Researching Animations

We have been asked to do some research into kids animations that have a ‘Soft’ look to them and are interesting to young children. I want to understand what makes a children’s TV show successful and what was the progress in creating the animation.

Sofia the First

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I found this video below really interesting. They go out to nurseys and childrens groups to talk about the storylines of Sofia the first and ask the children if they like the story and if they can understand what is happening. Since Sofia the first aim of audience is so young, it is important that the story is easy for them to understand, or if its too simple. They can ask them what they like about it or what they don’t like, and if they can think of anything they can change. Not only that, but  these children are young and can be easily distracted/ bored. This way they can get an idea on pace of the narrative.

This next video is talking about the actual character personalities and how they went about designing the key characters. For example with Sofia she is very confident and adventurous. She always wants to try new things. They continuously have to come up with new outfits for almost every episode as she goes on an adventure. They made sure she is kept girly and not a Tom Boy but still very out going and strong.

Doc McStuffin

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Doc McStuffin animation has a similar storyline with a little girl taking care of her animals (although in this case Toys) that she can understand and talk to. It too has a soft animtion to the characters. I think this animation is very girly with lots of pink and purples. I like this idea of have the toys becoming real, which is everything childs dream. All children have an imagination that allows them to see their toys as alive. This would be why this TV show is so appealing to children.

“Dottie “Doc” McStuffins is a nurturing 6-year-old girl who cares for stuffed animals and toys in her playhouse clinic. When she puts on her stethoscope, something magical happens — toys, dolls and stuffed animals come to life and she can communicate with them. Like any good doctor, Doc has assistants helping her at her clinic. Her stuffed animal friends who assist Doc include exceedingly proud dragon Stuffy, cuddly best friend Lambie and caring hippo nurse Hallie. Whether it’s loose stitching, low batteries or a blow-up toy that has sprung a leak, Doc and her friends are there to fix up the stuffed animals and toys.” Reference 

Elena of Avalor

I came across a good article exclusive to OH My DIsney . They interview the creators and artist working on Elena of Avalor and get an inside look on how the animation it created and what sort of work and research has gone into it.

“The first person I spoke to was Craig Gerber, the creator and executive producer of the show, who was also responsible for Sofia the First (the two series share a connection that will be expanded upon in a forthcoming episode, although unlike Sofia, Elena won’t interact with characters from other Disney films). Gerber said that he initially thought about a Latina princess for Sofia the First, before quickly realizing the idea deserved its own series. When I asked why it was set in a magical land, instead of a real-world location, he gave a wonderful response. “What Disney really does well is create fairytale kingdoms,” he explained. “It makes it very inclusive—you don’t have to pick just one nationality. No one really asked if Arendelle was Norway or Sweden, it’s just inspired by a Scandinavian country. The idea for us was that we wanted Avalor to be more broadly accessible.” He added that without tying it to a specific time or place, then the magical world can have a lot more possibilities, both for the story and character.”  Reference

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One of the joys of the project, Bour told me, was being able to reconnect with an old collaborator, who knew exactly how to capture the spirit of the earlier Disney royals, as well as the complexities and color of the Latin culture. “Coming onto this I knew right away that I wanted my art director to be Frank Montagna,” Bour told me. “Frank also started at Disney Florida and he and I had gotten to know each other. Then we didn’t work together for 10 years, but we always kept in touch. I knew similar to me he has a deep love for classic Disney, a deep love for Mary Blair, a deep love for trying to raise the bar for everything that you do for Disney. He came on and immediately it was like yeah we got to do Saludos Amigos and Three Caberollos and Mary Blair and pay homage to them. We talked about the art direction and really brought a 2D feel while it’s in a CG world.” To that end they wanted to “pop the colors.”

And he cites his time with Lasseter as teaching him the importance of really doing the research, to make sure Elena of Avalor felt authentic and true. ”Because everything I worked on with him was always research, research, research. I better make sure I did my research because he would catch you on it,” Bour said. “It was also very important to me to bring on Latin artists because I definitely wanted to get their influences something that I didn’t obviously, I’m not Latin, I did not grow up in the culture. But I knew that bringing on those artists would bring a level of authenticity that maybe we haven’t thought of.”

Bour had a simple mandate for the production: “How do we raise the bar for TV animation? How do we achieve something that feels classically Disney, but for a modern audience?” This, of course, proved incredibly difficult. “It has seriously been hands down one of the hardest, most challenging directing jobs I’ve ever done, but ultimately the most rewarding,” Bour admitted. “I have to say with everything I’ve had in my career I’ve had the most fun and the most satisfaction on this job. Because I love our crew. Craig and I did manage to get a crew of people that are super passionate about the show, super passionate about making Disney’s first Latina princess something special.” Mission: accomplished.

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Here is a great behind the scenes look at how Elena of Avalor was created. It explains how there was so much work involved in the research of this animation to get the Italian theme just right. They looked at real life buildings and culture as well as music before they began the design of this animation .

Paw Patrol

Paw patrol is extremely popular and even has their own very successful merchandise. It is about the adventures of talking pups rescuing those in need. They all have their own roles in the team and show they work together. This show has so many learning qualities for children aswell as appealing aspects like colourful uniforms and transforming vehicles. Who doesnt love a talking puppy?

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“A group of six rescue dogs, led by a tech-savvy boy named Ryder, has adventures in “PAW Patrol.” The heroic pups, who believe “no job is too big, no pup is too small,” work together to protect the community. Among the members of the group are firedog Marshall, police pup Chase, and fearless Skye. All of the animals have special skills, gadgets and vehicles that help them on their rescue missions. Whether rescuing a kitten or saving a train from a rockslide, the PAW Patrol is always up for the challenge while also making sure there’s time for a game or a laugh.” Reference 

 DinoPaws

When we were asked to look at animations that have a soft look I immediatley thought an animation called Dinopaws. It follows the particular dinosaurs that get up to mischief toegther. This animation is 3D and it has a very soft, simplistic style. They use alot of colours on the characters and background to make it more appealing for younger children.

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