A Kite’s Tale directed by Bruce Wright, an experienced visual effects artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios, premiered at SIGGRAPH from the company’s Short Circuit program.
I saw the three and a half minute short production as part of the VR Theater at the computer graphics conference in Los Angeles. A Kite’s Tale may not be interactive but it pulls from that same place as all Disney animation to lead your eye by your heart and follow the characters around you in VR. The story also comes and goes so quickly that I’ll be looking forward to a second viewing to consider it more thoroughly.
A Kite’s Tale: Hand-Drawn Animation In VR
Floating up among the clouds you meet two kites — one a great big red and orange dragon and the other a small puppy. Hand-drawn frames (scanned into the computer and shown on the kite as animation) convey much of the dog-kite’s personality. Up in the sky, the pup bounces around with excitement as it tries making friends with the dragon. The dragon nearly disappears into the skies, though, when the two become entangled.
I’m glad Disney’s Short Circuit program exists so work like this is possible. The VR market right now is a rough, unforgiving place and experimental teams like Oculus Story Studios are but memories. Developers like those at The Museum of Other Realities are working to gather together and pay VR artists for their work who might not otherwise be supported, but there’s little else to support the VR artists working outside of typical interaction design and product release cycles.
That’s where A Kite’s Tale flies — only a few minutes long and non-interactive — it’s as fragile and ready to fail as anything could be in the VR space. Instead, the project meshes together the old and new of Disney artwork and ingenuity and delivers a few wide smiles with its brief little package taking to the skies.
There’s no plan right now to release A Kite’s Tale publicly but I’m hopeful headset owners at home will get the chance to spend a few moments among the clouds with these Disney kites someday.