5 reasons to catch Disney’s animation exhibition | A List
The new Disney: Magic of Animation exhibition at the ArtScience Museum shows visitors how animations are brought to life. (Photo: Claudio Chock)

5 reasons to catch Disney’s animation exhibition | A List

The magic of animation is ageless, endlessly inspiring and hard to forget. Little wonder then, that a recent trip to the animation exhibition, Disney: Magic of Animation, at the ArtScience Museum has The A List spellbound.

The exhibition, curated by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, offers a rare look at more than 500 pieces of original drawings, sketches and paintings from over 90 years of Disney animations.

Visitors will be able to explore, through interactive displays, how animators came up with innovative ways of making animations more realistic and enjoyable. They will also be able to trace the progress of animation from pencil and paper to digital computer graphics. There are many magical moments to be had in the exhibition, but here are our favourite five:

Child-like wonder reawakened

Coming upon original sketches and scenes from popular Disney animations, including my personal favourites such as Steamboat Willie (1928), Sleeping Beauty (1959) and The Little Mermaid (1989), I am immediately transported back to my childhood and fond memories of being mesmerised by these magical works.

Creating 3D magic without computers

It is fascinating to see how animators created 3D effects before the age of computers with the multiplane camera. This revolutionary piece of equipment, created in the 1930s, uses multiple panels of glass, with the scenic background painted on each of them, to add depth to the 2D scene when the camera zooms in and out. This 3D effect is used in animations such as Pinocchio (1940), and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).

A zoo at the office

Who would have thought of having a zoo at the office? But that is Walt Disney, who aspired to make his films look as realistic as possible, did. He had a small zoo set up at the Disney studio to allow artists to study the movement of animals such as rabbits, ducks, owls and baby deer for their drawings. The on-site zoo was probably why movies like Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942) were successful in creating life-like animal characters that can communicate through their expressions.

Coconut husks that sound like horses

Before the time of digital sound effects, people working in animation studios had to get creative with the way they created realistic yet dramatic sounds.  A section in the exhibition features an interactive “sound studio” where both kids and adults can have a go at adding sound effects to a scene from Mulan (1998) using objects such as coconuts husks (for the sound of horses galloping).

Sneak peek of Frozen 2

Frozen 2, you said? Yes, you read that right. Don’t miss the section in the exhibition where the beloved Frozen sisters, Elsa and Anna, appear magically on a screen and beckon you to join them on their adventure when the second instalment of the popular movie opens in cinemas later this month.

Details on Disney: Magic of Animation here.

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