Tuesday, October 23, 2007

You Dream About Going Up There....










89 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bitch.

now to stop laughing. It's oh, so true.

Anonymous said...

is this representative? Did everyone forget how to draw like John K says? or do they just not want to work at disney because the crushing or spirit?

C33 said...

Well...you might be being a little harsh there. I don't expect everyone to be a Herb Ryman or John Hench.

And a lot of the other concept art for the ride looked pretty good; the concept here is to make it look good for consumers and the media, not so much to actually design the ride.

I don't think it's fair to judge the quality of the ride (or WDI for that matter) based on this one piece of concept art. Talk is talk, drawings are drawings. The only thing that matters is what gets built out there in Anaheim.

Anonymous said...

this made me laugh really hard.

Anonymous said...

I see what you did there.

John Holdun said...

Haha. Snarky!
I love this.

C33 said...

PS- By the way, I did forget to mention that after all of the promises of never-built LM attractions, 3D ridethroughs with Tony Baxter on DVSs, and story's of how WDW wants one already...

I saw the concept art and went:

"Oh."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the object lesson: Schematic sketches are not concept art. Concept art invites the viewer into the canvas and explore the fantasy. Schematic sketches only show what color the parts are and where they go. -Katella Gate

John said...

ROTFLMAO

True. Thanks, I needed that.

c33 has a point. But Disney needs to be careful about what is released to the public and what's round-filed. I'm sure Marc Davis did more sketches and drawings than the 20-30 we see all the time for the HM and POTC, but those are either carefully archived away or never made it out of his office.

Stuff revealed to the public as part of a promotions campaign (which Disney has made this into for "Second Gate 2.0") need to be carefully crafted to excite potential guests. The Radiator Springs concept art that was revealed isn't exactly a Marc Davis masterpiece either. But at least it conveys a sense of excitement. (Let's not talk about why the ride vehicles don't look like characters from the movie for now.)

Thanks again!

-John
www.thedisneyblog.com

squajo said...

For christ sake hire that girl!

Anonymous said...

I expect Disney concept art to communicate feelings or moods not just the simple idea for the ride.

Cartoon concept art is not acceptable.

Will Robison said...

Granted, its no John Hench or Herb Ryman, but at the same time, it portrays an idea - AN IDEA - not the final product. Think about how many pieces of concept art this project is going to go through before the final product is finished and on-stage. Take one look at a movie's storyboards and then look at the final product and you'll see that the artwork is definitely not indicative of the final look.

Besides, times change and people's artistic tastes change.

And I think Lisa's art looks fantastic!

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with it?

That's actually what the cardboard cut out trees are going to look like.

miklcraw4d said...

Wow. That was a well-crafted joke.

Although I was so taken off-guard that my unchecked guffaw may have betrayed me in my office...

I find it even funnier because I had already thought the same thing when the renderings were released. The Cars and Midway Mania renderings are pure cheese as well.

Back in the day WDI could take even the shoddiest little D-ticket and make it look totally awesome in concept art. Now, the ride seems to come second to showing me the people riding it having *SO MUCH FUN OMG*. Hey, make the ride awesome and I'll take care of the fun-having myself.

So, great gag although the sadness of its truth kinda creeps in after the laugh...

Great to see you guys around - why have things been so quiet?

Richard said...

Avant Garde? I think not. Naive maybe. It goes to show that Esiner still has his hand in things. Even though he's been out for some time... "It's all about the story" and what better why to tell it than through comic book er i mean graphic novel like storyboard illustrations rather than fine art pieces. When will wdi embrace that every artist on staff has their own style. I only hope that we start to see more mind blowing concept art not cookie cutter illustrations. Walt himself supported the notion of what one could really bring to WDI. I mean come on now, does Blair, Davis, Rhyman, Hench etc. all have the same style?!?!?

dean said...

Yes. I'd agree that the Little Mermaid art is more in the realm of concept sketches than the finished artwork portrayed in the other examples. I have to admit that after seeing the wonderful rendering of the Carthay Circle Theater, I was a bit taken back by this particular one.

Even though it doesn't place the viewpoint from the guest's perspective, it does convey an idea of what the ride might be like, perhaps better so than the Car's artwork. Besides, when time approaches the actual opening of the ride, we will be treated to beautiful renderings of magical seashell vehicles "flying" through an elaborately produced attraction. ;)

On a side note, I have always found the Adventure Thru Inner Space series of artwork to be rather unique in the Disney art legacy. Does anyone know who did them??

