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A ten step tour through the Pixar facilities
Chip_douglas4 November 2006
Here we have a collection of ten short subjects that you can choose to play either as loose change, or play all, you know, like web documentaries. So let's start the countdown at 10): "Story", in which we meet the only person working at Pixar who is even louder and more enthusiastic than Incredibles creator Brad Bird: story editor Mark Andrew. Indeed, he even makes Bird look kinda normal (because he's younger and not yet a director). 09) "Character Design". We see the progression from the original flat and angular designs that decorate the DVD menu's and the movie's end credits, to the 3D caricatures that star in it (because it's useless to do animation without using caricatures, according to Brad B.) Also, the teeth are based on those of actual Pixar people. Just in case you were wondering. Next up at # 8): E Volution. A short segment on the critic's favorite character, who happens to be voiced by the director, super suit designer Edna 'E'Mode. Turns out she was supposed to be more of a girlfriend to Helen at first, before it was decided to look to Bette Midler's personality and height for inspiration. Next up is a pet peeve for all computer animators at 7): "Building Humans". Oh, the horrors of generating realistic moving hair, skin and clothes (not to mention the rigors of costumes changes). Hair is as difficult to simulate as fire and water, you see, making Violet's hair the most difficult effect in the entire picture. Who'd have thunk?

Number 6): "Building Extras" picks up where the previous bit left off. It's the story of the Universal Man, the basic figure used for all background characters and one scene wonders. After all, there's no such thing as a background character. Talking about characters, some of these animators look like they don't get enough daylight. Bill Wise and most especially Rich Sayre look like they could be out fighting Blade or Kate Beckinsale. Back to the countdown, at the halfway point we find segment 5) "Set Design". The question is, in what time-frame is this movie set? The answer: a nineteen sixties version of the future, in one of those parallel universes where people occasionally gain superpowers (after all, the sixties was the silver age of Marvel). On to 4): "Sound". First we see the Foley persons at work, than we learn that in order to enjoy a movie, one should not think about how the sound effects were created. Forget the whole thing then, let's move on to 3): "Music". Big Brad Bird demanded a brassy, John Barry kind of score and Michael Giacchino complied. The orchestra looks like it's having fun in an old fashioned kind of way. Second to last, no 2): "Lighting" shows us what kind of impact the use of shadows and textures has on each and every scene, in before and after comparisons of different sequences. And last but not least, 1) "Tools" introduces us to the unsung heroes of the Incredibles, and indeed any computer animated picture: the people who quietly create all the software for the modelers, the layout people and everybody else we just met in the preceding 9 chapters. Where would they be without their Jiggle Controls? So, More making of the Incredibles ends on a informative note instead of on a bang (which is always better than one of those teary eyed "oh what a great time we had" coda's).

8 out of 10
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