Sunday, October 18, 2009

Toy Story, 14 years later and a different perspective

I went to see the Toy Story double feature the other night after work. I felt an obligation but also a great excitement to watch two of my favorite flicks with a whole new arsenal of information. I wanted to go in an watch it on the big screen, but from an animator perspective, not a joyous person who loves cartoons (they're close, but as the latter, you tend to gloss over the real magical "ah ha" moments AND why they are so magical). I would love to say I picked the movie apart, but I found it hard to keep my little kid excitement behaving so my scrutinizing animator-in-training eye could take the 3 hours to study.

I found it interesting that there was such a huge difference between 1 and 2. I know they pumped up textures or added little details, but I really feel like the animation grew from one to the next (remember, there was 4 years and A Bug's Life in between the two movies). I won't supply examples, mostly because I forget the exact details, but I was so happy to view them, together, this way. I saw things that made me think, that made me wonder why they did it that way and also scenes where I was like "Oh, now that was cool to see". I watched a scene where my current mentor, Mark Oftedal who animated early on at Pixar, told us how he planned out the scene and how he accomplished this back and forth between Buzz and Woody. It was an amazing moment to play his information in my head as the argument scene played out before me. Amazing moment.

Now, I know I'm not breaking ground by saying any of this, but knowing something about the art going in, I now know why I love it so much. Why someone who doesn't have the knowledge can be drawn in for and hour or three and be so happy the entire time. It's amazing to know these animators were bringing computer math to life to the point where you really felt for the characters. Just an awesome experience... and I can't wait to do that everyday.

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