Sky Movies Disney asked Painting Practice to collaborate with them on one of their epic Movie Channel idents. We were quick to say yes when we learned it would be for both concept and matte painting, giving us something to really sink our teeth into.

Our senior Concept Artist, Rafael Martin led the team in bringing together dozens of Disney movie references into an enormous and harmonious panoramic landscape. We needed to combine key characters, Disney moments and timeless set pieces into a fantastical setting which started and ended at London’s Tower Bridge. We also referenced iconic landmarks such as Piccadilly and the quintessential skyline of London’s rooftops. As you can imagine, the sky was the limit! The result – over a minute of magic, jam packed full of Disney memories.

A huge amount of the charm in the ident, comes from the painterly look developed by Rafael and our artists at concept stage. It emulated the traditional feel and texture of the early Disney classics, and gave us the magic and nostalgia we feel when we watch those childhood favourites. Director Ted Thorpe was keen to maintain this look for the final animation and composition. This led to a more traditional approach to the animation techniques – playing with parallax and ‘2D cards’, also changing how we approached the matte painting and projection.

Many of the foreground characters seen in the ident (Cinderella, Aerial, Jasmine and the Seven Dwarfs for example) were shot live-action over at Sky Studios. Painting Practice were involved in styling the VFX shoot, supplying fun props and some in-camera trickery.

The greatest challenge on any job such as this, is developing a workflow between the artists here and the team over at Sky Movies Disney – each team influencing the other, with constant updates and developments. Particularly because we were involved in processes at both ends of the project. The project spanned a significant amount of time, but we all made it in the end, and we hope you will agree the result was definitely worth it.

Take a trip down memory lane and see how many Disney movie references can you count! We can guarantee you’ll see something new every time…

Below you can see some of the earlier scamps and plans for the panorama. It was a lot to fit into one minute! Click on the images to see a better view of the panorama as a whole…Most of the characters were shot live-action at SKY Studios in London, then graded and composited into the panorama… Even this tricky scene from “Lady & The Tramp” was created (for the most part!) in camera with real dogs, and a lot of prosthetics for the chef and his serenading associate!