In 1940 just after Ub's studio had closed he was starting to lose his motivation to animate according to his granddaughter because 'It was just like bowling to him: he had done it; he had mastered it; so he wanted to move on. His mind as this point was more interested in the technical side of film making.' There were rumours at the time that said the friendship was rocky when Walt decided to hire Ub again but this wasn't the case as they had gone through a lot together by this point and were old friends and Walt wouldn't have hired him again. He was paying him $75 a week which considering the financial situation in America at the time was good money. Leslie goes on to to talk about their friendship and says that 'They just fueled each other, inspired each other. Ub would work on some new technique and Walt would look at it and figure a way to use it in their next film. Conversely if Walt came up with an idea for a film, say, or a ride at Disneyland, he would turn to UB to come up with a means of making it happen. So it was a great balance between the two of them.
Ub was given his own lab at Disney and he got straight to work as he had new technical challenges to fuel his motivation to work.
His first major breakthrough that helped save Disney's company and staff time and money was the process of Xeroing. Which was a die process which involved using a machine that would die the drawings done by Ub or another animator into the cells which they would then compile to make the finished short/film. This was the process and machine that allowed Disney to create all the spotted dogs in 101 Dalmatians.
He then came up with a new matte system which allowed for the movement of the birds in Mary Poppins as it would have taken to long to teach the birds what to do if they were going to film live action. Below is a video I found on this system and its amazing to think they could do that back then as the technology was really just getting started.
It's not surprising after watching this video that Ub worked behind the scenes on many of Disney's films and other companies films doing all the technical work that then earned him two Oscar wins for his technical breakthroughs. Doing something like that today is a lot harder to achieve as technology has changed and developed so much inventing something new and as intuitive as Ub's inventions is nearly impossible, I think anyway.
Geo Interview (n.d.) Remembering Ub Iwerks,[online] Available at: http://www.crazycollege.org/IwerksFilmFax.htm [Accessed: Wednesday 18th january 2012].
Tv Tropes (n.d.) Ub Iwerks,[online] Available at: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UbIwerks [Accessed: Wednesday 18th January 2012].
Animation Studio (n.d.) The Animation of Ub Iwerks, [online] Available at: http://www.thegreat1930s.com/ubiwerks/ [Accessed: Wednesday 18th January 2012].
muppetspuppets (2007) Walt Disney Ainimatronics. [video online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_rHEnrT4I4 [Accessed: Wednesday 18th January 2012].