Zootopia hits theaters on March 4th, and the consensus so far is families cannot wait to watch it. My time with the producers, directors, and animators of Zootopia this past December has solidified my love for a movie I have yet to watch. During our recent sponsored L.A. adventure with Disney, we had the chance to talk with Art Director of Characters Cory Loftis. We chatted about character creation, the importance of scale in Zootopia, and why color, curves, and even pants were essential to each character.
One of the most important parts of the world of Zootopia is scale. This was a challenge that the Zootopia team had to handle with every frame. The scale of an elephant is different depending on who they are standing next to. That elephant looks much larger next to a mouse, than it does next to a Wildebeest.
There are over 50 species of animals represented in Zootopia, so scale needed to be just right.
One of the other challenges Cory mentioned was getting the characters to be anthropomorphic; to have them walk upright without looking awkward. One of the smaller challenges with animals walking upright, was the way they looked in pants. Yes, pants! Each animal looks different in the same uniform pants.
Fun fact: when watching the movie on March 4th, pay attention to how each Zootopia police officer looks like in their uniform. Not one animal will look the same!
We were able to have a short animation session with Cory, where he showed us how to draw heroine Judy’s coloring was very strategic to her personality, and the storyline. Her violet eyes weren’t a fluke. The animators thought a bit of purple would bring more sass to Judy. In earlier sketches, she was drawn with darker eyes and even brown fur.
It was amazing to learn about the amount of work that goes into each and every character, and why they final product means so much to the animators of Zootopia.
More About ZOOTOPIA:
The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia,” a comedy-adventure directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”), opens in theaters on March 4, 2016.