Scott Tolleson said...

Genius! Genius! Genius! I saw this Mermaid piece on the portal on Monday and responded only with a head shake. It's such a bittersweet experience being employed by the mouse. Love your blog BTW. keep up the sarcasm!

nojarama said...

I think it's quite sad that WDI aren't able to draw with style (or they're just showing us the crappy stuff). Even those of us who couldn't afford Art Center can sketch better than the crap they're showing us these days. I suppose it's due to too many designers choosing to use the computer to "germinate" (thats right I meant to do that) with their ideas. I adore technology & the whole graphics programs on my Mac (for the past 20 years +), but sometimes an idea is best left to pen & paper!

Anonymous said...

Ouch! Pictures do speak louder than words.

/bsdb said...

The definitive Haunted Mansion concept art by Sam McKim. That single painting alone drove my youthful anticipation for the attraction's opening through the roof! And whenever someone utters the phrase, "haunted house," I instantly recall this work.

Fast forward to this year, and TLM's concept art. Oh yeah, I can feel the swell of anticipation for this omnimover attraction. "Oh look. My gate admission Disney Dollars at work."

And notice that the clamshell vehicle on the right is empty. Are they freakin' serious?? What kind of project development team would feature an empty attraction vehicle as part of their concept art? They can't even fake their way through an imaginary 2-hour ride queue in the pitch meetings?

On a side note... which accountaneer was dumb enough to fund this puppy when the designers failed to demonstrate maxed out capacity and subsequent re-ridability of their product? For how many tens of millions if not one hundred million, according to Rasulo's TDA stump speech??

These guys couldn't sell themselves to their own mothers.

StrangeVoices said...

Am I missing something? Explain this to me!


I thought this was concept art, not sales brochures. Somehow I think Little Mermaid is a different type of style than the HM. Personally I think it captures a type of feel. Not everything has to go for realism, expressionism, or flash. Maybe they WANT the ride to have a more illustrative Hallmark fuzzy feel than cool dramatic future feel.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe they WANT the ride to have a more illustrative Hallmark fuzzy feel than cool dramatic future feel."

How about having artwork that has A feeling, not just some robotic coloring book reject. If Disney has seen to release this image publicly, they really do have no taste.

Anonymous said...

I was expecting a bit more for ONE BILLION dollars!

Anonymous said...

In recent years, Disney has lost a lot of their really artistic artists. Much of the talent they have retained over the past several years have been the comic book/graphic novel type. I don't know if it was just because Fitzgerald was a graphic novel fan or that those newer 'artists' were cheaper (coming from intern programs?) than classical rendering style artists like the old Disney masters.

Conceivably, the problems many of the recent attractions, lands and parks have been experiencing could be a result of the proliferation of the “comic book artists” that have been at the core of the creative output at Imagineering. It kind of all makes sense when you think about it. DCA v1.0, Hong Kong, Disney Studio Paris. Some attractions over the past decade have just been lacking in some intangible manner.

While the talent issue is an important aspect of the creative output of Imagineering, the inability of their management to distinguish the problems appears to be a bigger issue. Iger replacing Eisner was a first step, but little improved at Imagineering. Then they merged with Pixar and brought in Lasseter to provide creative guidance, but little changed at Imagineering. Then they finally replaced WDI’s management. But still little has improved at Imagineering.

So, in spite of numerous changes within Disney, the actual creative capabilities don’t seem to have improved significantly.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it....so we are supposed to ride past giant easter eggs? I'm not quite grasping the concept. what's the thing with the ears? is it a thrill ride?

Otter said...

The "virtual" Little Mermaid ride on the DVD was cute, but at its heart, another rather dull omnimover. It doesn't need to be built, if for no other reason than it's 10 years too late at least.

Ted said...

To anonymous above,
you site DCA v1.0, Hong Kong (which is a beautiful park, lacking in attractions) and Studios Paris, BUT the same guys designed Tokyo Disney Sea, Disneyland Paris, WestCot, and the Disney Sea project for Long Beach.
It's not the designers, it's the guys who hold the purse strings.

Anonymous said...

