Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page


A Stable Phenomenon Makes A New Leap
Since the early 1980's, the My Little Pony franchise, based on Hasbro's incredibly popular toy line, has been matching children's imaginations with the colorful and courageous equine inhabitants of a magical and sprawling pony world known as Equestria. As several incarnations of the My Little Pony universe galloped up to the 2010 premiere of the immensely successful My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic television series created by Lauren Faust, the Ponies gathered whole new generations of young fans.

But for their leap to the big screen, the look and feel of the My Little Pony world was gently adjusted by director Jayson Thiessen and screenwriters Meghan McCarthy, Rita Hsiao, Michael Vogel, and Joe Ballarini. Backing up this deeper look into pony-rific antics are dynamic animation and a sophisticated visual approach that brings the Mane 6 and their friends into sharper, more illustrious focus.

"To me, this seemed a natural progression, with all these epic, big worlds that surround the ponies, and the way that their ensemble cast works so well together," says MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE director Jayson Thiessen. "From the beginning, the storytelling was so strong on the series, that I thought, someday, we could work our way up to making a story worthy of the big screen. So being able to do that now was huge."

"It felt like it was inevitable that we would get here eventually," continues Thiessen.

"The film is hand-drawn, 2D animation created with Harmony software from Toon Boom, but with a few twists," says Theissen. "To allow for more dynamic camera moves and enhance the story-telling, we hired a director of photography and a camera crew, and shot the movie first entirely in CG before transferring it back into 2D - to accomplish this, we had to create a whole new pipeline that's a lot more like what you'd see on an entirely CG film. There were certain sets that are done entirely in 3D - like Tempest's skiff and the pirate ship. We were also aggressive with the lighting rigs - really striving to push what you could do in a traditional 2-D film. Some of the effects and shadows are a mix of CG and hand-drawn, but we hope the result is seamless, and that you can't tell."

Some of the visual flourishes are quieter, but nonetheless crucial: The characters' horns are narrower, their ears more pointed, and their eyes now have sparkles and transparent highlights. (Rarity would likely describe these improvements like a day at a Ponyville spa.) As art director Rebecca Dart explains about the overall visual style, "For the feature film, we thinned out the lines because thicker, cartoon-ier lines didn't work with the new movie's character changes. The lines were adjusted for far, mid-, and close-up shots for the best possible results."

Animators added depth to the Ponies' eyes and ears as well as the heart-shaped shadow under their hooves, and changed the line color based on the interior color of their manes and tails. "For the movie, for instance, we could give Rainbow Dash's mane and tail colored outlines versus the blue outline from the television show," says Dart. "We could also step up her wing design."

Other detailed elements were added to the Pony designs specifically for the film. Pony tongues in the movie are pink instead of orange, for example, and even their hooves have a heart shape (thus those heartshaped shadows).

Additionally, more dimension and volumes were added to the ponies' design. Tails have more depth, and the characters' eyes are also given a greater shimmer and intensity thanks to extra sparkles in the irises and color in their pupils.

Storyboard revisionist Harinam Virdee saw the changes from the moment she came onboard. "The movie is so much bigger than the series," Virdee says. "It's just got a bigger scale overall, and it's so much more dramatic. Everything is kind of pushed to the limit."

"On the TV show, we had to limit our poses, and limit our expressions, just for do-ability," says Thiessen, who directed numerous episodes of the TV series, as well as short films and spin-offs from the Pony world. "But in MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE, we can add a lot more subtlety - much fuller animation. We can also expand on the acting. And that's part of the personality - really getting into the characters' little quirks."

Emily Blunt, who voices Tempest Shadow for MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE, heartily agrees. "So many people have connected with the ponies over the years," says Blunt. "Adults who watched when they were younger and kids who play with them today, I think everyone will be excited to see the ponies in a new light."

Tara Strong, who leads the brigade again as Twilight Sparkle, says that, "Whenever you go from TV to film, the animation has to up its game." Strong adds that, "The team behind the MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE are meticulous in making sure everything's going to look beautiful and big-screen-ready. The show famously has wonderful colors and scenery, and from the very first episode, I was completely impressed with the world that they created. This movie is even bigger and better, and more colorful and polished."

Next Production Note Section


Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.

2018 29,  All Rights Reserved.


Find:  HELP!