Famed artist animates Walt Disney Family Museum

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- This years' Oscar ceremony was another award-winning moment for famed animator Glen Keane -- this time for the film "Dear Basketball," with former NBA star Kobe Bryant.

But for Disney fans, Keane and the animated characters he brings to life have been magical for decades.

"There's a moment where they just come through the paper and you look at them and you recognize that's him, there he is. And that's what happened with the Beast," says Keane, pointing to an early drawing of the Beast from the Disney feature "Beauty and the Beast."

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And now Keane's characters, from the Beast to The Little Mermaid, are together in a special exhibit at the Walt Disney Family Museum at San Francisco's Presidio. It's a chance to see and learn about the techniques that help them jump from the screen, in films like "Tarzan" and "Aladdin," starting with the sense of motion.

"Every character, you notice Ariel spins around, the Beast does, Tarzan, Pocahontas, because I'm trying to prove to you these are not flat drawings, these are 3-dimensional sculptural drawings," Keane explains.

Keane honed his early craft at a Disney studio he describes as having the ambiance of cigarettes, pencil shavings and scotch. And while the characters and creativity are legendary, he believes the future of animation will have a new magic all its own, thanks to the emerging technology of virtual reality.

"That's what virtual reality is to me, it's a chance to draw in 3D," he says.

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Keane recently demonstrated by drawing his character Ariel using Google's "Tilt Brush" system.

"With goggles on, I'm drawing the figure is in space around me, that's a dream."

It's a dream that could soon come to life for audiences, creating a new magic, in the same way Keane's characters always have.

The exhibit is called: Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane. It's running through September 3rd at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Click here for more information about the exhibit.

Written and produced by Tim Didion

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