion and such ” LOL
      Also I had a executive say ” Make art on your own time! We have a business to run!”

  • Dood

    I think for practical purposes it’s difficult for the same studio to do both hand drawn and computer animation.

    I wish Disney had a model that separated the two, one traditional studio, one computer, designers and storyboard artists, float between the two, animators stay separate. Each studio having the technically skilled artists it needs.

    • TheYanksAreComing

      You mean, like… Disney, over here, and Pixar, over there!?

  • Skv

    I wouldn’t worry. They will be back and so it will hand drawn animation(altough on a tablet not a paper). Everything in art is cyclical. 2D art is too good to be simply discarded by history. it does need right timing to flourish and that time is not there – yet. it will come. If not Disney than someone else.
    Cheer up!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I tell myself that every day Floyd!

  • Josh

    But Disney had their second chance to do 2D features again and they squandered it by doing the same thing they’ve done a million times, Princess movies and Winnie the Pooh.

    Nik is right that hand drawn animated features are a viable art form but I’ll tell you what isn’t: Making the same movies for decades.

    Why keep it alive when you’re bankrupt on ideas?

    The real shame about Disneys 2D department closing is highly skilled animators being layed off. But I’m certain they’re skilled enough to land opportunities elsewhere.

  • CG_Animator

    People seem to be forgetting that Nik is a great CG animator as well as a hand-drawn animator. He did a lot of really great work on ‘Chicken Little’, ‘Robinsons’, ‘Bolt’, and ‘Tangled’. And I don’t think Nik’s Facebook post was intended in ANY way to say that hand-drawn animation is “better” then CG like a lot of people are implying here.

    I think the point he’s making here is that Disney was not taking advantage of the hand-drawn medium which is evident through their last two hand-drawn releases and they’ve screwed over everybody in the process. And I agree with him 100%.

    Like it or not, ‘Wreck-it-Ralph’ was a better and more innovative film then either ‘Princess’ or ‘Pooh’. Not because it was CG per say (although, since it’s set in the video game world, CG is the natural medium for it), but because it has a story that broke out of the typical “Disney movie” mold in a similar way that “Lilo and Stitch” broke the mold when it came out.

    It’s Disney’s own fault that their hand-drawn movies have not done well, pure and simple. And they’re taking it out on their own star animators, many of whom can and have done amazing CG animation as well. If they made a hand-drawn movie as good and as innovative as ‘Wreck-it-Ralph’ and marketed it as well, it would’ve been a hit. Guaranteed.

    Oh yes, “Wreck-it-Ralph” would not have been a “better” movie if it was hand-drawn like a lot of people are implying here. That’s complete and utter bullcrap. It would’ve been the same great movie that it is, just animated differently. This attitude people have that CG animation is somehow inferior to hand-drawn and how CG animators are somehow not artists (even though many of the greatest CG animators come from traditional animation backgrounds… go figure) has gotten incredibly tiresome.

    Reading through these comments and the ones of Facebook, I’m finding a lot of the severely outdated “CG is evil and hand-drawn is the only form of REAL animation” attitude as usual. There is a lot of CG bashing going on here that I think is very unfair to the very talented CG animators, including Nik, who pour their heart and soul into every frame of their work just as much as and hand-drawn animator does.

    There needs to be room for both. And for that to happen, people need to stop focusing so much on what medium is “better” and more how to tell a good story. Get your story working, and it won’t matter how you animate it. This is why storyboarding and animatics are so so important. If it doesn’t work in the storyboard stage, it won’t work in the animation stage, no matter what the medium is.

    Okay, rant is over. *steps off soapbox*

    • Animator

      This is the reply that needs the most attention. Too much of this cg vs 2d crap. I can’t stand it. What is better, paintings or sculptures. Animation is animation. It is not a genre, just like CG or 2D isn’t a genre.

      I wish that people would treat CG/2D with the same regard as the Asia has to story in animation. Animation doesn’t mean “family-story” overthere. It simply means style.

      If I type anymore I will probably delete everything I have already written so i will leave it there.

    • daniel

      CG is still a very new medium compared to hand-drawn animation, and as of now, there aren’t many “artists” working in the pipeline.. True there are more “artists” working in the animation part of CG, but I would have a hard time finding a handful good modelers and riggers that I would consider a “artist”. The problem with CG is that it involves more people to create it’s artistic product, and with more people it involves more egos and politics..

      In my opinion, CG isn’t a lesser art form but it hasn’t attracted the caliber of artists that worked in hand-drawn. The talent level of most modelers and riggers are obviously low in almost every single animation studio here in america. It’s overburden with tons of politics and egos that it’s a miracle that anything of artistic merit comes out the end of that pipeline for you guys to animate with. Just compare the caliber of a Kent Melton sculpture and to the recent models of Croods…

      In my opinion, I really don’t know how talented the CG animators are, because the models and rigs they are given look very underwhelming.. It’s a miracle that any type of performance can be given with them, so some credit is due!

      but compared to the professional hand-drawn animator who “modeled”, “rigged”, and “animated” a performance, the talent level just isn’t there as a group for CG!

      please prove me wrong with a CG film that is animated better then sleeping beauty or lady and the tramp! I really hope for the day it can offer something better or different, but I don’t think that day will pass unless those same modelers and riggers learn how to draw as well as those giants from the past! They are too busy worried about their own egos and careers then to further the CG art form!

