The first Designer I will be analysing the Monsters Inc 2001 title sequence designed by Title Designer Geefwee Boedoe. This sequence references previous designs by DePatie-Freleng (Pink Panther 1963) and Saul Bass (Around the world in Eighty Days 1956) as seen below.
Boedoe makes use of a similar animation style and music genre as DePatie-Freleng and Saul Bass, referencing their flat 2d style and upbeat jazzy music choice.
In the Monsters Inc title sequence shapes bounce and dance around in black space, coming together to form a door which opens to a closet, closes and opens again to reveal a roaring cartoon mouth. After that intro, doors dance around the screen, stacking into patterns and spitting out hand-written letters that form the credits. All of this is set to the upbeat and happy theme composed by Randy Newman.
Boedoe makes use of the same technique as Bass by using paper cut outs and painting to create his animations. The way the monsters interact with the credits in the title sequence draws very much from the Pink Panther title sequence, and the way the Pink Panther character interacts with the type.
I particularly love the way the type and shapes within all these animations react to the tempo of the music. The quick timing of the music creates interest and the feeling of happiness and calm, and sometimes even some humour.
The next Designer I will be looking at is Walt Disney’s Susan Bradley – Mulan 1998. This style of animation is absolutely stunning and I’ve always loved it. I will be looking at 3 “modern” title sequences that all make use of this ink style animation (because they are truly beautiful), namely Marco Polo (2014), Blindspot (2015) and Uncharted 4 (2016).
Disney Movie, Mulan 1998
Marco Polo title sequence 2014
Blindspot title sequence 2015
Uncharted 4 title sequence 2016
This style of animation is a mix of water painting and live action filming. Designers paint their design on thick paper that doesn’t absorb the water and slowly add ink to the water lines, filming at 120 fps to create that smooth slow motion animation. The most recent one (Uncharted) makes use of a mix of this style with well illustrated stills, often filling in the illustrations with ink. This title sequence I suspect is more artificially generated, whereas Marco Polo and Mulan are live action filming.
The tempo of the music in all these examples are a mix of slow to start off but builds tempo as the song goes on. I particularly like the mix of ink and drawing in the Uncharted title sequence. All I can say is thank you Susan Bradley, for opening the door for such beautiful explorations.