I was just commenting to someone not 12 hours ago, that even though I've seen some great pieces of concept art for DCA, Disney seems to have only touted the same 5 pieces- mostly pencil sketches with some digital color. But I think it should be clarified that this is not the only art being done nowadays- it's simply one kind. The problem is not with the art that's being done, it's with what art is being selected to show the public. There is a great exterior painting of the Mermaid building that would be much more analogous to the Sam McKim Mansion painting. That mermaid sketch that keeps being shown would be more appropriately compared to some of the Ken Anderson scene sketches for HM, quick and simple but effective. They're not supposed to set mood or get us excited so much as they are instrumental in working out layout.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know how to use paint and brushes anymore? There's nothing better to draw a viewer in and get excited about a new attraction than a scribbly drawing colored in photoshop with the airbrush tool. And what's with the scribbles to all sides of the art? Doesn't someone know how to use the eraser tool? ;)
It's going to be great when Disney publishes the concept illustrations they produce today in a book along side concept illustrations from the past.
I'm sure when these are painted on plywood in final execution (Or maybe they can glue giant, pixelly print outs to the plywood! Hey, it'll be dark, you wont notice the difference)It'll look swell.

Anonymous said...

This seems like a cheap shot by re-imagineering and others.
The art looks like what used to be called concept art, and probably done quickly.
Some of the detailed art like of the Haunted Mansion was not done as concept art, but as art for finished posters.
Whoever put this article up ought to really verify what the art was created for.
If you were in the news business you would be racked over coals for not attributing everything properly.

Anonymous said...

Has a bit of Peter Pan's Flight feel to it...

george

Adam said...

Calling something "concept" or "schematic" is no excuse for poor, unappealing art! From your corporate ivory towers, this may look fine. In reality, it's crap. Stop looking at things with your predefined ideals, and look at that drawing for what it really is: nothing to get excited about.

Anonymous said...

"ted said...
To anonymous above, 
you site DCA v1.0, Hong Kong (which is a beautiful park, lacking in attractions) and Studios Paris, BUT the same guys designed Tokyo Disney Sea, Disneyland Paris, WestCot, and the Disney Sea project for Long Beach.
It's not the designers, it's the guys who hold the purse strings."


Imagineering has numerous artists, designers and other creative talent that are picked to be on particular projects. In recent years, there has been political control over who works on what projects. Some groups have their favored artists and they work almost exclusively for those groups.

All of the various parks (WDW, DL/DCA, HK, DLP) have their own overall creative management, so projects for those parks will pull the talent they want to work on them.

So, obviously, Tokyo DisneySea and Disneyland Paris had some top-notch creative talent that were able to provide the level of creative excellence that was required to produce outstanding results.

Those working on DCA, Hong Kong and Disney Studio Paris didn’t. Even individual attractions can suffer if they get the wrong talent for support.

Of course, budgets also make a big difference in the results. But it’s the overall combination of proper budget, excellent creative leadership/management and outstanding artists/writers/ designers/etc. that will result in successful results.

So, for the most part, if the budget is there (questionable even in the current situation), crap can result if true creative artistic and design talent isn’t there. Half of what they have shown for the DCA upgrade falls into the poor concept/design category while the other half looks to be well thought out and designed.

Anonymous said...

Earlier Anonymous above ^^

Some of Imagineering’s current artists are well versed on paint and brush, as seen on some of the outstanding renderings they have shown. Some of those paint & brush artists are also versed in computer art and are able to apply the same techniques there. Even John Hench was adept at Photoshop I believe.

Then again, I believe that some of the newer artists they have aren’t at all familiar with paint & brush. Some have been on the computer their entire careers and have essentially developed most of their portfolio based on graphic novel type artwork. Unfortunately, some of Imagineering’s creative leadership seem to be captivated by that ‘hip and edgy’ style. Of course, we have seen how some of Disney’s attempts at harnessing ‘hip and edgy’ have turned out over the past several years.

Anyway, just from the artwork being presented, you can get an idea of the creativity you can expect from this upcoming DCA enhancement.

Anonymous said...

Do we get to kill the bunnies and shoot at the butterflies as we ride in the giant Easter Eggs? Because that would probably be more fun than MIDWAY MANIA, at least.

jacob said...

fantastic. very well put.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps showing us the original concept art from Peter Pan or Snow White would be more appropriate?

But then, snarky commentary might be impossible if art from similarly-styled dark rides were used, eh?

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, that's exactly what the fantasyland dark rides looked like. I don't see what the problem is. It's supposed to be a cartoon.

I thought this was "REimagineering", not "critisize the imagineers before they even build the ride".

Digital Jedi said...

I think most everyone is missing the point here. What I gleaned from the post was that there's a purpose behind concept art. To get the public ready for the real thing. To inspire them to want to see the finished product. To promulgate to the imagination of both young AND old.