      • Anonymous

        It is not the CG animators that chose the style of characters used! They simply create the characters based on the artists vision. To blame the CG animators on the character design of the Croods is simply insulting…

  • Disney Animator

    - With all due respect to Mr. Norman, this “Walt’s dead and you missed it” mentality comes off as cynical, and does little to inspire the next generation of artists, who will be the ones carrying this medium into the future. Wasn’t it Ollie Johnston who felt it was more important to pass the torch, share that knowledge, and encourage the next generation to do greater things than the ones who came before it?

    - This new generation of animators do not despise the 2D animators that came before us, as evidenced from the comments on Nik’s video. We have so much to learn from them, and were as sorry to seem them go as anyone.

    -Regardless of your opinions on corporate Disney, the artists in the hat building DO care about this amazing medium and want to see it continue to grow. Call us idealistic, but the rest is out of our hands.

  • Jen Hurler

    I hope to see more and more independent films, like Andreas Deja working on his own film “Mushka.”

  • Sketchyplace.com

    Bravo Nik!

  • Steven Bowser

    How can Disney be doing this after all that Lasseter said about admiring hand-drawn animation?

  • Jay

    Personally Wreck it Ralph should’ve been 2D. This pencil test, just demonstrated this by far. Also, this pencil test looked waaaaay better than what they showed the public! It felt real and touchable and not rubbery and squishable. I thought the film was “Meh”, but when I saw this pencil test I connected with it better. Disney can do 2D films, they just need to leave the princess and musical stuff alone. Give it try! If it doesn’t work, do it again! They did it before when Fantasia didn’t do well, and made Dumbo to help get back the money. Disney is afraid, I think.

  • truteal

    Meet the new boss, same as the old one (and possibly worse)

  • Floyd Norman

    With all due respect to Disney Animator, I’m not being cynical just realistic. And, I don’t mean to discourage the next generation of animation artists coming up. Hell, I even teach some of them.

    However, consider my perspective. I began my career in the fifties and I’ve watched the company move through changes over several decades. Plus, I’ve gotten to know the company pretty darn well. I think that’s why corporate was initially nervous about my new book. However, I’m not dumb enough to wage war with the big mouse.

    Know this. I love animation and Disney animation in particular. However, this is not a Florentine art studio, rather a mega corporation looking to raise share price.

    • Matthew Koh

      Well can you name one studio that’s more like a Florentine art studio?

  • Cynthia Parker

    As a Disney lover all of my life (59 years), being the only niece of Rowland B. Wilson and an award-winning art teacher for 21 of those years, I am disappointed that Disney is not embracing the 2 different mediums together regularly like Beauty and the Beast, etc. There are those things in life that are not so organic like chandeliers and clocks (great fodder for CGI), as opposed to a mouse wearing a Sherlock Holmes outfit and talking to other mice and animals (great 2D hand drawn images). Sadly, I see this society becoming robotic and android. The bionic beings of yesteryear (The 6 Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman) have now become a reality for the children of today and their imaginations are shrinking, as are their skills for producing anything original, let alone inspiring. No wonder they sit in front of these computerized movies and merely absorb them – they sit together in groups at school and text one another rather than talk. This is the new society and I should get over it according to my IT husband… I say not only NO , but HELL NO! I will fight to use the imaginations that are available to us all in our highly underused brains. PLEASE reconsider some of the values that past generations had about fantasy versus reality in the present and let us find some happy medium.
    ~ Cynthia Wilson-Parker Copling

  • Animator606432

    This is really depressing. Really sad whenever someone talented has to go. By looking at the pencil test, you can tell he was really itching for something to work on. I don’t understand why Disney AND Pixar both need to work exclusively on CG films. At some point, the market is going to get saturated like it did for 2-D films. With this decision not only are 2-D animators going to get fired, but CG animators now have to kill themselves with far to many projects. *look at the amount for upcoming features from Disney and Pixar* Who is really winning with this decision?

  • http://aaronmannanimation.tumblr.com/ Aaron Mann

    ummm…. the idea that Bob Iger just announced at the Annual Stock Holders meeting that Disney will no longer be doing traditional animated movies. Hence why Nik Raneiri just got layed off along with the last 12+ other remaining traditional animators at WDAS.

    • jmahon

      So, Bob Iger is trying to kill animation, then.

      • http://aarontmann.blogspot.com/ Aaron Mann

        Just traditional hand drawn animation at WDAS. And has killed.

  • Matt Norcross

    I am utterly disgusted with most of the comments on here!! Just because Ranieri became one of the nine veterans that were let go (and yes, I’m angry about this news as well) does not mean Disney is done with 2D. Amid Amidi replied to a comment I made on an article regarding a hand-drawn animated Mickey Mouse short Disney released at Annecy last week, and I quote…

    “No one ever said Disney was done with 2D, and judging from the comments, nobody interpreted it that way either. The only thing that was written was that Disney gutted their hand-drawn animation division by getting rid of many veterans, which they did.”

    So I’m optimsitic that they’ll release something traditionally animated sooner or later. It may be later in the decade, but it will happen eventually. People who are on commenting here at Cartoon Brew need to stop being so negative, I’m sure this is not something Amidi or Jerry Beck intended when they founded this website.

  • kelsie

    Lumiere. Be Our Guest.

    is so fabulous

    Best wishes, Nik. I want more.

  • dougtennapel

    Uh, this pencilled animation test is better animation than anything I saw in Wreck It Ralph. Not that there’s a single thing wrong with that movie, but paper drawings flat out demonstrates more talent. It’s like the difference between sculpting Michaelangelo’s David in marble vs. Z-Brush. One just obviously holds more workmanship and amazement than the other medium.

    And Nik’s statement of faith in God at the end was moving. God is good… all the time.