Walt Disney has released a Short Film “Paperman” using a technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques.
First-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with the Oscar®-nominated short, “Paperman.”
Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him.
Created by a small, innovative team working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Paperman” pushes the animation medium in an exciting new direction.
Plot of Paperman
A man is standing on an elevated train platform in 1940s New York City when he is hit by a flying piece of paper. The paper belongs to a beautiful woman who accidentally dropped it as a gust of wind blew it away. The same thing happens to the man when an incoming train dislodges one of his papers and blows it onto the woman’s face, leaving a red lipstick mark on the paper. The man is entranced by the lipstick mark and the woman’s beauty, and therefore misses her departing on the train. The man arrives at work, despondent over the fact that he will never see the woman again. That is, until, he looks out his window and sees the woman at the building across the street. After failing to get her attention by waving his arms, the man uses a stack of contracts to get her attention by turning them into paper airplanes and throwing them into her open window despite repeated warnings from his boss. Unfortunately, his efforts are met with only varying levels of failure. As he uses his last contract, he still hasn’t gotten her attention, and in desperation, he uses the bright red lipstick-marked paper, although this fails as well when he drops it. The woman then leaves her office, and the man follows. Unfortunately, he fails to see which way she went, and heads home in disappointment.
It turns out many of the planes landed in a nearby alley, and when the lipstick paper lands amongst them, they rise from the ground and set off in pursuit of the man and woman. The man is covered in airplanes, and is blown towards a train station by a heavily gusting wind, the airplanes seemingly stuck to him, where he boards a train. Meanwhile, the woman encounters the lipstick airplane, and recognizing it, she follows it to a different train station, boarding a different train. The two are finally brought together, with the airplanes pushing the man out onto the same platform as the woman at a third station where both their trains stop. The two finally meet and as the credits roll, they are seen chatting happily with each other at a restaurant table.
Kahrs said that the idea for the short materialized when he was working as an animator at Blue Sky Studios.
When describing the inspiration for the film’s unique style of animation, which was created with a new in-house technology called Meander, Kahrs stated, “We brought together as best we could the expressiveness of 2D drawing immersed with the stability and dimensionality of CG. It really goes back to working with Glen Keane on Tangled, watching him draw over all the images.
The technique, called “final line advection“, gives the artists and animators a lot more influence and control over the final product as everything is done within the same department; “In Paperman, we didn’t have a cloth department and we didn’t have a hair department. Here, folds in the fabric, hair silhouettes and the like come from of the commited design decision-making that comes with the 2D drawn process. Our animators can change things, actually erase away the CG underlayer if they want, and change the profile of the arm. And they can design all the fabric in that Milt Kahl kind-of way, if they want to.”