Zootopia Character Development – #Zootopia

“In Zootopia, anyone can be anything.”

Zootopia Movie Poster

About Zootopia

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything.


But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery.


Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia,” a comedy-adventure directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”)

A trip to the Walt Disney Animation Studios is always a treat, this time I visited the studio to learn more about Zootopia Character Development.

Zootopia - 5 Minutes for Mom - Judy Hopps Badge

I am always in amazement of the lengths the Walt Disney animators will go to in order to make their movie feel as real as possible.

Zootopia Art Gallery

This time, their assignment was to make a buddy movie with animals who walked upright. And this movie features not just a few cute animals but over 50 different species of animals. Can you imagine trying to figure out how all of these animals move in a pair of pants!!! That was the job for these animators, they were on a mission to figure out how to make these animals look natural dressed head-to-toe in a variety of outfits. Some animals are even dressed in 3-piece suits.

During my time at Walt Disney Animation we chatted about the process the animators when through when developing many of the characters.

For example, no two animals really can wear a pair of pants the same. The way pants fit on a cheetah are clearly different than they way they fit an elephant. Duh!

Zootopia - Walt Disney Animation - Animals in Pants

Zootopia - Walt Disney Animation - Arm Movements

Through the process of the movie development the characters change and evolve over time. They need to have the right look in order to fit into their environment.

As you can see, Nick Wilde started out looking the the typical sly fox type of character, but in the end he now has shorter ears and seems less “sly”, but we all know he is still a sly fox.

Zootopia - Walt Disney Animation - Nick Wilde Development

Nick Wilde Development

Zootopia - Walt Disney Animation - Finnick Fox Concept Art

Finnick Character Development

Zootopia - Walt Disney Animation - Judy Hopps Concept Art

Officer Judy Hopps – Character Movement Study

The final part of the presentation was a drawing lesson. While at one time in my life I attended Art School, those true talents didn’t shine through during this 15 minute lesson.

Here is the professional animators drawing.

Zootopia - Walt Disney Animation - Judy Hopps Animators DrawingHere is my crazy looking mushroom head drawing of Officer Judy Hopps.

Zootopia - Dawns drawing of Judy Hopps


Like Zootopia on Facebook, follow @DisneyAnimation on Twitter , and on Instagram.

Zootopia is now in theaters.

Disclaimer: I was invited by Disney to cover the Zootopia Press event for 5 Minutes for Mom and all expenses were paid for but all opinions are my own.

About Dawn

Dawn is a social influencer and has been writing about her nerdy side since 2004. She enjoys writing about Entertainment, Travel, Disney, Star Wars and life with two little girls. Her advice is to keep on dreaming, do what you love and life will lead you a path to your happiness. Dawn also writes for 5 Minutes for Mom.

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