There's nothing wrong with the piece in of itself. It's not drawn poorly. No one said it was. What's wrong is it doesn't do its job. It would have been fine as part of a guide map or even as a companion piece to something else. But by itself, it doesn't do anything more then make you say "Yup, that's a ride alright."

StrangeVoices said...

No, that's NOT the job of concept art. That's the job of marketing. I thought we were supposed to be moving away from cross marketing and back into designing. Concept art is just that - to develop a concept, a feel, a style. The last thing I want to see is Imagineering focusing on sales pieces instead of focusing on designing rides.

Anonymous said...

John said...
" I'm sure Marc Davis did more sketches and drawings than the 20-30 we see all the time for the HM and POTC, but those are either carefully archived away or never made it out of his office."

I recently spent an entire afternoon with the beautiful and talented Alice Davis at her home, poring over binder after binder after binder of all the unused concept sketches Marc did for his various attractions (photocopies, of course; Disney has all the originals--maybe they'll do a display of the unused concept art in the Disney Galler--oops, too late).

Suffice it to say that, although I imagine Marc drew a clunker here and there, each and every one of the hundreds of pieces of art I saw were amazing, and they could've built 10 more of each attraction without sacrificing an ounce of quality, creativity, or originality.

Regardless of what classification this piece is given--concept, drawing, schematic, etc.--it doesn't give the viewer that hushed, excited sense of, "gee, I can't WAIT to be there," or "wow, don't you wish they'd built THAT?" that one got from seeing the truly visionary pieces by Ryman, Hench, Blair, etc. It looks more like something that may start out looking like the Pooh ride and get dumbed down from there.

As a longtime Disney fan, a sometimes Disney employee (I sang in a couple of the films), and just as a fellow resident of a world that is more in need of magic than ever, I beg you: please raise your standards as high as you can, and then outdo yourselves. Continue to make me (and us) be in awe of you.

Digital Jedi said...

StrangeVoices said:
>>>No, that's NOT the job of concept art. That's the job of marketing. I thought we were supposed to be moving away from cross marketing and back into designing. Concept art is just that - to develop a concept, a feel, a style. The last thing I want to see is Imagineering focusing on sales pieces instead of focusing on designing rides.<<<

If that's the case, then it's failed at that, too. As I said before, the nature of this drawing does no more then to say it's a ride. It does nothing to convey the feel of a world, or universe or even a hint of what the experience is going to be like.

Oh, and your mistaken if you think it's the job of Marketing alone to inspire the public to want to see the finished product and to promulgate to the imagination of both young AND old. That's should be everyone's job, from "Blue Sky" up. Your confusing sales pitches with the creator's devotion to the project.

Mr Wiggins said...

I saw the Mermaid attraction artwork on another web site some days ago. It about broke my heart. There is so much of basic technique and showmanship absent from it. But that's not what makes me sad. I'm sad for the artist who created it -- I believe all of us in this business give it the best shot we can, as we understand it. I'm sad for the management who okayed it -- their standards are reflected in its concept, staging and execution. But most of all I'm sad for the Disney park audience, which -- again -- is being sold less than the best, and told it is great.

Anonymous said...

LOL Now that's hysterical.

Anonymous said...

The California Outdoor Experience.

Three large "bunny-movers", similar in scale to the Universe of Energy theaters, are placed outdoors. While we call them "movers" in fact, they are motionless and slightly tilted towards the sky.

A large cardboard cutout of a bunny tells the guests to experience the great California outdoors.

Guests sit in the bunny-movers and watch the beautiful California sky. Butterflies are not guaranteed. To enhance the experience, there is no music or narration.

Guests debark having fully experienced the California outdoors.

Love the concept art and I especially appreciate how Lisa filled every available space in the three theaters with guests. Do the different colors represent different profit segments?

Anonymous said...

This whole cartton art vs fine art argument is so dumb. If you go back and look, the first three "legendary" are very much cartoon art. Marc Davis' Pirate pen and ink work could very much be out of a graphic novel, and the Monsanto art looks like something that could have been on the box of a "Hot Wheels" racing set. Sam's HM painting is not fine art in the traditional sense either, while it is painterly, it is still embellishment of an ink sketch. There are graphic novels that approach fine art in themselves and are far better artistically than any of the top three examples. I agree the artistic side has slid at WDI as it has in the commercial art world in general, you could have least made your point with a Ryman!

Anonymous said...

Since this is a site for professionals, it might be nice to see some of you post your own concept art so we can all see what a masterpiece really is...

Anonymous said...

