How Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 4’ Was Animated | Movies Insider

How Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 4’ Was Animated | Movies Insider



if you've seen Toy Story 4 you've probably noticed that Pixar's animation doesn't neglect any detail no matter how small from dust particles in the antique shop to subtle signs of aging on the toys it's all there rendered incredibly realistically on the big screen so how exactly did Pixar bringing this intricate world to life let's take a look at the fascinating process that created Toy Story 4 from start to finish for Toy Story 4 as for all Pixar films story comes first while the writers draft the script story artists work alongside them making preliminary sketches for each scene in the film these sketches called storyboards give the Pixar team an idea of how each scene will go down editor's then cut the storyboards together into an animatic or story reel it's basically a long detailed flip book that reflects the pace of each sequence the story reel is edited with rudimentary sound effects a scratch soundtrack and temporary dialogue that's been pre-recorded by Pixar employees it serves as a rough draft for the movie allowing the filmmakers to get an idea of how the story will unfold and hone the sequences before having them animated once the storyline is set the art department and production designers get together to create concept art for the characters and their environments meanwhile character artists lay out how each toy will look in the film for Toy Story 4 character design involved a lot of research into the toys themselves how they're made how they age and everything in between the character team found their perfect villain on field trips to antique shops where they'd often spot vintage dolls lurking in corners there the idea for Gabby Gabby was born this newcomer is a talking doll from the 1950s and she's designed to come off as very toy lake in a way that might even give you the creeps at first on the other hand it's all warm fuzzies when we meet duckie and bunny a pair of carnival prize toys voiced by keegan-michael key and Jordan Peele they're loud bright colors cheap-looking plush and Sheen finish were designed to look authentic for the kind of toy you'd win at a carnival game not the highest in quality but loveable nonetheless the character artists also decide on wardrobe they steer clear from any major changes to most of the toys signature costumes but they wanted to update Bo peeps look to reflect her resourcefulness and sense of adventure aspects of her character that weren't fully explored in the earlier toy stories so they came up with a convertible costume that allowed boat to repurpose elements of her outfit on-the-fly even turning her dress into a bag or a cape when it suits her another key step in the visual development of the film is the creation of color scripts these digital illustrations that kind of look like impressionist paintings from the 19th century each picture depicts a single frame in the movie helping filmmakers start to define the style lighting scheme and general mood of each shot and figure out how the colors in each scene will relate to the overall storyline all of these illustrations provide reference material for the next stage of computer modeling this is when the toys and their environments begin to take form in three-dimensional space modeling artists take the basic shapes of the characters sets and props and mold them into a 3d mesh then sculpt and refine these builds until they're satisfied in constructing the sets scale was a chief concern as the artist wanted to accurately represent the diminutive size of the toys relative to their surroundings to nail down that contrast they photographed models of the toys interacting with objects out in the real world then use those photos for reference the character models require an extra step so how long is this gonna take art they get rigged with a moveable skeleton which has controls placed around its face its joints and the rest of its body like a really advanced digital puppet animators will then be able to manipulate the character's movement using its unique set of controls making it act and emote in precise ways as the story requires so the characters can now move and they have sets to move around in but something's missing neither the characters nor their sets have any surface characteristics making everything kind of fall flat that's where shading or surfacing comes in shading artists job is to furnish the 3d models with the kind of textures finishes and tints they'd have in real life lending them visual complexity and charm some of this work is done using shaders computer programs that know how to simulate a range of materials like plastic fabric metal wood glass hair or skin clever software proved useful for the 10,000 items that filled the antique shop shading art director Laura Phillips said her team save time by developing a language of three different ages for the many items in the store fairly new moderately aged and extremely aged they applied varying degrees of texture to the objects according to that visual language but a lot of the shading was done by hand especially for the most central and visible items like the carnival game where Buzz accidentally lands himself the SATs team reasoned that in a traveling carnival games like this one would have to be quickly assembled torn down and stowed away so they'd probably look a little beat enough to capture that artist painted welding marks on the grid backdrop of the booth this fit the game's shabby look with its slightly warped metal bars and visible rusting of course special attention was also lavished on the shading of the characters for plastic toys like Woody and Buzz the shading artist created an algorithm to simulate the effect of light penetrating a slightly translucent surface such as plastic meanwhile they added subtle signs of wear and tear to the toys to reflect their histories the threads on Woody's clothes have started fraying there are dirt smudges on his hand and chin and the seam on his vest has worn thin buzz has plenty of scratches of his own especially near his joints and his stickers have begun to bubble pucker and peel you can also see felts poking out of certain spots on Jesse's hat these specific scuffs towards the front of Gabby's shoes could only results from the distinct walking style of an older Dalek her the scratch effect on 40 streaks indicates his past life as an eating utensil and Bo's porcelain shows signs of crazing the type of micro cracks that appear in the glaze of ceramics now that the characters have started looking more tangible and real the cast members visit the