Clipping The Blue Umbrella

In honor of the upcoming Blu-ray combo release of Monsters University (Oct. 29, Disney Home Ent.), here’s the opening act of The Blue Umbrella short, Saschka Unseld’s sublime experiment in photorealism.

The great thing about The Blue Umbrella, though, is that it’s a new kind of enchantment for Pixar. Imagine animating The Umbrellas of Cherbourg from the umbrellas’ point of view, only the city comes alive at night in a symphony of rain with expressive faces everywhere (from buildings to windows to street signs to lamp posts to traffic signals), bolstered by a lovely score by Jon Brion (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

It all began for technical director Unseld (BraveToy Story 3) when he got depressed seeing a discarded umbrella in a San Francisco gutter. One thing led to another and suddenly the German animator and Filmakademie alum was directing Pixar’s first live action-looking work, inspired by the intense use of color in Black Narcissus and the neon lyricism of Chungking Express. But The Blue Umbrella possesses an urban aesthetic all its own with dramatic use of shadows and shallow depth of field as if foreground objects were photographed through a pane of glass.

Using natural light and concentrating on simple colors (the blue and red in a sea of other black umbrellas) provides texture and an unpolished look that is not used often enough in CG. The city has a lived-in quality that’s out of the past yet still timeless.

Read the rest at Animation Scoop/Indiewire.


Blue Umbrella Opening Clip – Monsters University Short on Disney Video

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Blu-ray, Clips, Movies, Shorts, VFX, Virtual Production

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