Over the past few decades, animation has undoubtedly transitioned to predominantly CG, but does that mean 2D is over? In keeping with Walt’s motto to “keep moving forward” there has been a strong evolution of the artform. Does that mean hand-drawn animation will filter out completely?

Disney Animation: The Power of 2D panel at San Diego Comic-Con dove straight in to address the future of unique art form that is 2D animation. The surprisingly popular panel was made up of five Disney animators who have worked in both 2D and CG animation throughout the past 50 years. Each panelist shared their stories of their experiences and their insight into the future of animation.

Dale Baer

Dale started work in 2D animation and transitioned to 2D today. You can see his work in Meet the Robinsons and various other Disney films. Dale had the privilege to work with 6 of the original ‘9 Old Men.’ Dale noticed transitions within the company, “With advancements in technology, it looked like 2D animation was going to be phased out after Home on the Range.

Eventually, after Meet the Robinson’s, they went back to 2D.” Eventually, 2D and CG started to working together! Tangled was truly the first CG film to really focus on 2D style with “stronger silhouettes and use of change of shape.” One form is not better than the other, they both have pros and cons. Dale admitted that “CG can become very mechanical looking” and animation allows it to be more artistic.

Randy Haycock

Randy is famous for animating male leads in Disney films, including adult Simba, baby Hercules, Naveen in Princess and the Frog. Randy is a huge supporter of the two art forms collaborating and believes it “elevates the level of character” in the films.

After he did a 2D animated test of Ana for Frozen he inspired CG artists to get a clearer vision of this movie’s characters. Randy went to discuss Disney’s much anticipated film, Moana, and his biggest challenge of the film: her hair!

Willie Ito

He started working for Disney in 1954 and is a legend for his work on animating the iconic spaghetti kissing scene from Lady and The Tramp. His decades of experience has given him the knowledge to educate and inspire new animators at Disney.

Michael Polvani

His work includes the iconic ‘Part of Your World’ scene from The Little Mermaid, as well as the movie Iron Giant. Passionate about maintaining 2D animation in the future, Michael is going to great lengths to make a new animation school strictly for 2D!

He believes that the future of animation depends on the successful collaboration of both art forms.

Tom Sito

This sucessful animator has worked on Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. When Tom started at Disney Animation “the most technologically advanced thing we had was an electric pencil sharpener!”

The overall consensus from the animators was 2D animation isn’t going anywhere! The audience was filled with passionate artists, including the classic film animator Floyd Norman (Sleeping Beauty & 101 Dalmations). As long as CG and 2D animators continue to work together, the future of animation will be tremendous!