Sunday, March 8, 2009


About 19 years ago, I saw a terrific Disney animated motion picture. It was called The Rescuers Down Under and was a sequel to the original 1977 animated film, The Rescuers.

The Rescuers down Under is noted for two things. It was the first time Disney had ever produced a sequel to an animated film. And, it was the first full length animated film to be entirely colored (ink and paint) and composited in a computer. You could say that The Rescuers Down Under was was a 100% digital feature film!

Disney and Pixar developed CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) system to digitally ink and paint and handle post production. All the hand animated drawings, backgrounds, etc.were digitized and then loaded into the CAPS system. Animated drawings and backgrounds were then painted and combined with camera moves and pans to create a sense of depth and space. The system was able to easily duplicate camera moves identical to of the older analog Multiplane camera. These digital Multiplane camera moves are used extensively. In addition, 3D computer animation (environments and props) were also used throughout the film. The final result is stunning and quite beautiful.

I mention all this because the system is now pretty much a thing of the past. Linux and other software off the shelf easily replaces this technology. But, the CAPS system was light years ahead and really laid the groundwork for the kinds of computer animation tools in production today.

Do yourself a favor and buy The Rescuers Down Under. It's a wonderful film the whole family will enjoy. And if you're a techno-geek like me, you'll certainly appreciate all the computer digital work seen throughout the film.

Get The Rescuers Down Under, then Get Linux.

No comments: