"Paperman," which played in theaters alongside Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph," is widely considered the frontunner for the animated short Oscar.
Utilizing a minimalist black-and-white look, "Paperman" merges computer-animation and hand-drawn more holistically than ever before, thanks to a new interface. It's perfect for this dreamy mid-century tale of a lonely clerk who has a chance encounter with a beautiful woman during the morning commute in New York City. Determined to find her, he creatively uses a series of drawings on his quest.
In other words, "Paperman" is about the expressive power of hand-drawn animation to seduce us.
For first-time director John Kahrs, it was an opportunity to exorcise some old demons from his younger days in New York and to reinvigorate the hand-drawn process. As a result, he's found a way of marrying old and new school approaches and has literally brought animators closer together at Disney, because the new technique involves drawing over the CG frames on a Cintiq, adding outlines, textures, even warmth with this digital in-betweening tool.
"When I was on 'Tangled,' it just seemed a shame that we had to leave those drawings behind because they were so charming," Kahrs recalls."And I thought about a way for the drawings to track along the foundation layer of CG. That was my original notion. I wanted to see that expressive line back up front on the screen. And I thought there was a new way we could do this. But it came about technologically in a way I wasn't expecting, by people who are smarter than me."