Rachel Paige
November 04, 2014 7:00 am

Disney animation has come a long way, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs all the way to Frozen. Now, coming from someone whose artistic ability begins and ends at stick figures, I’m always very impressed with the kinds of animation techniques that come along. Artist Tyson Murphy—who works as the lead character artist for the World of Warcraft video games—has recently put his own spin on photoshopping Disney animated classics. No, he’s not going through and removing skin blemishes or suddenly shrinking waists. Instead he’s completely retouching the images with amazing depth.

What Murphy does is paint over the scenes digitally as a study in lighting. He takes a screenshot of the film, and edits it from there. Now, these original images? It’s clear that there’s not a lot of shadowing whatsoever, leaving very little depth perception. Everything in the 2D animated world looks very flat. Walt Disney tried really hard to create that illusion of a 3D world in his earliest features, and actually created a machine that would super-impose one image over the other, layer on top of layer, hoping to make everything seem more life-like. Back in 1938, there was no such thing as computer-generated imagery, let alone Photoshop, so Disney had to get creative.

Thanks to over 50 years of technology, Murphy is able to add that depth and 3D effects to some classic movies. Suddenly it looks like the images are popping right off the screen and have completely taken on a brand new life. I promise I’m not here to talk about old school Disney animation (even though the multiplane camera is really fascinating, and is actually on display at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, and totally cool). But look at Murphy’s brand new works of art! They’re simply awesome. As he writes on his blog, “Can’t beat the original, but it’s a fun exercise.” He’s doing all of these images for fun to help increase his understanding of animation. If you ask me, I’d say that it’s working, and he’s making it look simple.

So far, he’s only done three of these renditions, one for Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, and 101 Dalmatians above (my personal favorite). These are all movies from the pre-Disney animation renaissance, which started with The Little Mermaid in 1989. I told you I could talk about Disney animation for hours! I’d really love to see what he could do with a movie like, The Lion King. Could he make it even more amazing?

If you want to check out more of Murphy’s projects–and yes, there are some Harry Potter ones in there, too—he’s got a blog strictly dedicated to his artwork, along with a Twitter and a Tumblr.

Images via here

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