"Some of Imagineering’s current artists are well versed on paint and brush, as seen on some of the outstanding renderings they have shown. Some of those paint & brush artists are also versed in computer art and are able to apply the same techniques there. Even John Hench was adept at Photoshop I believe."

This comment and those following are missing the single biggest fact shown in the images above: STORYTELLING.

Even a Marc Davis clunker (and I've spent more than a few days with Marc and Alice) was telling a STORY or a very clear idea. This isn't just from his skills as an artist, but his skills as a film maker and storyteller, the single biggest thing lacking at Imagineering.

There is a sight called "conceptart.org," a well meaning and highly trafficked site.

Lots of skill at painting both traditional and digital.

But there are very few ideas, aka "concepts," on display. Just recycled pulp covers and fantasy art (with little fantasy).

Film makers like Bruno Bozzetto and Don Hertzfeldt have made entire careers out of expressing ideas in the simplist of forms--communicating clearly with an audience.

THAT is what is missing.

The mermaid art is crap, and uninspired and uninspiring. But NOT because of the skill. I've seen worse.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above ^^^

I totally agree. While even the “graphic novel” artists may have skills, their concepts for attractions have often been lacking. And I indicated that in my post above (which you quoted from) though probably not very well.

The artwork for The Little Mermaid is just one of those artists taking a scene from the DVD version and interpreting it with an Omnimover type ride track through it. It doesn’t convey any sort of significant experience that is in any way enticing. Even viewing the entire original layout of all six scenes is a letdown as an overall dark ride experience.

The artwork just doesn’t bear out their claims that “Guests dive into the magnificent scenes and magical songs of the movie”. They may be moving through the scenes with the film’s songs, but the magical part would be the ride system that was shown on the DVD where you actually DO dive from one scene to another.

I think THAT’s where the skilled concept art really shines, when the artist can convey the magic and highlight those elements that make an attraction extraordinary. And, as that art is intrinsic in the actual development of the attraction, for great ideas to be carried through the entire project requires the inspiration that outstanding concept art can convey.

Anonymous said...

This just released!

To celebrate its 20th Anniversary, the Walt Disney Company has decided to open a Little Mermaid dark ride attraction. (Better late than never)

David H
I just couldn't resist.

Anonymous said...

"Do we get to kill the bunnies and shoot at the butterflies as we ride in the giant Easter Eggs? Because that would probably be more fun than MIDWAY MANIA, at least."

Actually NO, in its latest effort at eco-education along with a bit of Synergy with B.A.S.S. (A Part of the Magic of TWDC), we'll have fishing rods and bait in the clam shells. However, its stricktly catch and release unless you're having dinner at the restaurant buildt into the attraction a la The Coral Reef & Mexican Pavillioni. In that case, you'll be charged $30 for the fish that you catch, in addition to the $70 just to enter the park. But, I wouldn't worry too much about it all given that you probably wont be getting a Priority Seating because the Disney Dinning Plan guests have all sucked them up 90 days before you even came down.

Would anyone like an additional serving of sarcasm? Its the catch of the day.

Chris said...

Conceptart.org features incredibly talented artists who get paid an awful lot of money by video game and movie companies. Most of their "ideas" are still under Non-Disclosure Agreements but the quality of art that is on display is far superior to what has been released by WDI recently.

As an aspiring concept artist myself, I have found that WDI is the most mysterious of the places to work in the commercial art industry. Few know anything about it, let alone how to get an interview. The only thing anyone recommends is "to go to Art Center or CalArts". Maybe if WDI stocked its stable of artists from a more diverse pool of talent like game companies do, their conceptual stuff (and end product) would capture the same emotions that the old stuff did.

Anonymous said...

Theme park attractions are very expensive. Sometimes money spent on concept art is money well spent, other times, it is money wasted. I know, I used to be a WDI employee.
What I want to know from all you armchair second guessers is which would you rather have?
Beautiful concept art or a great attraction.
Me I want a great attraction.
Nice concept art would be nice, but if having an artist spend a month on a painting is where you want your money spent...then go work in a museum.

Anonymous said...

"Conceptart.org features incredibly talented artists who get paid an awful lot of money by video game and movie companies. Most of their "ideas" are still under Non-Disclosure Agreements but the quality of art that is on display is far superior to what has been released by WDI recently."

Technically, I suppose a few of the concept.org artists are more skilled with a brush. But less than 1% have any good ideas based on anything I've seen in my years in the industry. Being a "concept artist (a very overused term()" means NOTHING if they don't know how to implement an idea. That's why there are so many BAD ones.
And they're overpaid.

