Disney animators aim to revive 2D hand-drawn animation with “Hullabaloo,” an independent animated steampunk film

in Disney, Entertainment, Movies

Disney’s last traditionally animated films were 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog” and 2011’s “Winnie the Pooh.” Before that, decades of history allowed artists to put pencil to paper and create life on the big screen. Now, while computer animation certainly still requires the talent of animators, 2D hand-drawn animation is fading away.

A group of longtime Disney animators is aiming to prevent that from happening.

“Hullabaloo” is described as “a 2D (hand-drawn) animated steampunk film that hopes to help preserve the dying art of 2D animation.” It’s helmed by James Lopez, veteran Disney animator whose 25-year career has included credits such as “The Lion King,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Pocahontas,” “Hercules,” and the recent short “Paperman,” among many others. He’s currently a teacher at CalArts and has also worked for other studios including Warner Bros. and Dreamworks.

Along with other notable current and former Disney animators including Bruce Smith, Rick Farmiloe, Minkyu Lee, Sandro Cleuzo, and Sarah Airriess, Lopez is fundraising to make his project a reality.

(Check out that Haunted Mansion-themed office!)

The story of “Hullabaloo” follows Veronica Daring, a young scientist who finds her inventor father missing. She’s quickly joined by a fellow female inventor, Jules, to hunt for her missing father and stop some nefarious villains along the way.

It’s a film that not only aims to keep hand-drawn animation alive, but also features two female leads acting as role models, encouraging girls to enter into the worlds of science and adventure. And on top of all that, it’s drawn with steampunk flair.

Lopez hopes to initially create the “Hullabaloo” short film and, depending on how their fundraising goes, produce more shorts, a web series, and possibly a feature length animated film.

Their indiegogo campaign has already raised more than $33,000 in its first four days, aiming to reach a goal of $80,000.

Funds contributed beyond that will allow for more shorts to be produced, even with a fully orchestrated score. And contributors can choose from an assortment of rewards including original artwork.

To see “Hullabaloo” happen and help keep 2D hand-drawn animation alive, contribute to the project on indiegogo.


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    Wow! This is such a pleasant surprise. Glad to see passionate artists trying to preserve their legacy. Cant wait to see it.

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    I have seen artwork and footage of this at a convention Lopez was attending. It was very impressive.My favorite has to be this Chesire Cat like character that had sort of a Catwoman vibe to them. Awesome. Think of Hullabaloo as the somewhat 3D scenes in Tarzan and Treasure Planet. The environments are 3D and the characters are 2D with advanced shading on them. It is really cool! I got to meet Lopez and as an aspiring animator it was truly inspirational!

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      Oh, I didn’t realize some of the footage was in the video, sorry

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    PATF wasn’t the last 2D Disney film, that was the 2011 Winnie the Pooh.

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      Ricky Brigante

      You are correct and I’ve updated the article. Thanks.

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    I would not call Winnie the Pooh a full feature… It’s pretty short and the animation is simplistic vs. PaTF.

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    It sounds interesting, anything to see more hand-drawn animated films from Disney level animators.

    Also Ricky, the last hand-drawn film wasn’t The Princess and the Frog, it was 2011’s Winnie the Pooh. I know it’s not fully feature length, but it was still Walt Disney Animation Studios who made it and was theatrically released.

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      Ricky Brigante

      Already corrected while you were writing your comment. 🙂

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    Claire Nat

    I can definitely get behind this. I love the idea of two female leads and steampunk!

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    There was nothing wrong with PATF that an actual -plot- wouldn’t fix. 😉
    As for steampunk, the same could be said for Atlantis.

    Think they should have pushed their guns and gone straight for the features, though–“Webseries” would give it too much of a fringe element, and not keep as tight discipline on the story or humor.
    In fact, he should have sold the story as a comic, following “Figment”, and worked out the story bugs there.

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    Wow! I hope they make this happen. It’s as close as we’ll get to a BioShock animated movie!

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    This is great news for the animation world!

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    Noah Evans

    I hope this can be a feature =D I hope I can support this financially.

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    It is great to see that we live in a time in which artists can work together to get stuff funded. We are slowly losing the gatekeepers that control what gets made.

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    This Is A Name

    Is that Dan Backslide in the third concept art image?

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    Mike Kendall

    I am really excited about a steampunk movie!!

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    Yes, got lot of information from this animation campaign video and understood that how well he is on this industry. Actually already he has proved his skills which we can see the Disney films and movies. So really good going and hope that will see lot more good work from him. Thanks a lot:)

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    I’m an A$$ and so is this movie

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    I would be very sad if negative people keep putting the risk of removing 2D hand drawn animation permanently. Plus, some people have no idea what Disney has done to make our future happy. He first created his own hand drawn film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and his first Disney princess as his first person to be in his magic kingdom. He also created more films and more Disney princes and princesses people will never forget. In the last Disney princess film, The Princess and the Frog, I’ve seen zero color error, but a few mistakes the people made. As what some people say, mistakes are all normal. But sometimes I tend to think of something to remove all color error people made in films and TV shows. I don’t want that to happen either to future feature films that are in hand drawn. If people think they should have films in 2D rather than 3D, then would have to talk to some animators about this decision. I’m giving you my enthusiasm to bring 2D animation back to life.

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    Jason Meadows

    2-D animation certainly is fading away and I’m here to declare it officially dead forever. Why? Because it doesn’t even exist! I’m referring to the word 2-D animation, that does not exist and people need to stop using it. If you are referring to hand drawn animation, that is 3-D animation. If drawn correctly it uses three dimensional construction and perspective and the characters move in three dimensions. Perhaps it is confusing when color is added in a flat tone in the final rendering but that is merely because hand rendering shadows and highlight painted colors on every frame would take an absurdly long time. Oddly enough, with the Wacom Tablets most hand drawn animation is now done with computers. So hand drawn animation is also 3-d computer animation. What most people refer to as 3-d animation is simply the difference between robotically sculpting a character with a mouse as opposed to artistically sculpting a character with your hand, which will last forever.

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    Is there an update on this movie or this short being made??

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    The 2D Animation is quite cool but unfortunately, it is not getting used these days. many movies, ads and short clips have been made on 2D technology. after watching your post and user’s comment I felt nostalgic about the animations I have seen long ago made on 2D animation technology.

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    Disney always delivers our best-animated video for audience thanks for your efforts.

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    If this movie will be make on 3D rendering so it would be more famous i was waiting for to launched this movie again in 3D

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