In the age of CGI, 3D, and, somehow, even Smell-O-Vision, sometimes the best visual tricks are no tricks at all. Glen Keane, the former Disney animator responsible for designing Ariel, Pocahontas, and Rapunzel, just released a hand-animated independent project entitled Duet, and it's pretty breathtaking. The short, which made its debut at Google's I/O conference, tells the simple story of a boy and a girl whose lives intersect more and more as they grow up. It's uncomplicated stuff, done in an impossibly seamless way.
The short is comprised of white lines on a blue background, and with only a few strokes of his pen, Keane gives these characters such rich emotions and inner lives. You can certainly see the Disney influence in his work— all though that, in part, is probably due to how much his work influenced Disney.
There is something really intimate about a work of hand drawn animation, and, even though their CGI is beautiful (and, I'm sure, time-saving and cost-effective), it's a shame Disney has so much of its work done digitally now. Even though the characters in Duet may not look quite as human as, say, Rapunzel, they certainly feel just as human.
This short is honestly a work of art— watch below!
Images: Glen Keane/The Duet