When painting the backgrounds, it's said that Disney did the shorts in watercolors, and the features in oil (with the exception of Snow White, Dumbo and Lilo and Stitch).
But is that really true? The multiplane camera was meant for features, but it was still used and tested in some of the later Silly Symphonies, starting with The old Mill. So why wouldn't they use some of the late Hyperion shorts such as Wynken, Blynken and Nod to experiments with oil and effects to use in Fantasia and Pinocchio? And Ferdinand the Bull is a short noticed for its lush and colorful backgrounds.
Then there is the compilation movies made between Bambi and Cinderella. Many of these were as the name suggest just a series of shorts.
When making 101 Dalmatians, the staff was downsized and budgets cut. It became even worse under the production of THe Sword in the Stone. Are all of the movies between 1960 and 1980 really oil painted? The backgrounds in 101 Dalmatians doesn't exactly remind about those in Sleeping Beauty or Pinocchio.
Not to mentioned the Winnie the Pooh movie. It's made up of three already released shorts, and only later fused into a movie. So it would be logically of they used watercolors on them.
Or maybe the oil paint became cheaper the first decade after the war, so that it wasn't that hard to add to the production. During the great depression and the war, there was a lot that was hard to get that was taken as granted later.
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