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Breaking Down the Brilliant Way WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT Was Animated

Breaking Down the Brilliant Way WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT Was Animated

There may never be a film that can compare to Who Framed Roger Rabbit in terms of animation. The CGI-filled, green-screen composites of modern movies are essentially realistic animation combined with live-action, but Roger Rabbit was really something special.

A new video by Kaptain Kristian and shared by Gizmodo dives deep into what went into making a film like Who Framed Roger Rabbit so unprecedented, and it has everything to do with detail. In the past, attempts to combine live action and animation worked well enough but there was always something about it that broke the proposed reality of the scenes. More often than not, this actually had to with details we weren’t even consciously noticing.

Turns out that the devil is in the details, and the filmmakers went absolutely nuts with them. For the animators, this meant a massive amount of time spent making sure eyelines met between live action characters and animated ones, as well as keeping perspective in mind when camera angles and actors shifted positions in each scene. The video even includes a memo from animation director Richard Williams to his staff about the importance of eyeline. RogerRabbitEyeLine

Add to that the other flourishes we may have taken for granted like the specialized rigs constructed to compliment the hand-drawn animation with real world consequence. Things like actual lit cigars, a stream of real water, and even the simple interaction with a live-action character’s clothing all help to tie the animated characters to each scene and make a world filled with cartoons seem real.

And no scene represents this enormous attention to detail better than the one that inspired the term “Bumping the Lamp”. Kaptain Kristian breaks down how the sway of the light and the shadows cast in the room were painstakingly added to every frame making Roger feel like he’s with them in the scene. Just imagine how odd that scene would look if Roger were animated as a flat and brightly colored toon with no shading.

We already loved Who Framed Roger Rabbit for so many reasons and now, thanks to Kaptain Kristian, we can look at it with a whole new level of appreciation.

What’s your favorite part of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

Images: Kaptain Kristian | Disney

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