Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Pixar Touch

I have recently just finished reading the book: 'The Pixar Touch'. It's basically a chronicle of the history and evolution of Pixar Animation Studios and the key people who helped shape the company as we know it today. I bought this book as I have a huge love for Pixar and their films; I had previously been watching videos and any documentaries I could find about the company to find out more about how they came about. However when I came across this book I thought it would be quite interesting to read how someone else would portray them. Through reading this, it not only has opened my eyes to how much Pixar have grown over the years but also the conflicts and problems they occurred along the way. It has also given me a more in depth knowledge to how they started out with a basic technology and progressed it into something that we now take for granted.

The book itself is broken up into chapters, each concentrating on a certain part in the 'Pixar story', whether that be the ultimate beginnings, a specific person, company or film - each chapter is concise and very informative. The first chapter concentrates on a man called Ed Catmull, from a young age he looked up to Walt Disney as inspiration and drew many flip books which he hoped would be in preparation for a future career in cartoons. But as he grew up he realised that his drawing skills would not get him there, however computer animation might. The fact was that computers at that point in time could barely put out still images so this would have been a problem. In 1972 Catmull produced a short animation clip for a graduate course project (See the blog post below), it was amazing for its time and this clip would then be incorporated into the 1976 film 'Futureworld'.

From watching the video itself, you got to see how much work went into making the actual animation, however by reading you get more of an in depth look into the production it. The whole book itself, once it starts going in depth about the films Pixar begin to make, offer you an insight into how much work goes into making each film. Take 'Finding Nemo' for example, Andrew Stanton (director, screenwriter and producer) drafted a version of the story and presented the pitch to John Lasseter during the production of 'A Bug's Life', which was around 1996 - this was 8 years prior to 'Finding Nemo' to actually be released. Most Pixar films tend to take 4-5 years from start to finish, most of that time being spent on the story. Not only do they spend a long time editing the storyline of the film, but to give the artists, animators and engineers reference, they had a twenty-five gallon fish tank bought in filled with a range of saltwater fish. Some members of the team flew out to Hawaii to study the environment underwater, professionals in the field came in and gave talks to the production team; and even two members from the art department climbed into a dead gray whale to prepare for the scene where Marlin and Dory become trapped inside a whale.

The amount of effort and commitment the whole of Pixar put in is incredible. Each film that they bring out pushes the boundaries of computer animation further. Everything they have accomplished is an inspiration and having grown up watching their films I have become more and more engrossed into the animation side of things. The dream one day, would hopefully be to work for them as an animator, but at this moment in time they are my motivation to achieve the best I can. This now, world renowned, successful company started off as nothing, so if they managed to pursue and fight for what they wanted to do, why can't I?

No comments:

Post a Comment