The best thing about animation is you can make any character into anything you dream up. There are basically no limits for what you can create since you are creating the character from scratch. I had small group chat with Renato dos Anjos & Chad Sellers the animators from Zootopia to learn about how they created the characters in the movie. A lot of work went into creating each character and it all started with a trip to Africa.
While in Africa the research team learned about each species that in the movie. They wanted each specie in the movie to have the same characteristics as they do in the wild. As you know there are a lot of different kinds of animal in Zootopia so you can only image how big of a task that was.
“When you animate a mouse, the process is different than when you animate an elephant, so each process had to be studied to figure out how each animal behaves,” said Renato dos Anjos.
One of the animals we take about creating was the Elephant. The elephant, for instance, it’s very different, and there’s not much that you learn from one character that you can use onto another. So, it really became a very complex film from an animative perspective because, you’re constantly having to learn something new, and you can never really use something that you learned on a character onto another, so it made that much more complex.
One thing I never realize was when you animate animals are the size differences. To put it to scale, one giraffe is the same size as 97 mice. So you can image it was hard to make them to size and still fit perfectly into the movie. In the movie you may notice that there is a building with 3 different size doors for each kind of animal to enter and exit. They designed different size houses, transportation and buildings for all the different animals in Zootopia.
Have you ever gotten a restless night’s sleep and you are dreaming or thinking about an upcoming event or something that happened earlier in the day? I have more times than I want to admit. One of my favorite questions was “do you guys ever dream about this stuff? Like, you work on it so much, you’re like, I just dreamt about that.? Renato dos Anjos says “the worst is when you finish, after your shot’s finished, and you’re- oh, it should’ve been different, and then you have to go back. You can’t lay in bed and relax, because it’s really all you think about.” You can’t turn it off…. Chad Sellers says. I am glad I am no the only one with that problem.
Any family pets inspire these characters in any way?
Renato dos Anjos: I have a dog, actually, I use him a lot for references. He’s a black cocker spaniel; he’s too big for a cocker spaniel, and he moves like a bear- this weirdest thing. The way he walks, and he’s always like this with his head down; he’s always waddling around. He’s the cutest, and I, uh, use him a lot for reference a lot, yeah.
Chad Sellers: I have a cat. The weirdest things can, like, inspire you.
How do you guys lock in on the eyes? You know, the eyes tell us so much about, obviously, the character. How do decide, okay, those are the eyes we’re gonna use?
It’s, honestly, it’s performance, and we sort of have to boil it down until we know that everything is in the eyes, which is, which we’ve sort of taken an approach to acting where less is more, because if you’re doing too much with the body, you can’t really focus on the eyes, and that’s where we wanna focus.
Chad: I love, I love Judy Hoff’s- she’s amazing.
Renato: Design wise, one of my favorites is Bogo, he’s incredible. I could watch that guy everyday.
Are there any little insider baseball secrets or jokes in this movie?
Clawhauser has a little hidden Mickey on his cheek.
I learned so much about what really goes into an animated movie. I love Zootopia and all the detail each character has. If you have not seen it, make sure you go buy it when it hits store on June 7th. It’s a great movie that all ages can relate to and appreacite.
Zootopia is coming DVD/Bluray/Digital on June 7!
Visit the official ZOOTOPIA website here – http://movies.disney.com/zootopia
Like Zootopia on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DisneyZootopia
Follow @DisneyAnimation on Twitter – https://twitter.com/disneyanimation
Follow @DisneyAnimation on Instagram – https://twitter.com/disneyanimation