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Early Chinese Animation – Princess Iron Fan

March 29, 2011

Recently I have been researching the use of rotoscoping in early Disney movies. There are various clips available on Youtube of Disney movies where the animation has been ‘re-used’ from earlier films.

I found that much has been written about this subject already, including this discussion on the Mayerson on Animation blog.

This in turn led me to find out more about how and when rotoscoping was used in very early animated films. This is how I came across Princess Iron Fan.┬áThe film which is an adaptation of the Chinese story Journey to the West, was produced in 1941 by the Wan Brothers, and was China’s first full-length animated feature film.┬áRotoscoping, which is the tracing of live-action movement of an actor by the animators is used throughout the film.

You can download the full film which is now in the Public Domain from the Internet Archive, and I have embedded it here below (Running time: 73 minutes).