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In The Book of Life, I just noticed a very interesting graphic effect.

Manolo's hair swirl physically changes from scene to scene to face the camera.

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This effect occurs constantly but is never animated. The change occurs at every off-camera opportunity. It's even sneakily done in the middle of one scene when he passes behind another character.

This artistic effect seems very unusual. Is there a name for this technique in movie-making? Has it been done before?

  • 2
    Same thing happens with Mickey Mouse's ears. – Catija Feb 3 '15 at 15:43
  • And Turanga Leela's eye/hair combo. – MikeTheLiar Feb 3 '15 at 17:30
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It is called a cheated angle. It is quite typical for animated movies or comics to retain iconic features. Often the features (typically the hair) wouldn't look nice from another angle, sometimes the character wouldn't even be recognizable without it at all.

A similar effect is the billboard effect where certain objects always face the camera so they are clearly recognizable or legible. This also removes the need for perspective shift and thus made the production cheaper when things were hand drawn.

  • So this has clearly has been done before but I think a really interesting piece of info to append to this answer would be whether or not The Book of Life is the first movie to bring this effect into 3-D rendering. It's so interesting because while in drawn animation it's common, in the 3D setting of this movie it's almost an artistic novelty. – CuriousWebDeveloper Feb 3 '15 at 17:17
  • Mickey Mouse has been done this way for a while, and Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse has been doing this in 3d rendering. The ears just slide along the head so that no matter which way Mickey or Minnie are facing, the ears have the canonical appearance. – Alan Shutko Feb 3 '15 at 18:23

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