After Disney had announced 150 job cuts last week, the cuts continue and have hit the animation department.

According to a tweet by former Disney animator Tom Bancroft “Disney have gutted their animation department”. The job cuts have mean that the hand drawn animation department was getting “refined” 9 veteran animators have been given their pink papers. While others have been called in to a meeting to discuss pay cuts!

The Animators that have been given the push are

  • Nik Ranieri, Animator of Roger Rabbit, Ursula, Mother Gothel & Jafar
  • Ruben Aquino, Supervising animator for Eudora and James – The Princess and the Frog, Maurice – Beauty and the Beast & more
  • Frans Vischer, has worked on The Princess and The Frog and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • Russ Edmonds, Animator of Aladdin and supervising animator for Phillipe – Beauty and the Beast & Rico, Willies – Home on the Range
  • Brian Ferguson, Animator of Timon, Meeko and Iago
  • James Lopez, Dr Facilier – Princess and the Frog
  • Dan Tanaka, supervising character lead: “Zazu” &  Paperman (2012) (final line animator)

We’ve highlighted only a few of their known projects although these animators have worked on multiple projects for Disney.
It is a very sad time for the department and pull to attention where the course is set for Disney’s future.

Hand drawn animation has been fazed out in favour for computer animation, but with the release of Princess & the Frog, Disney tried their hand drawn approach again. Personally the hand drawn had a look that even “paperman” doesn’t achieve. The slick smooth graphics churned out from a computer do look amazing and realistic, but in terms of an art form a photo looks better than a sketch. We on the Disney Brit team had hoped the Princess & the Frog animation was the start of the creative art again at Disney.

Prior to this the last hand drawn animation out put by Disney had been outsourced. Enchanted’s 2d animated scenes were created by James Baxter Animation. Does this mean that Disney see this as the future? Using a talent pool outside of the company means that you don’t have the control of your most talented creative team.