Veteran Animator Glen Keane on His ‘Duet’ With GoogleI krane at Disney for nearly 40 years when something like a bell went glen keane duet. I had dinner with a couple of buddies. Glen keane duet was telling me about - this was after Steroids given after brain surgery left Disney - something they were doing up at Google. These are all things I wanted to try, Durt had no idea it was going to be this…boundary-less world of animation. The animation can be viewed on YouTube at http: Did you know Mia and Tosh would have this separation or did that come later?
Duet ( film) - Wikipedia
I was at Disney for nearly 40 years when something like a bell went off. I had dinner with a couple of buddies. One was telling me about - this was after I left Disney - something they were doing up at Google.
These are all things I wanted to try, I had no idea it was going to be this…boundary-less world of animation. The animation can be viewed on YouTube at http: Did you know Mia and Tosh would have this separation or did that come later? No one had done hand-drawn animation in that kind of environment before.
How do you work the timing, how do you work the pacing when both characters are moving at different speeds?
How do you predict it? What if the audience decides they just want to look at this other character? Am I going to lose this story? I had this real fear of people feeling unfulfilled, the story broke for them because they made [the wrong] choice. There was a real sense of responsibility. The will of the viewer was constantly on my mind; I never had that sense [when I was working in conventional animation].
If I was animating Tosh running over here and little Mia was over there, there was a certain point I could feel in my gut: I figured they were going to go over and see her. I allowed for moments when you would go and discover the other character. My own family enters largely into my work. We had two little grandchildren just born, baby boys. There was a lot of crawling around the floor at that time, so I was animating them, filming them, drawing them - a lot of baby bottoms.
I knew the feeling of holding those babies. To me I was animating a lot of my own self in the boy. I love nature; I loved to climb rocks in Arizona when I was a boy.
I wish there was waterfall but that was very much me. Mia was a girl who - I always had flying dreams. I always figured ballerinas wanted to fly. The whole idea was to animate something that anyone in the world - no matter who you were - could relate to the experience of the character. It was all on paper. That would really help you, but what about me?! I had a schedule, I had to get this done, but learning at a whole different rhythm at the same time.
The way they solved it was just the click of a metronome - 24, [Glen snaps his fingers] 24 [snap], 24 [snap]…I just needed to think 60, …. I downloaded a metronome app. That really helped me leap over into that next realm.
Now I think in terms of I like the idea I have more drawings to describe [movement]. Yes, Sarah Airriess was my assistant. I knew her at Disney and asked her to work with me. She was ready to leave Disney and move to London. We searched everywhere for the right pencil. It was important because it had to be an expressive line. You put something down and you feel it - that energy is there. My son Max who is the production designer really knew and valued the line, my drawing over the years [as did] my daughter Claire, who also did the color on the film.
Yes, and it was all on paper. We searched everywhere for a pencil that had that soft quality. Every time I found a pencil that I liked at Disney over the years, the manufacturer would stop making them the way I liked, they found cheaper ways to make them and they became shaly.
Gennie Rim , my producer found the best pencil imaginable in Japan - a Mitsubishi pencil, which apparently Miyazaki uses as well. I see it as [travelling] from my heart to the pencil to that line. I remember having a conversation with Eric Larson. I have a feeling here. What does it mean when you point here? Was everything locked into this virtual space?
This was more like a visual poem, and there was a lot of freedom of space. I would need to consider the other character was moving the other way. But I found myself with an enormous amount of freedom, because if we needed to stretch some space we could fly elements [about]. But all the backgrounds are drawn on the same paper as the characters. They had an energy.
Did that enter your mind? I was aware of any three-dimensional work I had seen. What hit me though was how important the story is and not to lose the story thread; we had to think differently about the story.
Instead of linear, with the story here [Glen points to a space directly in front of him], here [his hand moves sideways a distance] and ending there [his hand moves further over] , this was two spiral staircases.
I thought of it very clearly as a double helix that you could hop from one story to the next. Both characters were living their own lives, but they could intersect — you could hop from one and follow the other one for a while, but you never could, if the spiral staircase was here, leap from this point down to that point on the other one.
Tosh was a name, I searched everywhere for what was a good name. Someone who had visited a Japanese friend of mine in Paris named Yoshi sent me an Email. Mia was a name that felt like it could be any culture, anywhere. I just wanted her to be a universal girl. You talked before about line being an extension of your heart. Was that part of your decision to move on, you saw that CGI was taking over Disney and Hollywood animation?
Any time I see technology cross my path it forces me to be a better artist. My experience on Tangled was trying to bring a drawing sensibility into it. My portfolio was sent accidently to the school of animation at CalArts, but I wanted to get into the school of painting.
I felt like computer animation had already been around long enough to feel stodgy. This idea of a virtual world is really fascinating to me. I have some ideas that are longer form. I think it would be interesting to take the things I learned from Duet and do a longer form story.
I wonder about that, developing stories along those lines and also working with music - more of a virtual world with music and animation together, hand-drawn animation in [three] dimensions.
Do you find it a creative atmosphere, or is it more tech-oriented? During Duet I taught figure drawing to the programmers and they would teach me about algorithms - there was a constant exchange of ideas. I found that everyone else is just as creative as you are, but with their keyboard, their ideas. Everyone is drawing on the wall - every wall was a surface for expressing formulas and drawing.
It sounds almost like being in an immersive environment, [a real life] Duet. We were right next to Moffett Field, watching aircraft and helicopters landing. There was this gigantic hanger where they used to have the dirigibles, the blimps coming in, except all that was left was its skeleton, its ribbing. I was working on Duet , which was taking the oldest known form of expression - no different from drawing on a cave wall - and the newest technology and making something new.
The technological advances that were happening there and here were always about the old and the new coming together to make something really truly wonderful. Joe Strike has written about animation for numerous publications.
He is the author of Furry Nation: View the discussion thread. Skip to main content. In Search of the Perfect Pencil: More From The Miscweant:. Glen Keane Talks 'Tangled'. A Maverick in the Making. Hayao Miyazaki — The Interview. Chris Landreth Talks 'Subconscious Password'.