Disney Artist to give presentation on 'Zootopia'

The art director of environments for Disney will be visiting Eastern Michigan University on Friday in the Roosevelt Hall Auditorium to give a special behind the scenes presentation for the upcoming release of the animated film, “Zootopia.”

Scheduled to be released to the public on March 4, “Zootopia” takes place in the mammal metropolis, Zootopia. Within the city, the first rabbit to join a police force, Judy Hopps, takes on a mysterious case in order to prove herself after she learns how tough it is to enforce the law. With the company of a wily fox named Nick Wilde, her job becomes even harder.

Presented by Eastern Michigan University’s Simulation, Animation and Gaming Department, Matthias Lechner will be talking about the collaborations that helped define the style of the film’s environments and sets and how they created the animals that inhabit the world of Zootopia, a press release said.

Lecher joined Disney as a freelance visual development artist in 2012 and has worked on “Zootopia” since it was in its early version. He relocated to Los Angles after the project evolved into a full production.

“I really feel like I’ve gone full circle – growing up loving ‘The Jungle Book’ to now working on ‘Zootopia,’” said Lechner in a press release. “The world is so rich with so many facets – it’s a designers dream! We get to draw everything from a rainforest, to a desert to an icy artic world. It’s a mix of architectures from all around the world.”

Lechner has previously worked as an art director and production designer for projects like “Escape from Planet Earth” for Rainmaker Entertainment, as well as “Keinohrhase und Zweiohrküken,” a Thilo Graf Rothkirch cartoon film by Warner Brothers.

The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 10:45 a.m. and the presentation will be from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. To reserve a seat at the event, RSVP your full name to ZootopiaEMU@gmail.com.

A Q&A will follow the presentation.

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