On this day in 1989, Disney's 28th animated feature The Little Mermaid was released in Los Angeles and New York City. It was the first Disney animated feature in three decades to be based on a classic fairy tale (the last being Sleepy Beauty). The Little Mermaid was also the first animated feature to be produced using the Computer Animation Production System (or CAPS for short). CAPS was a collection of software programs, scanning camera systems, servers, networked computer workstations, and custom desks developed by Disney and Pixar. It was the first digital ink-and-paint system used in animated feature films - designed to replace the expensive process of transferring animated drawings to cels. The very first usage of the CAPS process was Mickey standing on the Epcot Sphere for "The Magical World of Disney" titles. But the system's first feature film use was in The Little Mermaid. Most notably in the final scene, where the main characters depart under a rainbow - the rest of the film used traditional painted cels. (Subsequent films like The Rescuers Down Under used CAPS completely.) In 1992, the team that developed CAPS won an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scientific and Engineering Award.
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