Monday, June 24, 2013

Painting With Virtual Light

Pixar's Saschka Unseld discusses The Blue Umbrella.

... While I worked on the story for it, I never thought of how it would look visually. How we did it visually kind of followed what the idea of the story was, so it was based on that. It was based on tests I had shot just for fun on my phone actually, of faces in the city, and I had loaded them on my computer one week and animated them. That was part of the pitch I showed, just to show what I mean with the city coming to life.. ...

[W]e used the Global Illumination technology that Monsters used as well. So that helped us massively in getting everything lit more realistically. ... [The Global Illumination system] bounces off of surfaces; off the walls. If there’s a red wall, the light bounces off and actually takes on red light and all these complex things that happen with real light.

So basically you switch on one light and you get all this complex stuff happening, which is fascinating because you get to a point where you have happy accidents happen. ... We had the moment when the red umbrella is being held over the blue, and there’s this reflection on blue which is the bounce of her light. That was never planned for. That wasn’t boarded like this, it wasn’t something we gave direction to for the lighter. He put on these couple of [virtual] lights, sent out the render, and this thing happened. And we were like, “This is fantastic, let’s use it.” ...

One more Oscar contender.

5 comments:

Grant said...

I thought Luxo, Jr. proved that all the technology and pretty pictures in the world don't matter as much as the audiences connection with the character. That's the one thing the umbrella cartoon lacks: character.

Kenneth Elliott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kenneth Elliott said...

^ No, I politely disagree; there is character in the umbrella short. Perhaps not as much as Luxo, Jr, but it's still there.

However...
since Pixar is going on and on about how brilliantly difficult photorealism is... I just wish they would have created something revolutionary by actually showing realistic human faces. By NOT including clear-cut shots of human faces, I can't help but think that the studio went down the "safe" path. Convincing CG faces are the holy grail of animation and, (depending on who you talk to in the industry,) has never been achieved. Blue Umbrella is a missed opportunity.

Grant said...

It has virtually zero character--only icons. As a tone poem, it almost works.

And the"holy grail" of animation most certainly IS NOT "convincing CG faces. That's a the wet dream of technical engineers--but not animators. Non photo real imagery is far more interesting--and difficult to do with the computer.

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