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Animation Technique of Fantasia

Walt Disney's 1939 animated feature Fantasia was a marriage of music and animation that drew upon all of the animation techniques in use at the time and that extended the range of the animated film to a great degree. Fantasia would also be a highly influential film, though it was not widely imitated as a feature film because of the cost and the uncertainty about whether commercial audiences would pay to see other animated films of this type. Classical music, after all, was not widely popular in the way other forms of music were then or now, and Fantasia had the advantage of being unique in its time. The most openly imitative feature to follow would come some time later with Allegro non Troppo by Italian animator Bruno Bozzetto in 1976. What was most influential about Fantasia and what would be imitated most by other filmmakers were some of the animation techniques, from the expressionistic sequences that open the film to the narrative use of music in the "Sorceror's Apprentice" and to the mixture of live action and animation that had been explored by other filmmakers before, though not in this way.

Deems Taylor introduces the film and explains the way music will be used throughout. He also explains that the film will begin with impressions of the orchestra, as indeed it does, animating shadows with different levels of tone and color to evoke a sense of the orchestra rather than the orchestra itself, with one segment of the orchestra overlaid on other sections, with expressionistic lighting highlighting an instrument here, or outlining the conductor in a blaze of red there. The effect is to gain a feeling for the movement of the orchestra and the movement of the music at one and the same time.

This is carried through in more abstract form with splashes of light across the sky, each line of light representing the movement of a bow across strings in the string section, followed by impressionistic images of the instruments i...

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Animation Technique of Fantasia. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 06:10, July 04, 2022, from