I was sent on an all-expense paid trip to San Francisco for Disney/Pixar at the Sonoma Raceway for Cars 3! All opinions are 100% my own.
CARS 3 races into theaters everywhere on June 16th!
Don’t miss any of my previous CARS 3 POSTS HERE!
Don’t miss the trailer!
One session – The Next Generation: Art, was led by 3 amazing people:
- Jay Schuster: Production designer on Cars 3, Character Design
- Michael Comet: Character Supervisor
- Jude Brownbill: Directing Animator
Again, I could tell you EVERYTHING that was said, but I will just share the most important things I learned and how they shaped the story, characters and effects of Cars 3!
Jay talked about Character Design– it was fascinating to learn how each character takes shape!
- McQueen is round and flowing. He had a more upright posture.
- Storm had to be angular and sharp with a super low profile and aggressive shape.
- Cruz was a unique design challenge. They wanted an American Muscle Car but influenced by more European sports car stylings.
“We are constantly reminding ourselves with these designs that it’s characters first and vehicles second.”
Did you know:
- We work in clay. You can’t cheat in clay. These are characters not just vehicles. Even with the clay sculpt, we’re taking photos of that and overlaying sketches on top of that to push the design forward.
Michael talked about the Character department.
“The character team is essentially responsible for taking the concept art out of the art department and bringing it into the computer and providing it to downstream departments like animation.”
Did you know?
- The software is so realistic for Cars 3 that in some cases, they had to animate cars that were offscreen just because you could see them in the reflection, because these cars are so shiny.
- Do you know how they successfully shade all the characters? We try to ground ourselves in the real world so we went to the Blackhawk Auto Museum for reference. We came out here to Sonoma raceway to do hot laps. We also went to the San Francisco auto show and we also looked at cars and a real parking lot.
- In Cars 3, we really blocked out the headlights compared to previous films because we are trying to keep things more true, more like real metal or steel.
Jude talked about one of my favorite parts- animation!
“We knew that the story for Cars 3 was very emotionally grounded and then we were seeing these renders coming out that were very visually grounded. We knew that our animation had to live in incredible detail in the world that we created.”
What can animation do to support the uniqueness of each character?
There are 3 ways:
- One is the way they look. And for us, we can control the shape of their mouth and the shape of their lips.
- Then there’s the way that they move on the track.
- And then the way that they act. The way they behave. The choices they make.
Another Session-Production Pipeline was led by”
- Bobby Podesta: Supervising Animator
- Michael Fong: Supervising Technical Director
- Jon Reisch: Effects Supervisor
Bobby taught us that relate-ability is really tangible. Animation is not just visually tangible but also emotionally tangible. How does that happen? Research is key! The character is first then the story artist makes boards, gag sessions and more to make drawings and make animations. They build layers upon layers! They all learned to TRUST THE PROCESS!
Jon talked about effects and natural phenomenon.
“In the effects department at Pixar, we are primarily responsible for all the natural phenomenon you see in the world so basically water, fire, smoke, sand, dust and debris, anything that are characters interact with in this really rich and complex world that we have constructed for Cars 3.”
Did you know?
- Mud was one of the biggest challenges for us on the film. But is one of those substances that it’s not really a liquid, it’s not really solid, it’s somewhere in between most of the time.
- Ultimately, we are at our best in effects when the effects we are creating are supporting the story line!
Michael taught us more about why Story is King!
“The Story is King mantra actually affects a lot of different departments. In fact it affects every department at Pixar including the technical ones, in significant ways. In its most obvious form story is king is about the story. It’s the most important aspect of the movie. It means that everything that Bobby’s animators do and Jon’s effect artists do has in-service with the storytelling. ”
Did you know?
- They don’t actually don’t want photo real for Cars 3. You will hear the term photo real a lot, but we actually don’t want it. What we want is directed realism and the reason why is because photo real or reality is not always aesthetically pleasing.
- We break physics because we want to make sure that the acting is always coming across. So we leave as much as we can of the real physics and the lights going by on the signs, but around his mouth area, we actually tone it all down.
- We have built our entire production pipeline around the idea that story has to constantly be improving. In order to do so, technical and other departments must be able to absorb these changes and even start work at anytime.
Michael summed it up nicely: “The grounding in the acting, the truth to materials, the visual realism in the effects, it’s all there to make the storytelling that more tangible and relatable to life. This is where we come from when we say story is king. We are trying to engage in that story.”
Don’t forget- Cars 3 Opens in 3D June 16th in Theaters EVERYWHERE!
Be sure to stay connected socially for ALL of the latest information and be sure to RACE to the theaters on June 16th!!