Reach out and touch them. This is what the new Disney Animated app by Disney Interactive, Touch Press, and Walt Disney Animation Studios wants you to do with Snow White, Bambi, Alice, Aladin or any of the characters of all 53 Disney animated films.
And through the premium Disney Animated app for iPad, Disney wants to inspire the next generation of animators.
The wonder of the app lies in the ability it gives you to not just see the Disney characters you and your kids have grown up with but to also touch them and watch them come to life -- while experiencing the process used by Disney animators, artists, and technology to create this magic over the years.
The app features assets starting with the first Disney feature-length film, "Snow White," and includes a test clip of the upcoming feature film "Frozen," to be released Nov. 27, 2013.
You can see Lady ("Lady and the Tramp") take her first steps on the time-yellowed paper where she was originally conceived. Or learn about the complexity of the hand-drawn animation layering process that was used in "Beauty and the Beast's" opening scene.
Never before has Disney opened its vaults to share decades of prized art and assets with the general public.
To be clear, this is not a movie-watching application. In fact, this app does not contain full-length features.
According to Disney Animation Studios, it consists of four main parts:
>> The Story of Animation showcases how Disney animated films are brought to life with concept art, visual effects, sound, layouts and backgrounds. Illustrations are touchable and interactive.
>> Interactive Workshops has hands-on interactives that allow fans to experiment with iPad versions of authentic Disney animation technologies and share their creations via email and social media.
>> Disney Animation History in One Place: a comprehensive timeline of all 53 animated feature films from Walt Disney Animation Studios, including animated clips of favorite characters and recently uncovered historic trailers.
>> Unprecedented Access: Disney Animated contains literally thousands of interactive illustrations, more than 750 short animation clips, over 150 high-quality images from Disney's archives. A unique color map displays a thumbnail frame from every scene from every one of Walt Disney Animation Studios' 52 released feature films in a single image.
Theo Gray, co-author of Disney Animated and chief creativeo fficer of the London-based interactive media company Touch Press, is the creator of the revolutinary map.
With the award-winning technology developed by Touch Press, many protected pieces of Disney art and assets previously consigned to the company's vaults can now be appreciated in great detail.
An original Pinocchio marionette, for example, that sat untouched in a display case for about 55 years, will now spin around so you can admire the detailed work of Disney artists and animators with a simple touch.
Much of the content available on the app is "literally in the vaults at the studio under lock and key," said Mark Walker, senior vice president of Disney Animation Studios. "Most employees don't have access to it," he said.
Among the many artifacts uncovered in this app are unique drawings and storyboards with original notations on them by the artists. Zooming in on the text will reveal handwriting, stains and other unique markings.
Yes, it's a sophisticated app. not intended for small children to use alone. Parents can use it together with their children, and younger kids will need their parents to read to them and help them learn to manipulate the various chapters of the app.