Anonymous said...

All I see from my armchair is another poorly executed omnimover ride. Oooh clamshells...

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but it seems somewhat cruel that employees of WDI are criticizing another employee of WDI on a public website.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Are you criticizing the artist for poor workmanship? Are you saying drawings like this aren't a legitimate part of concept development? Are you mocking Marketing for picking the exact wrong picture to use in the campaign? Is this some post-post-Modernist commentary on the recent history of the US Presidency?

mr wiggins said...

>>>What I want to know from all you armchair second guessers is which would you rather have? Beautiful concept art or a great attraction.<<<

Wrong choices. What I want from WDI is the same thing I want from WDA, namely, A+ storytelling in everything that gets released to the public. The rendering is irrelevant -- it can be Sharpie scribbles on a notepad or a full-on painting. But if it doesn't tell a story that jumps off the page and grabs your heart, it's useless.

Where Mouse management misses, as do many of the posters to this column, is in thinking that surface eyecandy is what's important. Sorry, folks, what the Mermaid concept art tells me is that just like at WDA, John or no, the joint's still lousy with managers who don't know how to read a drawing. Feh.

Anonymous said...

Is this the first time Re-imagineering has said a fellow imagineer is terrible? Wouldn't talking to him or her be a better solution than this public railing?

Anonymous said...

Um...this is the first time I have to disagree with reimagineering. There was some garbage concept art back than too and there are tons of great concept art pieces for the DCA revamp including better pics of Little Mermaid.

This is a bad example.

Digital Jedi said...

Disagree with what? So far the authors haven't even verified all the speculation we're making about this post. All they really did was post five pictures and then leave it to us to ascertain the meaning. Most of you went south before it even started. But it's not a bad picture. It just doesn't have the effectiveness it should have. Realistic, comic, caricature, the art style is IRRELEVANT. As an artist myself, I know for a fact that you can evoke the same feeling and emotion from any art style. The effectiveness is what appears to be at issue here. And yes, the little things do add up, especially if you pretend there's nothing wrong.

dan_steinberg said...

I really don't have a problem with the Little Mermaid ride drawing. It's fine for what it was probably intended for: storyboarding the ride, pitching it to management, or other planning or design purposes. For that, it's fine.

But I have a *huge* problem with whoever decided to show this to the public! It looks like they took whatever was available rather than spend a few extra bucks to do a real nice piece of art designed to convey some excitement or emotion or atmosphere about this attraction.

Being a marketing guy, I have to wonder what squirrel-brain approved this. You won't even consider putting a blueprint or schematic diagram for your product in your brochure or using a storyboard sketch for your movie's theater poster. And yet somebody thought this would be a good way to sell the public on this new ride? Let's just hope somebody smarter is designing the actual attraction...

Chris said...

Agreed that it isn't the Little Mermaid ride picture itself that's the problem because I'm sure that it has its purpose, but that is NOT what should be shown to make people want to LIVE in the Little Mermaid story.

If you notice one huge difference between that and the other images posted is the mechanics are clear as day, and you immediately recognize that it's an omnimover style ride-through and you're in a clamshell with several other clamshells. This completely destroys any kind of mystery or the feeling of personal discovery about the attraction, it's just there, no secrets, no surprises, no personal connection can be made to the image.

It's a picture of a ride system with a few scenery elements thrown in.

Mr Wiggins said...

>>>Are you criticizing the artist for poor workmanship?<<<

Nope. My 32-years-in-animation bloodshot eyeballs tell me this artist did his or her best on the piece, or if not, damn close to it.

Pencils or plasticine, it doesn't matter what medium -- a professional artist gives whatever work they're doing for you their best shot,

limited only by their talent, their training, and whatever direction or mis-direction and inspiration or dis-inspiration you've given

them.

Look, you take a John Hench and work him a month or a year or a half century under a Walt Disney and you'll get a certain quality of

visual storytelling. Take the same artist and work him for the same length of time under Those Remnants of Mikey Who Shall Remain Idiots,

and there ain't a chance in hell you'll get the same storytelling. Same deal for the sensibilities of those who hire the artists in the

first place (hey, who reviews portfolios and does the hiring in your department, hmm?), and those who select which of the artists' works

gets pitched to the public.


>>>Are you saying drawings like this aren't a legitimate part of concept development? ?<<<

They are totally legitimate -- in house. That this particular Mermaid piece is dullass storytelling isn't the point. The point is how the

hell anyone in charge of deciding what goes out to the public would want to use it as presentation material.