studio to record their voice performances the sessions are filmed so that the actors expressions can guide their characters facial animations later on before that though is layout when the characters are set up in front of a virtual camera layout artists in an animated movie functions similarly as a camera team would in any live-action movie guided by the storyboards they place the characters appearing in a scene into the appropriate set arrange the characters in front of the camera and block out their basic movements within the right camera angles at this point the sets may not be completely dressed yet meaning more props might be added later on but layout helps us set dressers determine the best placement of every object within the composition of each shot once the scenes have been staged the animation team gets them moving bringing all the primary and secondary characters to life each character is defined by up to 1000 Avars or hinges that are built into their skeleton if the animators are like puppeteers and the characters are their puppets the Avars represent the strings on a puppet points of possible movement that the animators manipulate to make their characters act and a mode every day the animation Department comes together to analyze the 1 or 2 seconds of film they've just put into motion and talk about ways they can make those few seconds even more expressive since the shots and Pixar films are so complex it can take 8 weeks or more to animate a single shot the character animation is also highly specific the wage character moves in Toy Story 4 was informed by what type of toy they were and what personality traits they gave off the story and character artists imagined the bo-peep of Toy Story 4 as a kind of graceful agile road warrior so the animators look to reference footage of ballroom dancers Sharna Burgess gymnast Aly Raisman and the bride from Kill Bill the weibo wields her shepherd's hook was informed by footage of javelin throwers martial arts pros and of course ray from Star Wars in contrast animators gave Gabby Gabby more doll-like movements that be consistent with an old fashioned pull-string doll of her variety her weighted eyes blinked slowly closing when she's horizontal and she mostly moves from joints and her hips shoulders and neck while the animation team choreographs characters movements and facial expressions by hands the simulation team uses computer programs to lay down the movement of other elements like fur weather or clothing these phenomena interact with other components of a shot in ways that are largely defined by science how much does a cat's hair move how fast do raindrops fall how much does a specific garment shrink or stretch pixar builds physics-based simulators that govern how these textures should behave on screen this saves the animators from doing impossible tasks by hand like for instance animating each strand of hair on Gabby's head individually of course simulation isn't solely dictated by science the sim team balances math and physics against artistic considerations one example is the fur on ducky and bunny its behavior is largely based on ostrich feathers and the fake feathers used on the Muppets but according to simulation supervisor Henry Garcia they found that duckies tuft was 10 percent funnier if they let it stay alive a little bit longer after he stops moving the result is adorable once the motion feels alive and believable the lighting team comes in to illuminate the characters and sets using software that mimics the physics of light Pixar adds hundreds of virtual light sources to each scene the lights are strategically placed to draw attention to story points or to cultivate a certain mood the antique shop for example appears bright towards the front but gross dark as you move deeper into the store heightening the drama tonal variation is important Bonnie's school appears cool and intimidating at first but that changes once she gets to her classroom there's warm light streaming through the window where she creates porky emphasizing the birth of new life the carnival lighting establishes a very different energy with multicolored marquee lights and ferris wheel lights creating a sense of chaos and excitement and inside the pinball machine low level lighting and fog create a cool aura making it feel like an ideal hangout spot for the toys after all the images are lit rendering gets underway this is when all of the digital data that makes up the motion picture gets translated into actual frames of film 24 of them for each second of the movie at last it's time for the final touches on shading lighting and effects it's up to the effects artist to perfect the amount of dust and atmosphere in each image varying the levels until they get their ideal look that of course depends on setting they wanted a lot of dust particulates in the antique shop while at the carnival they emphasize the dirt kicked up from the ground they also gave the air around the toys a richer texture than the air around the human characters to highlight just how tiny these toys really were after the final frames are rendered the film gets scored and sound mixed five years and many many late nights later the fourth Toy Story is finally ready for viewing Pixar's painstaking attention to detail draws the audience into the unique world perspective of the toys and makes watching Toy Story 4 a totally immersive experience

47 thoughts on “How Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 4’ Was Animated | Movies Insider

  1. I remember when this kind of stuff was in the "Bonus Features" section on the DVD. It's just as interesting here on YouTube as it was back then on Disc 2!

  2. Thank you so much for this video. I'm thinking of going to school for animation, but didn't know where in the process would I like to fit in whenever I graduate. Looks like I prefer to be a part of the beginning third of making a Pixar film.

  3. THANK YOU for such a detailed video. As someone who's in animation, it absolutely drives me up the wall when audiences think "animators" are responsible for literally everything… NO!!!

  4. One step in animation that was missed in this video: Stereo! There is a dedicated team for processing the film so it can be watched in 3D with glasses. It is usually a post-production technique, but a great film considers the stereo placement of characters and cameras from as early as storyboarding. In Pixar films, a special multi-rig camera is used within the software to create the two eye-placements needed for stereo viewing. It seems subtle, but there's a genuine art to it – where you place the characters in 3D space is highly effective as an art form! 🙂

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