Tag: Pixar

The Real Fake Cameras Of Toy Story 4

Very good video on using virtual cameras in animation.

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Duet Festival Screenings

We have a couple of updates about Duet, the recent film by Glen Keane.

The film is part of the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival 16 – 21 September 2014 Bristol, UK. Duet will be shown Friday Sept. 19.

Encounters Festival is the UK’s leading short film and animation festival, and the annual meeting place for filmmakers and industry professionals.  Based in Bristol, UK, Encounters runs a six day festival in September and its main venues are Watershed and Arnolfini, on Bristol’s scenic Harbourside.

In 2014 Encounters Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary. DOWNLOAD THE 2014 FESTIVAL GUIDE HERE.

 

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Duet will be shown VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy in a presentation called The Duet of Tech and Art – How technology and artistry elevates us to a higher place.

Keynote presentations will be given by Glen Keane as well as Pixar Co-Founder Dr. Alvy Ray Smith. Smith co-invented the concept of the alpha channel and directed the milestone “Genesis Demo” in the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. His website is here.

About Glen Keane:

Glen Keane is known for drawing and animating the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the BeastTarzan,and Aladdin. Recently, through Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, he directed and created Duet, now available as a cinematic version of a future, interactive, hand-drawn animated story for mobile phones.

Acclaimed animator Glen Keane unveiled a first look at his latest and most personal project to date, DUET, as part of a special ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects). Animated in its entirety and directed by Glen Keane (former Disney animator and creator of such beloved characters as Ariel, Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan and Rapunzel), DUET tells the story of Mia and Tosh and how their individual paths in life weave together to create an inspired duet. The unique, interactive nature of the story allows the viewer to seamlessly follow the journey of either of the two characters from birth to adulthood. DUET is the third in a series of Spotlight Stories, which is a new way of telling stories on mobile devices. The stories blend world-class artistry with innovative rendering and interaction technology for mobile to create a new canvas for the next generation of storytelling. DUET is the first traditionally animated, hand-drawn film to debut as a Spotlight Story. The film offers a glimpse into what’s possible on mobile devices, a rich,modern canvas for creative expression and immersive works of art and technology.

DUET will officially launch later this year and will be available on all capable devices with proper hardware capabilities and OS version higher than Android 4.2.

A 38-year veteran of Walt Disney Feature Animation, Glen Keane is most noted for creating and animating such legendary Disney characters as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”, Aladdin, Pocahontas, the Beast from “Beauty and the Beast”, and Tarzan. Glen also served as Supervising Animator and Executive Producer on Disney’s 2010 box office hit, “Tangled”. In the spring of 2012, Glen decided to leave Disney Studios in pursuit of further artistic exploration. In his departure letter he stated: “I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate art form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist its siren call to step out and discover them.” In 2013, he launched Glen Keane Productions to pursue his personal projects.

 

Ed Catmull’s new book Creativity, Inc about Pixar

I have pre-ordered it! Cartoon Brew has a review.

Ed Catmull, Pixar

As a young man, Catmull had a dream: to make the world’s first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream first as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged an early partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later and against all odds, Toy Storywas released, changing animation forever. The essential ingredient in that movie’s success—and in the thirteen movies that followed, all of which debuted at #1 at the box office—was the unique environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, based on philosophies that protect the creative process and ideas that defy convention, such as:

 

• Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.

 

• If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.

 

• It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them.

 

• The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.

 

• A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.

 

• Do not assume that general agreement will lead to change—it takes substantial energy to move a group, even when all are on board.

 

Here is an excerpt from Fast Company,

A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms. Our decision making is better when we draw on the collective knowledge and unvarnished opinions of the group. Candor is the key to collaborating effectively. Lack of candor leads to dysfunctional environments. So how can a manager ensure that his or her working group, department, or company embraces candor? By putting mechanisms in place that explicitly say it is valuable. One of Pixar’s key mechanisms is the Braintrust, which we rely on to push us toward excellence and to root out mediocrity. It is our primary delivery system for straight talk. The Braintrust meets every few months or so to assess each movie we’re making. Its premise is simple: Put smart, passionate people in a room together, charge them with identifying and solving problems, and encourage them to be candid. The Braintrust is not foolproof, but when we get it right, the results are phenomenal.

 

While I attend and participate in almost all Braintrust meetings, I see my primary role as making sure that the compact upon which the meetings are based is protected and upheld. This part of our job is never done because you can’t totally eliminate the blocks to candor. The fear of saying something stupid and looking bad, of offending someone or being intimidated, of retaliating or being retaliated against—they all have a way of reasserting themselves. And when they do, you must address them squarely.

 

The Braintrust developed organically out of the rare working relationship among the five men who led and edited the production of Toy Story—John Lasseter,Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, and Joe Ranft. From Pixar’s earliest days, this quintet gave us a solid model of a highly functional working group. They were funny, focused, smart, and relentlessly candid when arguing with each other. Most crucially, they never allowed themselves to be thwarted by the kinds of structural or personal issues that can render meaningful communication in a group impossible. After the release ofToy Story 2 [when the Braintrust helped turn around a film in danger of foundering], the Braintrust evolved from a tight, well-defined group working on a single film into a larger, more fluid group. Over the years, its ranks have grown to include a variety of people—directors, writers, and heads of story—whose only requirement is that they display a knack for storytelling. The one thing that has never changed is the demand for candor.

Update: from the TAG blog, “Not quite the kindly and avuncular studio head depicted in all those sunny books about the animation business.”

A113—it had no windows and no door.

Very interesting article from Vanity Fair about the very talented Cal Arts students that went on to do so much.

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