Imagine if you could take your favorite stories out of your imagination and actually, physically live inside of them. The seemingly impossible is now entirely possible, and animator Glen Keane drew Disney characters in virtual reality to show everyone just how game-changing this new type of animation can be. Keane, the son of legendary "Family Circus" comic artist Bil Keane, has animated some of the most iconic Disney characters of our childhoods, but he used Ariel and the Beast to demonstrate the capabilities of this new technology, or what he calls a "seismograph of your soul".
Keane explains in an episode of Disney's "Future Of StoryTelling" that as an animator, he has always felt so connected to what he was drawing that he felt or even became the character he was creating as he drew them. "I would not draw to do a drawing, but to step in and live in that world," he said, explaining that he would often come home with a sore jaw and back after inhabiting the Beast all day during the animation process. "When I animate there's a frustration that I have, wishing that the flatness of the paper would just go away, and that I could actually dive in."
Now, thanks to cutting edge virtual reality technology, he can.
The new animation technology basically allows Keane to use the air as his canvas. He steps into a square, dons the virtual reality goggles, and uses a sensor to create the world in three dimensions around himself. While the outside air is unaltered, within his head and copied into a computer program is an entire scene being brought to life.
He remarks that this way he can finally draw them to the size that they are in his imagination. The lines he creates within the program are static, meaning he can walk around within the scene and his drawings will stay in the same place that he rendered them.
The end result is a stunning glimpse into the future of animation, and the potential of 3D reality entertainment. Worlds you could only live inside within your own mind are entirely accessible and fully realized. (Plus, in this reality, you can hold your breath underwater pretty much forever.)
For the full scope of just how game-changing this technology is, watch Glen Keane's full demonstration below: