Robert Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was an amazing piece of cinema when it debuted back in 1988, and it’s still charming today. The merging of real actors and animated characters on such a grand scale was quite striking.
Animation is already a complicated artform, but the creation of a film wherein real human actors needed to interact with cartoon characters had to up the challenge almost exponentially. Here's a cool YouTube video showing some of the pencil drawing tests for the film, and it certainly gives you a new appreciation for what Zemeckis and the animators accomplished in the movie.
The video is not the best quality, but viewers still get a feel for what the crew was working to achieve. The first piece is a scene between an actor and Jessica Rabbit that finds the vixen interacting closely with her human co-star. It’s this particular scene that shows off just how difficult an undertaking this must have been – everything has to be essentially perfect or the illusion that people and cartoons are genuinely interacting is shattered.
The second is a simpler line drawing of Roger by himself, and the third is actually Roger in color moving across a real-world background.
All three tests are neat – but they’re even neater since Pee-wee Herman did all the voices. Pee-wee as Jessica Rabbit is kind of disconcerting, to be honest. Check out the clip below and see what you think. [via io9]