Saturday, August 29, 2009

Characters I Modeled for the Shorts "Lifted", "One Man Band" and "Boundin'"

I thoroughly enjoyed working on these shorts. The crews were smaller. Our time was precious because we were usually between films and could ramp onto a feature at anytime, and our resources were limited, which ultimately made us think more creatively. Working with the directors Gary Rydstrom (Lifted), Mark Andrews and Andrew Jiminez (One Man Band) and Bud Luckey (Boundin') was some of the best times I had at Pixar! They were fabulous to work with! One of the highlights of working at Pixar was the chance to work with the legendary Bud Luckey. Did you know Bud animated and sang on a lot of the old Sesame Street animated shorts? Check them out on youtube...

Working on The Incredibles

I had an awesome time working on The Incredibles. My favorite characters to model were Rick Dicker, Jack Jack and Syndrome. I was fortunate to be asked to sculpt the Syndrome clay expression maquettes. I first sculpted the neutral head where the face is quite relaxed. This was then sent off to have a mold made. Two clay heads were cast from that head mold, and I used these clay copies to resculpt Syndrome into the squash smiling and the stretch screaming poses you see here.
My last assignment on The Incredibles was a large sculpture of Nomanisan Island. The dimensions were approximately 4' x 4' x 2.5'. This model was really helpful in blocking in the 100 mile dash sequence. Unfortunately I have no photographs of the sculpture and the last time I saw it in the hallways at Pixar it was looking the worse for wear.
Jack Jack was the first character I modeled and put into the pipeline. I loved the character design on him. I was asked to make his body muscular similar to that of a little gorilla.
When I came on board the Art Department a large resin cast had already been made of Helen's head. I was asked to model her body. Her forms had to be motherly with the wider hips, whilst maintaining a certain sexiness to the shapes.
Rick Dicker was great fun to work on. We were going for a Nixon like quality to his forms. The children you see here were to be Dashes classmates. Unfortunately due to time and budget constraints, they eventually got mothballed.
This was an early preproduction model of Buddy Pine I worked on. The final Buddy Pine was later modeled by Brian Tindal. I did model these boots which are the same as in the final film.
Snug the pilot was originally to have a larger role in the film, but his role was largely cut to make the story tighter. We were in the middle of working on his scene in which he dies in the plane crash when 911 happened. Although the scene in which Helen and the kids get shot out of the sky is intense, having Snug die was just too much and was ultimately cut from the story.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The King

This is a little mpeg of a maquette I sculpted for Space Chimps. This was to be the original King. the puppets on his hands were his advisors and made for some very funny gags... all of which got scrapped. Thanks to Steerling Sheehy for doing the stop mo for me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A few words about working on Ratatouille. The approach taken on this film really required a collaborative environment. All the characters you see here I worked on, but as it was a collective effort all the character modelers had a hand in finishing them. We started the humans with Larousse. When modeling the character you need to create a mesh, much like what chicken wire looks like, stretched over the form. That network, of lines and points is called, the base mesh and the flow of the lines is called the topology. Every single one of the humans had the same topology (line flow). Once the topology had been determined for Larousse, we had to create the shape for the next character by pushing around the points of the mesh. We could take Larousses mesh only so far in creating the next mesh as each character had it's own unique features and it wasn't always possible to define the form using the Larousse mesh. So we added more vertices(points) and lines to the mesh to create the more complex human shapes. In order to maintain a standard topology between all the characters, we had to propogate that topology through all the existing meshes. So there was a lot of back and forth whilst updating and maintaining a consistent topology. This took a great deal of time in the beginning, but it resulted in a huge time saving for the rigging department. We used the same process when modeling the rats. We were not really sure if we were finished with the characters until we arrived at the final character of each species.

The following slides are of Remy, Linguini, Colette, Gusteaus, Lalo, Larousse, Baby Rat, Desiree, and Celine.

Ice Age Character Models and Various Toy Prototypes for Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount and Thinkway Toys