Today, I successfully completed the final elements of the Technology section of this website. The technology section explored all of the tools and technology which allows Pixar to animate and create their films.
Computer animators are artists. While their tools are high-tech, nothing replaces their creative vision.
Pixar has proven time and time again that the process of three-dimensonal computer animation works. Their body of films are not only some of the finest examples of Computer Animation but also possess an exceptional quality of storytelling.
The process of animation is long and complex, and incorporates the use of much technology. A typical Pixar animation takes four to five years to complete. Pixar's filmmaking process is a design process, alternating iterations of planning and implementation, all centred on storytelling.
From completing my major work, I learnt Pixar's process is based on a few simple approaches. Films are visually developed, meaning their process is one that celebrates visual presentation rather than narrative. They use traditional skills, like drawing, painting, sculpture and storytelling in their planning process.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of researching how Pixar uses technology to create their films, and the number of innovations Pixar has brought to the industry. Most importantly, I have come to realise that while their tools are high-tech, nothing replaces their creative vision.
What makes Pixar's characters such successful, diverse figures is their humanity. .
Pixar's goal is not just to make a great animated film or a blockbuster, but to create films and characters that retain significance to the audience. Pixar's stories themselves do not end with the credits, but that we take with us and hold on to aspects of these films for the rest of our lives.
Today I began conducting research into what makes these characters so successful, and how Pixar manages to present them with so much humanity; despite the fact many of them are not human characters.
Pixar's protagonists are flawed, and win the hearts of young and old with their three-dimensional personalities. Maybe their stories play out in an animated reality, but they connect with us because they are us. We are the “underdog,” the “has-been,” the “aspiring artist,” the child who “swam off” to do it on our own, only to find ourselves in great danger.
This truly inspired me.
The ability of Pixar to create, develop and design characters that connect and resonate with me in such a way, is truly incredible. Due to Pixar's genius in character design and development, I have become a huge fan of their work.
Character design is a vital component of Pixar's work. Character is what drives the story and breaths life into a film.
The design of characters for the film begins during the initial stages of the development of the film. Pixar's character designers work with the director as the script is still being written to bring the characters to life.
Through my research, I found that developing a character is a long, difficult, and collaborative process. The connection of the audience to the character is the primary goal when designing a Pixar character. Imbuing the characters with humanity, and focusing on their humanity is vitally important to creating this connection. When designing a character, a Pixar artist needs to know what to exaggerate and what to play down, what to add to give a hint of background and depth, and what to do to develop personality.
Pixar has made many incredible films. Two of my favourite films are Up and
Wall-E. Both these films were exceptional demonstrations of Pixar's artistic ability and their ability to tell a memorable story.
Up is personally one of my favourite Pixar films. It is imaginative, fun, exciting; but also highly emotional and moving. Up proves its power within the first ten minutes. With just a few lines of dialogue, an opening montage introduces us to the main character, Carl, and shows us the story of his life and love with Ellie – from their meeting as children, to their marriage, to their inability to have children and to her death. Those last two elements tell you all you need to know about a film where Pixar once again proved they did not talk down to their audience or shy away from truly emotional, powerful material.The adventure that follows for Carl and a young boy, Russell, who inadvertently tags along is certainly fanciful - Carl gets an entire house to fly using balloons!
Yet infused within this story is an incredible amount of pathos and meaning, as we watch Carl literally carry his burden on his back, as he physically drags that floating house through the jungle, determined to bring it to the place he and Ellie dreamed about.
This is an extremely powerful image I found, as it shows Carl escaping from his life via the balloons and holding onto the past. Furthermore, from an artistic and animation point of view, it is truly beautiful and exquisite.
With WALL-E, Pixar began to flirt with a slightly experimental edge to its filmmaking. What other film studio could offer up a movie with a first act that is almost entirely without dialogue? It is Pixar's willingness to break out of the boundaries of the genre that makes its films so worthwhile.
Another aspect which appealed to me with WALL-E, was the way it explored numerous complex themes, without shying away from them.
WALL-E has undeniable technical and conceptual merits, but it's its emotional core that makes the difference between just another animated film and what this one uniquely offers. It doesn't matter if you think about the movie, only if you feel something while watching it. Ultimately, WALL-E serves its potential audience, that is, everyone, extremely well because it offers older viewers the opportunity to examine its deeper themes while it thrills younger ones with colourful imagery and a fun, simple and most of all beautiful story.
These rules were originally tweeted by Emma Coats, Pixar's story artist. Emma Coats has compiled nuggets of narrative wisdom she's received working for the animation studio over the years. I plan to use them next time I am stuck when writing a story.
Last year I went to a show at the Opera House entitled Inside Pixar. The show was part of the Graphic festival which celebrates the medium of animation in film, television and video games. The show lasted a few houses and was presented by Lee Unkrich. Lee Unkrich is a long time Pixar employee, who at the time, had just finished his first role as a director on the film Toy Story 3. The show took us into the Pixar Studio, and discussed the processes of storyboarding and the use of traditional media in achieving the look and feel of a Pixar film. The show in particular examined colour scripts. Colour scripts are a graphical display of the colour and pallet which will be used in the film. The show further explored the technological advances at Pixar including a number of pieces of software they use to create their computer animation pieces. The show was very informative, interesting and fun. It included many behind the scene videos of the animation process, which would have been perfect to use on my website, but are unavailable for public viewing. At the end of the show, a number of exclusive previews of future Pixar films where shown, including The Good Dinosaur. The show was very professional, and extremely informative and will be useful for completing my Major Work. I also purchased two Pixar art books, The Art of Pixar, an overview of Pixar's artistic style throughout all their films, and The Art of Up, which specifically explores the art of my favourite Pixar film, Up. These art books are full of fantastic images, information and notes from the director which will complement the creation of my website.
Today I conducted some further initial research into Pixar Animation Studios. I researched the studio's complete list of films, and conducted some basic research into their animation process and use of technology. I have discovered the animation process is very complex and incorporates the use of much technology. I also discovered today, that Pixar relies on traditional media in order to complete their films. Initial sketches and drawings supplies inspiration to the animators and helps to create the look and feel of the film. I found a couple of highly inspiring pieces of Pixar art.
I am a huge fan of Pixar's animated films, and the medium of animation as a whole.
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