An insight into Imagineering
–Is it a Latin or a French word!
You must be planning to look up its meaning in the dictionary, right?
This article will introduce you to an amazing method by which the creative ideas you have can be shaped into the practical form.
Well, by using the imagination that is inherent in you along with the ‘engineering’ skills that you might have acquired. This combination results in ‘Imagineering’! Literally Imagineering transpire as- devise and implement.
Imagineering, though used with Walter Elias Disney was interestingly NOT coined by him!
Neither did it originate in his studios! It was at the Aluminum Company of America- Alcoa Corporation that this word was invented, in the early 1940’s. However, the first reference to this word was seen in the February edition of the TIME magazine in 1942. But interestingly it became associated with Disney and became almost synonymous with the name of Disney. When Disney decided to venture out to make theme parks, he hired numerous engineers, artists, designers and other creative personnel. Since he wanted the best people who could translate his vision into reality, he roped in those who could bridge the gap between science and fantasy so that something out of the world and spectacular could be created. This can be clearly seen in the DISNEYLAND, the first of which opened at Anaheim, California on the 17th of July 1955.
How to become an ‘Imagineer’?
Now that we have briefly understood the origin of ‘Imagineering’ and a brief history, let us understand how to become an ‘Imagineer’. In the theme parks and amusement estates of Disney, an Imagineer is held in high esteem. There are very few open positions and the race to become one is tough as well as challenging. To begin with, talent and hard work, by default, are necessary along with a little bit of luck. To persevere against all the odds is equally important. The interview process that is conducted as a pre-selection tool is merely a formality as for the Walt Disney Company, the work that one has done should speak for itself.
As a part of the skill-set, an Imagineer is expected to be good at illustrating as this job would involve creating a wide range of sketches which should be of high quality and quantity. If one may not be keen on illustrating, there are other related fields in which one can become an Imagineer. For instance, if one feels that he/she is good at sound or lighting, they could work in those aspects of Imagineering that call for the usage of these skills. This is because there are scores of disciplines that are interwoven into the field of Imagineering. However, if one is keen on just the illustration part, they need to be flexible enough to draw whatever they might be asked to. In some cases, they might be asked to do something that is totally new to communicate ideas in a creative manner.
In the previous lines, we learnt that Imagineering involves much more than drawing and illustrating. Therefore, an Imagineer could work as a producer, a designer, a sculptor, writer, prop purchaser to name a few. All that is needed is for the person to feel good about self, pride that one is working for Disney and relate to character for which they are Imagineering!
A peek into Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development Inc.
During Walt Disney’s time, he established the WED Enterprises which is known today as the Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development Inc. The WDI or Imagineering was initially established to oversee the construction of Disneyland. The credit for creating the 1996 Disney fair , DisneyFest (at Singapore) the following year, Soarin’ Over California, the Haunted Mansion, The Hall of Presidents, and the Pirates of the Caribbean goes to WDI. The company has been able to do all this and much more due to continuous improvement and innovation. In fact, they have held over a hundred patents as well as pioneered the development of the field of Audio-Animatronics. This involves animating the attractions of the park in 3Dinstead of the regular 2D.
List of leading Disney Imagineers
Below is a nominal nomenclature of those individuals who dedicated their lives to carve their names as Disney Imagineers.
who worked extensively on designing the ‘Fantasyland’ attractions at Disneyland
was the head of the Imagineers who worked on the Tokyo Disneyland and EPCOT centre. Prior to his retirement, work had begun on Disneyland Paris
claim to fame is that she was the first female Imagineer
is credited for inventing special effects
followed his childhood dream to be a Disney Imagineer and later worked on developing ‘The Magic Carpets of Aladdin’ride.
A large dose of imagination combined with engineering skills is what Imagineering is all about. Of course, as all animators know, plenty of hard work, perseverance, attention to nitty-gritty details is also needed to be an Imagineer. Like many other things in animation, the credit goes once again to Walt Disney for making this word and work popular.
If you like this article prepared by Animaster Academy, the No.1 animation college in Bangalore, you may also like another article- Non Disney Animations. It has been framed by the same team and it discussed above about Imagineering. If you find delight in design industry, please have a glance through- Designer’s dilemma.