After day one of the Collider event, so far it's a bit of mixed bag- a conference that hasn't quite decided whether it wants to be a community of like-minded artists swapping stories and techniques, a jobfair, or a place to hawk your soft and hardwares. It could be all three successfully, like a mini East Coast version of SIGGRAPH, but it's not quite there yet. There have been some excellent, well-crafted presentations about specific ad or feature projects and entire career paths, as well as a few presentations that feel like they were written on a bar napkin and then left under the dregs of an overpriced glass of single malt scotch last night (or early this morning following the red-eye from LA, where half of the presenters hail from). As someone who has given his fair share of conference presentations, I am usually slow to criticize anyone who gets up and describes their process in front of their peers, but I also believe that good work that is well documented should be presented lovingly. Some artists feel that self-deprecation and presenting themselves as 'quirky' and/or extemporaneous is endearing to a crowd. Sadly, they are wrong. If you love what you do and respect your teams that make content with you, represent them well with forethought and tested presentation content. They'll be honored and proud, and you won't appear as much of an ogre when you need them to work late due to a client's new creative need.
Day one of the conference highlights would have to include director John Kahrs and his talk about Innovation detailing the development process and ideation behind the genius short Paperman at Disney, which used a pioneering proprietary Disney tool called Meander.
Watch it again, and take notice of the way that shadow and light are used in every frame- the female character starts in the light, and brightens every shot with her presence, while the male character is in shadow until the very end. It's done in a way that is subtle and masterful, that leads you want to watch the animation again and again.
Disney and Kahrs clearly treated this as a labor of love, an homage to an older style of animation that is fading from the public consciousness, and has already largely disappeared from all production pipelines. Kahrs showed clips similar to this one to detail his process, and explain this marriage of cell and digital techniques.