20 Years of Toy Story at FMX 2015

It just so happens that FMX and Toy Story converged 20 years ago, so it was great timing to have a Pixar reunion honoring the first CG-animated feature a couple of weeks ago in Stuttgart, Germany. Illuminator Christophe Hery (who hosted his own presentation on a new lighting path for Finding Dory) moderated a wonderful discussion with Bill Reeves (supervising technical director), Eben Ostby (director of technical artists) and Ralph Eggleston (the production designer who just completed Inside Out).

For animation insiders, it was more celebratory than revelatory, yet it seemed fresh coming from this Pixar trio. As producer Darla Anderson pointed out in an opening tribute clip, they were “building a bridge as they crossed it,” and Toy Story ”humanized animation.”

Eggleston provided the framework with John Lasseter and Joe Ranft, creating the first color script. In fact, a mysterious guy dropped by one night and asked Eggleston to see his color script — it turned out to be Steve Jobs.

Ostby admitted that early on they figured it would be like doing 10 shorts in a row. But they soon discovered that it was analogous to what Walt Disney went through with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: “Using color as color to advance the story,” among other more intricate things.

“From the technology point of view, I felt confident because of the shorts,” Reeves suggested. “But we didn’t have an infrastructure. We needed a tracking system for 1,500 shots [as well as 120,000 frames].”

They built a new animation system and used text-based modeling and brought in the fledgling PowerAnimator from Alias. “It was terrifying…you’d see bits and pieces [of the animation] along the way,” added Eggleston.

Read the rest at Animation Scoop/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Crafts, Events, Movies, Production Design, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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