Thursday, June 1, 2017

Learning about Pixar's Production Pipeline and The Next Generation in Cars 3! #Cars3Event

As you all know, Cars 3 has been a big topic of discussion here on The Small Things. I went on the press trip of a lifetime for this movie. From learning about The Story of Our Story, to Press Day At Sonoma, as well as touring Pixar Campus, we learned about so much! The common denominator with all of these was in fact Cars 3. We were also able to learn about Pixar's Production Pipeline as well as The Next Generation in Cars 3. This post may contain spoilers, so you have been warned. 

We learned about Cars 3 production from start to finish. I was stoked to see the presentation from three amazing people! When you learn more about stories behind the scenes, you get more of an appeciation for it.  Meet the people behind the scenes that you are going to learn more about what they did for this movie and Pixar in general! I want to give you a little but of insight and teach you a few things that I learned!
Bobby Podesta is photographed on January 24, 2017 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar) 
Bobby Podesta (Supervising Animator)
Ratatouille Supervising Technical Director Michael Fong has his headshot taken on March 14, 2007 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)
Michael Fong (Supervising Technical Director) 
"Cars 3" Effects Supervisor Jon Reisch is photographed on December 14, 2016 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)
Jon Reisch (Effects Supervisor)

When Bobby Podesta was doing his presentation, we learned that he was on the first cars movie for 4.5 years. He told us that there are a couple of things in working in Pixar from the beginning that the stories being  hold always have something relatable. He gave examples like Luxo Junior and the logo. Being a lamp you can touch. He also spoke of Finding Dory and how she is a fish in the world, in the ocean and it's the sale in the air. He said that not only do these stories have to be tangible but they have to have emotional relatability.
It’s not just a story about a lamp, but it’s a story about being a parent. And it’s not a story about being a fish; it’s a story about overcoming your obstacles.
The "Cars 3" Long Lead Press Days, held at Sonoma Raceway, including presentations by Effects Supervisor Jon Reisch, (seen here) Supervising Animator Bobby Podesta and Supervising Technical Director Michael Fong, held on March 28, 2017 in Sonoma, Calif. (Photo by Marc Flores)

For Cars 3, they wanted something that is tangible in a couple of ways. We learned that it starts by creating a world that is visual. You are going to see characters that look as good as the cars you pass by out there (referring to Sonoma Raceway). Cars 3 was made for computer animation. The thing they built in all of the stories is really trying to make something that is emotionally relatable. He talked about being at a racetrack and what is better than something emotionally relatable like a demolition derby (SPOILER). What does this have to do with anything?
If you ever come to a crossroads in your life, a place where you’re just not sure where to go and you’re really feeling like you’re out of your element, like this is really the key this is the story.

McQueen had to come to this at some point.
The "Cars 3" Long Lead Press Days, held at Sonoma Raceway, including presentations by Effects Supervisor Jon Reisch, Supervising Animator Bobby Podesta and Supervising Technical Director Michael Fong, held on March 28, 2017 in Sonoma, Calif. (Photo by Marc Flores)

We learned from Jon Reisch, the effects supervisor on Cars 3. They are responsible in the effects department for all of the natural phenomena you see. Water, fire, smoke, dust, debris and more. They are responsible for the mud you will see in a Thunder Hollow in the movie. This mud was one of the toughest challenges for them. The emotionally tangible part of this would be for example when characters CAN get hurt. When MxQueen tumbles end over end and you see sparks and trailing engine smoke- that is what his team is responsible for. 

How do they make this happen? They use physical simulation software. They use physical parameters to put into the simulation. They see whether or not the car is in traction, how fast wheels are spinning and more. They are responsible for SO much. Back to the mud- they did lots of crazy research for this. I mean you do not realize how much time is put into this until you hear him talk about it.
The "Cars 3" Long Lead Press Days, held at Sonoma Raceway, including presentations by Effects Supervisor Jon Reisch, Supervising Animator Bobby Podesta and Supervising Technical Director Michael Fong, held on March 28, 2017 in Sonoma, Calif. (Photo by Marc Flores)

Michael Fong talked to us and he is supervising technical director of cars 3. At Pixar STORY IS KING. What does it really mean? This effects every department. Everything that Bobby's animators do and Jon's effects artists fo has in-service with story telling. For example, the collisions and explosions that you will see in the movie- it needs to sell to the audience that McQueen is out of his element and he is running for his life. If explosions are too big they turn them down so that the story is coming across and the story is coming through by the acting. The story point of the crazy 8 sequence is that McQueen is out of his element and he is overwhelmed with fear anger and embarrassment and he is already afraid for his career. This will drive a wedge between him and Cruz in the movie and it is that fear he uses to lash out at Cruz. You will see this play out when you watch the movie. 
Making Cars 3 more realistic is a big thing they did. The effects and realizm is AMAZING.
CRAZY 8 DRAMA — In “Cars 3,” Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) hits the road in an effort to reignite his career. Along the way, he finds himself in the middle of a smash-and-crash, figure-8 race, facing off against local legend Miss Fritter, a formidable school bus who—like #95 himself—doesn’t like to lose. Featuring Lea DeLaria (Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”) as the voice of Miss Fritter, Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 3” opens in U.S. theaters on June 16, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

See how real the mud looks like I was talking about above? If you watch Cars and Cars 2 and then 3, you are going to notice a HUGE difference in how much more realistic the cars are. They have small scratches. You are going to see where numbers are painted on some cars and you can see brush strokes and more! The production is AMAZING. 

The Next Generation 
We learned about the next generation of cars in Cars 3 from several amazing people on this trip.
The "Cars 3" Long Lead Press Days, held at Sonoma Raceway, including presentations by Directing Animator Jude Brownbill, Production Designer Jay Shuster and Characters Supervisor Michael Comet, held on March 28, 2017 in Sonoma, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

In the world of Cars, the materials define the character. in 2006 when the first film came out. they designed McQueen to make every racer look outdated and now in Cars 3. McQueen is back better than ever with is classic race trip and new graphics. The new generation is amazing too.

They needed to design McQueen's rival whom would be a next generation racer who would push McQueen to the bring of extinction. the idea was to make Jackson storm. The idea was to start with a blank sheet of paper and shape, paint and graphic to create a character that contradicts McQueen in every day. 
CARS 3 (Pictured) - Concept art for Jackson Storm by Production Designer Jay Shuster. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

They do 100s of sketches. McQueen is round and flowing so Storm had to be angular and sharp. They take pictures of sculpts and draw over top of them. This is called overlays. This is amazing how they do this process.

For Cruz Ramirez she was a very different design altogether. They started with a blank sheet of paper on her too. They wanted Cruz to be as most Americal muscle as possible. They also wanted a European sports coupe esthetic. She is not a racecar but a strong female character that has to meet the NexFen racers at their level.
CARS 3 (Pictured) - Cruz Ramirez visual development progression. Design by Bob Pauley, Model by Andrew Schmidt and Sculpt by Jerome Ranft. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

They wanted Cruz to live somewhere between McQueen and Storm. Enough hard edges to look modern yet with more flowing elegant shapes. I was excited to see how they made this movie and how they did this overall. I am so thrilled to give you a little bit of insight on the process and how things are done too! 

Cars 3 is in theaters June 16, 2017. 
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