>>>Are you mocking Marketing for picking the exact wrong picture to use in the campaign?<<<

You bet yer Blackwing. Let's see, could it be that their standards are so skewed they think the Mermaid piece is public presentation

quality? Might it be that some folks lower on the ladder know it isn't, and are saying so, but aren't being listened to? Golly, which

Disney departments have we seen display that sort of pattern in the last 10 years -- or rather, name me one that hasn't. (And if you think

Mikey's departure and John's arrival has cleaned out all the bastions of that kind of thinking, I want some of what you're smoking.)

You see lame storytelling coming out of the studio? Start looking at the folks who manage the studio.

End of rant.

Mr Wiggins said...

One more downside to using work like this in public presentation -- it sends a message to everyone in house that this is the kind of stuff management values. Ever wonder why top talent leaves and lesser talent rises? You're looking at it.

Anonymous said...

anonymous earlier ^^^ said...
"Is this the first time Re-imagineering has said a fellow imagineer is terrible? Wouldn't talking to him or her be a better solution than this public railing?"

I would imagine that when you’re dealing with the politics within that organization, there is little that can be communicated to certain people unless you are in a position of power. That’s why the management issues have such an impact on the creative bottom line. If management is incapable of discerning creative shortcomings, they certainly can’t take to correct it.

tony said...

Lisa's concept art is pretty good. That bunny looks really afraid.

Anonymous said...

This is sad, just sad. I miss the day's when I USED to get excited about something new coming to Disneyland . . . now I just roll my eyes and hope it's the new isn't replacing something old I like. Examples, Rocked Rods minus The People Mover, Winnie the Poo minus The Country Bear Jamboree, Astro Blaster minus Circlevision 360, Inovations minus America Sings . . . the list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at some of the Epcot concept art - specifically the image of Spaceship Earth surrounded by a variety of people walking along

Such as the one here:
http://imagineering.themedattractions.com/node/4

Or this article about the Epcot that could have been...
http://jimhillmedia.com/blogs/jim_hill/archive/2006/06/06/2772.aspx

The art is about creating a feeling, inspiring the imagination, not about the logistics. In a sense, its like good porn which NEVER actually shows body parts but leaves it all up to the imagination.

/bsdb said...

In a sense, its like good porn which NEVER actually shows body parts but leaves it all up to the imagination.

Porn and Imagineering. I knew this day would come.

And golly gee whiz... it's also comment 69.

I think this thread is just about spent.

Anonymous said...

HEY! But the porn comment is entirely true when it comes to Disney concept art. I remember utterly drooling over the annual reports when a new park or attraction had been announced. When I worked in Team Disney (Orlando), I had the Aquasphere art from TDS as my desktop background.

Frankly, and to the point of this specific post, the Little Mermaid art is the equivalent of a really bad Nickelodean cartoon series - utterly forgetable.

David H

tony said...

That, is very funny.

Anonymous said...

But there aren't very many really bad Nickelodeon cartoon series. Sponge Bob would have been a great Disney cartoon tv series...but they can't seem to get out of either their past...or making series out of movies.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's kind of harsh. The ride mechanism sort of has to be shown, as otherwise it just becomes Little Mermaid fan art. We don't need to be sold on the Little Mermaid world, just informed o current ride plans. Comparing a quick piece of a adaptation to art that literally had to create worlds and calling it no better than a six year old's drawing is going a tad too far and out of proportion.

Maybe it isn't the best choice, but it gets the point across and is just the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

>>The ride mechanism sort of has to be shown, as otherwise it just becomes Little Mermaid fan art. We don't need to be sold on the Little Mermaid world, just informed o current ride plans.

Which would you rather see - a train from Space Mountain seemingly flying through space twisting and turning with happy, smiling faces...with maybe some terror or the wheel assembly down below showing the 4 x 2 x 2 wheels, the brake fins and the onboard sensors? If its all about the ride vehicle, why spend money on hiding it or heavily theming it (Indy/Dinosaur/Spider Man)? Ever have the chance to see Joe Rohde pitch an attraction? No idea as to where he falls in the grand scheme of old school Imagineers versus shirt & tie Idioteers*, but the interviews that I've seen of him has him exuding excitement like a volcanic erruption. Concept art is all about pumping you up, stirring up the excitement and the anticipating of what this New, Great, ride is going to be like. Its about SELLING the CONCEPT not about informing. Who the hell wants to know that the ride system for Test Track is a prototype next-generation PCL application custom written for it? Or that the Yeti in Everest is as far removed technologically from a Tiki Bird as we are from an ameoba(sp?)? We don't - we just care that we're having the s**t scared out of us!

