I love the animation process. From the storyboard artist creating on paper what is going through the story makers minds, to the way they light the scenes, and event the research they put into the way our brain works, there is so much that Pixar puts into their films. The makers of Inside Out even has some new technology to give the characters some fluidity.
While at Pixar, we got to participate in a mock “animation dailies” session with Supervising Animators Shawn Krause & Victor Navone and hear about the inspiration and direction of how Riley’s Emotions were animated. Directing Animator Jamie Roe gave us a demo of how a daily would go, and Story Artist Tony Fucile taught us about the unique “draw overs” that he would do to help the animators address notes from the film’s director Pete Docter.
Pixar Gets Animated with Inside Out
While listening to each of the animators talk about their roles and the process of how they do scene by scene is mind blowing. They shared a video on how dailies typically go. First, all the artist meet in the screening room. It’s like a small theater with the sketch artist placed in the middle area where he can make the edits being mentioned during the session.
They meet typically every morning to show the director, which in this case is Pete Docter, to show off their work in progress. This helps ensure that everyone is keeping to the same vision of the story.
Animation starts after Story has figured out what the scene is and then it goes to layout to set up the cameras for blocking. Animation takes it from there.
In the video they shared with us, it was a great way to see how Pete’s mind was working on keeping the story in sync, wanting to see different angles, and to enhance some of the facial expressions and body movements. From hand placements to the size of the eyes.
When Pete says final, it means next scene. That is always good news for the animators to move on. As being animators, you do have freedom to share ideas. Being creative is highly encouraged.
Here is a bit about each artist and what their role is in the animation process.
TONY FUCILE (Animation Sketch Artist)
Tony joined Pixar Animation Studios in July of 2000 as a character designer on the Academy Award®-winning film “Finding Nemo,” bringing the beloved sea turtle Crush to life. He continued to work as a character designer and as a supervising animator on Oscar®-winning films like “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille” and “Brave.”
Tony shared with us how while notes were being given during a daily, how he would be adding and taking away things as the artist could watch as he would put the edits up on the screen. It’s such a tedious process. Just a few seconds of the film can take weeks to have ready to go on to the next step.
SHAWN KRAUSE (Supervising Animator)
Shawn joined Pixar Animation Studios in October 1994 as an animator and layout artist for Pixar’s first feature “Toy Story.” He then went on to work as an animator on a number of Pixar’s feature films, including “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monster, Inc.” and “Cars.” Krause also was an animator for the Academy Award®-winning features “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles.” In addition to his work on feature films, Krause contributed his animation talents to the short film “Jack-Jack Attack,” released on DVD with “The Incredibles.” He also took a short break from working on film to head up the animation team on the creation of “The Seas with Nemo and Friends,” an attraction at the Epcot Theme Park at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Shawn elaborated on how the director really likes for the animators to have some input. The best ideas really do win!
VICTOR NAVONE (Animator)
Victor began working as an animator at Pixar Animation Studios in March 2000. “Monsters, Inc.” was his first project at the studio and Navone has worked on almost every Pixar feature film since then, including “Cars,” and the Academy Award®-winning films “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “WALL•E,” “Toy Story 3” and “Brave.” In addition to his work as an animator, Navone has worked alongside John Lasseter and Rob Gibbs as co-director on a number of the “Cars Toon” short films including “Rescue Squad Mater,” “Mater the Greater,” “El Materdor” and “Tokyo Mater.”
Victor shared how they are in animation for longer than a year and a half. Dailies are so important in the process to keep everyone on task.
JAIME ROE (Directing Animator)
Jaime started with Pixar Animation Studios as an animation intern in June 2004 and joined the studio in October 2004. Roe first worked on the Golden Globe®-winning feature film “Cars” as a background animator on characters and crowds, and then as a character animator for Academy Award®-winning features “Ratatouille” and “WALL•E.” She worked in animation and pre-production for Oscar® winners “Toy Story 3” and “Brave.” In 2007, Roe won a Visual Effects Society award for outstanding animated character for her work on Colette in “Ratatouille,” and was nominated for an Annie Award for her work on 2013’s “Brave.”
Jaime talked about how they do the layouts for the characters in the scene. Thinking about where the character will stand. Which way they will move, where they are looking…it’s just like making a real life movie, but really more difficult in the sense of time and patience. However, you get to have the look exactly as you want it to be.