Disney legend Aaron Blaise is a fan of Procreate Dreams, the new animation software launching in November. When I met him recently he excitedly told me this app will rekindle a love of 2D animation, and he could be right.
You can read my feature on everything you need to know about Procreate for more details, but this is the new iPad-exclusive 2D animation app that acts as a love letter to the traditional way Disney would animate, using onion layers and the Disney principles of animation.
Aaron Blaise has worked on some of the biggest traditionally animated movies of all time, including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and his own directed movie, Brother Bear.
He recalls: "30 years ago I was working, I was working on Beauty and the Beast at Disney. I was animating the Beast, and my boss was walking around and we were talking, and he goes, 'Aaron, in about 15 years, you're going to be drawing on a computer screen'. And I went, 'you're crazy'."
The animator now uses both digital software and traditional apps, but tells me Procreate Dreams is something different. "I'm still blown away by just the convenience of it, because of where I came from with paper animation."
For the launch reveal of Procreate Dreams, Aaron Blaise created a short animation starring his new favourite self-created character, an adorable ' fairy penguin' from Tasmania who dreams of being able to fly. It's very Disney, and Blaise tells me it was his nod to Winnie the Pooh.
The entire animation process took just 12 weeks, and that was without using some of Procreate Dreams best tools, such Performance that enables you to animate using finger gestures, because the app wasn't yet finished.
It's not only the speed and approachable nature of Procreate Dreams that has impressed Blaise, but the price. At $19.99 it's going to open animation up to more and more people.
He tells me: "It's going to change everything, because all these kids that I worked with along with millions of others are going to snatch this up instantly; kids that want to animate but normally wouldn't because it was cost prohibitive. We're going to see animation flying through the roof. I think we're going to see a big tidal wave in the next two years, a tidal wave of 2D animation."
After using Procreate Dreams, Blaise feels anything is possible. "You can make a feature," he laughs, his eyes widened with excitement. "That's the thing, it goes beyond the standard Procreate software where you can do some nice little pieces of animation, now this is the real thing, you can make a feature with this, and I think someone's going to; and that's the thing, imagine making a feature using a $20 piece of software."
He reflects on how Procreate Dreams can disrupt the animation industry. "I directed a movie called Brother Bear for Disney, and that took us six years to make that movie. And I think having a 2D piece of software like this, I bet that would cut the time in half."
It's also the flexibility that Procreate Dreams offers. At the app's launch a number of animated shorts were shown from all kinds of studios and artists, some were graphic design led while others felt like Saturday morning TV shows, and Blaise's own short could have been made by peak 80s / 90s Disney.
"The beauty is," reflects Blaise, "you've got all the robustness from a visual standpoint of Procreate, and now you've got this really great animation software. So you've got an app that's stylistically, well, it's infinite. You can do any style you want."
If you're inspired by Aaron Blaise then read his 15 tips to how to draw animals, or follow his excellent tutorials and advice on his YouTube channel The Art of Aaron Blaise (expect a new Aaron Blaise training course dedicated to Procreate Dreams in November).
Procreate Dreams will launch 22 November on the Apple Store, and it's exclusive to iPad. Take a look at our guide to the best iPad for drawing for some advice on which to get, or the feature 'iPad generations' for an overview of every tablet.