A lush, illustrated pastiche of well-known fairytale imagery drives the main title sequence for Walt Disney Picture's new film Enchanted. The sequence was created by yU+co, the design studio founded by Creative Director Garson Yu.
"We always challenge ourselves to create something that people haven't seen before, to combine different storytelling techniques and layers of animation to come up with a new way to tell a story," comments Yu. "The narrative will drive us to a new look and that's what's most rewarding. For Enchanted we took a very organic approach, using hand-drawn illustrations and a watercolor look to tap into the iconic fairytale world of imagery and create a playful narrative that blends elements from the film with broader fairytale symbolism."
Enchanted, directed by Kevin Lima, is a classic Disney animated fairytale that turns into a modern, live-action comedy. It follows the beautiful princess Giselle (Amy Adams) as she is banished by an evil queen (Susan Sarandon) from her magical, musical animated land and finds herself in the gritty reality of modern-day Manhattan.
The yU+co created title sequence begins with an overhead shot on the cover of a 3D animated storybook with the title Enchanted. The camera then zooms into the cover and thrusts viewers in a magical world of fairytale lore. Set against the weathered leather background of the book cover, stunning camera moves take us in and out of the imagery, which transitions seamlessly from flowers to fairy wings to a princess kissing a frog and more. Tying it all together is the elegant typography that seems to envelop each scene like vines on a plant.
According to yU+co Art Director Synderela Peng, the piece feels so authentic because early in the creative process they brought several freelance illustrators onboard who drew much of the imagery by hand. Those drawings were then scanned into the computer and composited with other 2D and 3D elements created by yU+co.
"We took inspiration from traditional children stories, as well as original Disney animated classics, but nothing too specific because we didn't want it look like something you've seen before," said Peng. "Kevin also directed the Disney film Tarzan so he is very literate when it comes to animation and design, and because of that he was a great person to work with. Our instincts matched very well."