David H

*Couldn't resist.

Anonymous said...

is this a web log or an oil painting?
why no updates?

Joanna said...

Oh dear, handbags at dawn, I feel.

I'm sure you are a much more talented artist, and could do so much better than this poor soul you've chosen to pick on, but there's no need to be so bitchy! This was designed to convey an idea; it has done so, end of story.

Normally, I agree with what this blog has to say, but now you're just going looking for something to whinge about. Suck it up, and get on with it.

Anonymous said...

If I were to influence Disney's Imagineering at all, I would suggest A monorail stop in California Adventures, adjacent to Monsters INC. ride, a micro Cocacola botteling plant at the current refreshment stand to the right of Monsters INC., in the Hollywood recreation a "Red Car Trolley" that goes from the entry of the Hollywood to the Hollywood Tower of Terror. Finally I would connect via pedestrian bridge that part of the park to the Bugs Life area, to allow for better pedestrian flow through the park.

Digital Jedi said...

Joanna, your reading in insinuations, attributing insults where none were given. The blog post showed 3 pictures. It is presumed that each one is part of a class of pictures that is to serve a specific function. I think it would be up to the readers to decide whether the 4th lives up the precedent of the previous 3, or is more akin to the simplicity and randomness of the of the 5th. Which one serves the function it's supposed to?

It's not an insult. It's an indication of yet another small thing that should be worked on. Which is seemingly a fundamental part of this blog, citing little details that are symptomatic of larger problems. The insinuation is not that the art or the art style is bad. I think the post is asking you to seriously consider something far more important. Is the precedent set by this set of photos that the art work is to merely "convey an idea", or is supposed to do more then that? After all, "it's good enough" is not good enough when it comes to this particular company. And that's what this blog and others have been trying to say all along.

Anonymous said...

"This was designed to convey an idea; it has done so, end of story. "

WHAT, pray tell, is the "idea?"

The concepts for Pirates, Adventures through Inner Space, and Haunted Mansion hint, imaginatively, at the POSSIBILITIES, with mood and character.

The Mermaid concept recreates a scene from the movie. Yawn. I'll rent the movie; it's entertainment and communication skills are superior.

Mr Wiggins said...

Hang on to yer Sharpies, guys n' gals, it gets better...

http://jimhillmedia.com/blogs/jim_hill/archive/2007/11/26/monday-mouse-watch-is-there-really-such-a-thing-as-putting-too-much-walt-into-a-disney-theme-park.aspx

(Scroll down to the 3rd piece of artwork.)

Anonymous said...

>>>>The Mermaid concept recreates a scene from the movie. Yawn. I'll rent the movie; it's entertainment and communication skills are superior.

If it's based on a movie then everyone is obviously going to know what it looks like. There's some concept art for Snow White's Scary Adventures where the Queen is holding an apple over a cauldron. Is that a yawn also just because it's a movie? Try looking at the Littler mermaid concept art in the context that you've never seen the movie... Disney has cleverly left all notions of an actual Mermaid out of the picture and has crafted a romance scene. For people that have never seen the movie, this picture will get them interested in whatever story the new ride will have to offer.

Anonymous said...

Hang on to yer Sharpies, guys n' gals, it gets better...

A small improvement over the one in this post, but it still inspires no excitement. Plus the rider looks like she hasn't gotten a new hairstyle since "The Little Mermaid" was in theaters.

Oh, and it's December. Time for something new.

Anonymous said...

Let's do a daily count.

Now it's December 3, still nothing new on this website....

Shiraz said...

...But that is a BIG mistake!

(What? No one thought of that?) :)

Mr Banks said...

Yes, indeed, the title of this entry was chosen specifically to underscore the following line from that tune. I trust readers of this blog are intelligent enough to get the reference. Thanks for pointing it out!

dave ensign said...

I like the "shaky" lines around the ride vehicles. Are they vibrating or did the hack who drew this spend too much copying comic strip cliches? What's going on in those ride vehicles anyway??!

Gina Draker Studio said...

Evolution or Intelligent Design?
Hmmm....

Anonymous said...

You should know that that little sketch is really part of a larger fun map of the ride...it was never drawn to stand alone. Take 1 square inch of a Sam Mckim drawing, and blow it up and you will get the same effect.