No, Disney (NYSE:DIS) is never too proud when it comes to forging creative alliances. Yesterday, the family-entertainment giant announced that it will team up with Hollywood producer/director Robert Zemeckis to help champion performance-capture technology in theatrical animation.

Unlike the computer-rendered fare that has carved out a cozy living for Disney's Pixar and rival DreamWorks Animation (NYSE:DWA), performance capture involves live actors donning sensors to help create a truer depiction of humans in animated films.

If you caught Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) The Polar Express three years ago and were bedazzled by the inked likeness of Tom Hanks, then you've already seen the handiwork of Zemeckis in this space.

Unfortunately, the movie didn't necessarily vindicate the medium. It proved to be a big hit for IMAX (NASDAQ:IMAX) in its bigger-than-life 3D incarnation, but it took in just $163 million domestically at the box office. That normally wouldn't be too shabby, but the company was handily topped that year by Pixar's The Incredibles and DreamWorks Animation's Shrek 2.

New animation tricks are never enough to carry a film. You need a good story to tell, and you need to tell it well. A Scanner Darkly was one of last year's biggest flops, raking in just $7.7 million in ticket sales worldwide. The flick tried its hand at rotoscoping, in which live action is filmed and then animated over. Yes, it's the same process that Charles Schwab (NASDAQ:SCHW) used in those creepy television commercials last year. The rotoscoping revival, an animation trend that was also popular in a few 1980s New Wave music videos (think A-Ha's "Take on Me"), isn't doing so well in its more lifelike form.

Zemeckis has held up better with performance capture technology. Beyond The Polar Express, he also crafted Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Monster House last summer. Given Zemeckis's studio-hopping ways, one can even argue that Disney playing nice with Zemeckis is a move to keep the acclaimed producer and director close.

There's nothing wrong with that. Capturing performance capture? That's the name of the game.

DreamWorks Animation, Time Warner, and Disney are all Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter recommendations. IMAX is a Rule Breakers stock pick, too.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves the art of animated filmmaking. Yes, he owns shares of DreamWorks Animation and Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.