Frozen Fans have been delighted to see different versions of the Arendelle Castle Yule Log during the Christmas season, and this year’s new edition for Disney+ will feature layered paper art created by Walt Disney Animation Studios’ acclaimed visual development artist Brittney Lee, with animation input by Veteran Disney Animation effects animator Dan Lund, and visual effects supervisor Darin Hollings. Brittney Lee shares insight into how she helped to create the new Cut Paper Edition for this year’s Arendelle Castle Yule Log on Disney+. Check out the details shared by Brittney herself below:
“The original concept was to make everything from cut paper, but things morphed and evolved a bit from that as we brought in our visual effects experts. The starting point for me was building an actual diorama with five main structural layers including a hearth. The dimensions were approximately 32 x 20 inches, and my husband helped me rig it with real LED lights. Each layer was then photographed individually and digital files were created to get it ready for animation, ambient effects and compositing by Darin and Dan.”
“For the final Yule Log, I cut out three levels of flames inspired by the beautiful digitally animated fire demos that Dan Lund had created. Using that as a template, I cut out negative and positive shapes and photographed them in a variety of experimental ways. I backlit the negative pieces so that it would feel like light was projecting through them. The end result was a stylized effect that had a texture and ambient glow to it, and felt a bit more tactile than a real fire. It’s a literal representation of what we were going for. It feels like you are looking into something that is homemade and flickers like a candlelight.”
“Dan has been a part of the ‘Frozen’ team for as long as I have and knows my aesthetic language. We’ve been on the same journey of figuring out Elsa’s magic and all kinds of things. For the fire in the Yule Log, he noticed that my cut paper flames had a split in the middle. He really liked that design element and the kind of mid-century feel that it evoked, so he made sure to maintain that with his animated effects. He used different colors and values to preserve and reinforce it. The end result is my original paper cutouts with Dan’s visual effects melded together in a magical way. It’s a joint-loving team effort. I gave Dan and Darin something to start with, but I think it’s magic because of them.”
“Working with paper is something that I really love. It’s a weird passion of mine. I enjoy it because it’s tangible and I like to be away from the computer sometimes. “Christmas is my major holiday. In my tiny little house, I have at least two Christmas trees every year. We don’t have our own fireplace so I always end up putting a yule log on TV to have a fire burning. I’m very excited that I get to have a unique yule log this year based on my creations. I think the best compliment for our work came from Amy (Astley) during a review session on Zoom where she said that it felt so cozy, she just wanted to get a blanket and snuggle up. I share that sentiment, and hope that everyone finds it warm and inviting and a nice little piece to have on during the holidays.”
The new cut paper edition of the Arendelle Castle Yule Log is now available to stream on Disney+ as of December 17th. Be sure to check back here at Chip and Company for updates and all things Disney+!
Featured Photo Credit: Disney
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