Sunday, August 31, 2008


Two digitally re-created backgrounds from Disney's obscure educational Donald Duck short, "Steel and America - A New Look."

Friday, August 29, 2008


I have created a new, long overdue blog called CEL PROVENANCE.

This will serve as a home for permanent documentation of production cels which pass through my hands - their origins, details on setups, etc.

I will work on this blog along with others, as time permits. I invite you to have a look at the first postings.


If you love animation in general, and this blog in particular, make it official and join our blog "FOLLOWERS." It's easy, simple, there are no dues, no responsibilities, and no paperwork!!!

We've made lots of friends during our first year. Since I added a counter this Spring we've had over a quarter million visitors!

Now we have a way to make regular visitors feel especially at home in this online community.

Just click on "Follow This Blog" to the right.

It's almost as much fun as being a member of the Mickey Mouse Club!

Well, maybe not quite... but it's major fun any way you slice it.

By the way, don't be bashful... add a picture to your profile so we can see how good-looking you are!


Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


DONALD IN MATHMAGIC LAND features a variety of background styles. Imagine somehow fusing 1960s modern with Greek-Roman-Egyptian imagery. Only Disney could pull this off - and did!

We can all look forward to DONALD IN MATHMAGIC LAND on DVD in Donald's Platinum DVD #4, due to be released Fall 2008.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008


Simple. Stunning. Sensational!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Here's the very first set of digitally reconstructed background images from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Fantastic artwork from the only animated feature ever nominated for "Best Picture."

Sorry, the townsfolk wouldn't budge (below)! Still worth a look at this reconstructed pan B/G:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


After months of on again/off again retouching and fussing, I am finally ready to share this background with you from the 1959 Disney TV Christmas special "From All Of Us, To All Of You."

The source was a marginally acceptable second generation video transfer. It was the best I could find. And with Mickey staying at the piano, playing, I had to digitally rebuild most of the image in very small sections, catching places where his hands and feet moved away. The less than ideal source material also required a significant amount of retouching, artful use of blurs, etc.

But, I think I've finally arrived at a very nice version of the background. Hope you think so too.

For some unknown reason, the upper edges in this smaller version show some grayish distortion. Please click on the image and take a look at the larger version, in which these anomalies disappear.

Very classy, classic Disney B/G artwork.

Just grand!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Today we continue looking at background art from RUNAWAY BRAIN.

The mad doctor in the film is named Dr. Frankenollie. Today's third B/G is the Frankenollie nameplate. This was, of course, the young animators' tribute to Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.

Very fitting we have this today. This evening is Ollie Johnston's memorial service at the El Capitan theatre. I'll be joining friends, family, Disney company colleagues and animation enthusiasts in a special evening, celebrating Ollie's life and artistic legacy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Here are the first of several backgrounds to come, from Mickey's RUNAWAY BRAIN. These are dandy!

While Mickey is mesmerized by his video game, Pluto hears a knock at the door. Here's the digitally re-created pan background. I had to contend with a zoom as well as a pan... this took well over an hour to assemble, due to resizing the elements to match and fit! It's a great background filled with lots of detail. Did you know Mickey was a Trekkie? Yep. There's a model of the starship Enterprise near the door! It also appears he's into tennis, and video camcorders... and pizza!

I was able to digitally erase Minnie so we could see most of scene two, but Mickey refused to budge!

BAMBI (Thumper Background)

In December 2007 I was fortunate to acquire a cel of THUMPER from BAMBI. This little guy is such a charmer!

The cel was released in the 1940s through the Courvoisier Gallery program. It has the official WDP stamp in the lower right corner (Walt Disney Productions).

As was the practice at the time, the cel is laminated.

As a later Courvoisier release, it has a typically uninspired background. The early Courvoisier backgrounds were actually created by artists at Disney Studios and were more elaborate. Later releases like this one were prepared by art students in the San Francisco area, where Courvoisier was located.

The original moment in the movie included Thumper's family and looked like this:

I digitally re-created the entire original pan background:

While I was in Photoshop, I sized and then overlaid the Thumper image in exactly the right position on the recreated pan B/G to see what the setup would look like. Here's the result:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Here's a surprise!

I thought I'd digitally reconstructed just about every possible MARY POPPINS background... until this afternoon.

I had a rare four days off this week. So, with the luxury of some unstructured time on my hands, out came the 1964 Disney classic.

Here for your pleasure (and five hours of obsessive Photoshopping later): a wonderful POPPINS pan B/G from the chalk drawings (fox hunt) sequence. To remove the animated hunters, horses and dogs, I had to layer nearly thirty sections and do some paintbrush work as well!

I was able to eliminate all the animated characters except the endomorphic equestrian at the far right. But most of the background is now revealed for your amusement and amazement (and mine as well)!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008


Here's our second installment of digitally recreated background art from POCAHONTAS.

There's a decided Eyvind Earle influence in these magnificent forest landscapes.

The modern Disney artists who created this artwork can be very proud. It as beautiful as any of Disney's best.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Digitally recreating backgrounds from contemporary animation is really difficult. The artists make use of computer technology, creating multiple layers with moving special effects plus cinematic zooms and pans. Once revealed, however, the art is stunning, beautifully conceived and rendered with sumptuous color palettes. Here's a first look at dazzling background pieces from Disney's POCAHONTAS.

Instead of opening with the often used book, cleverly the artists used this painting, which comes to life during a magnificent multiplane zoom shot.

An opening title B/G:

Another opening title B/G:

The composition of this shot reminds me very favorably of a similar setup in the "Ave Maria" segment of FANTASIA. What do you think?

I was able to digitally move the Native Americans out of this shot, but Mr. Menken's credit refused to budge!