Friday, April 29, 2011

Cars 2 Goes to England!

Pixar is working mighty hard to get Cars 2 into theaters on June 24, but they are also busy bringing us many new characters and posters. The ones in this post all have a London, England theme.

These British posters are just as cool as those British accents that the people of England have.

An interesting and creative take on typical British figures, including some royalty.

With the final stage of the World Grand Prix racing through the historic streets of London, England, the Queen is quietly elated she was invited to preside over the finish line by Sir Miles Axlerod. Painted in shades of the most royal blues and never without her jeweled crown, the Queen is the definition of decorum and regality, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy a bit of first-rate competition!

Prince Wheeliam of England is an avid racing fan. He can’t believe his luck that the final race of the one-of-a-kind World Grand Prix is happening on the streets of London. Though he must remain impartial when by his grandmother the Queen’s side, he is privately rooting for his fellow Brits Lewis Hamilton and Nigel Gearsley to cross the finish line first.

Topper Deckington III is a classic British double-decker bus in a vivid shade of red who relishes in his daily Killswitch route through London’s famous bustling Petroldilly Circus.

Sgt. Highgear is a member of the regiment assigned to London’s landmark Buckingham Palace. With a recognizable tall bearskin cap atop his scarlet body, he stands guard at his sentry box with pride and conviction

No one knows the sites, streets or shortcuts of London better than the jovial Chauncy Fares, a quintessential London black cab.

Cross your fingers for some Italian characters and posters now!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Celebrate The Royal Wedding...Cars Style

Everyone has heard the buzz about the Will & Kate Royal Wedding happening later on. Pixar is definitely not the one to miss out on an opportunity to mash together some current events and their upcoming film, Cars 2! Check out the hilarious Royal-Wedding-themed trailer for the film, along with the 'Royal' Cars 2 poster seen above! I love the play on words with McQueen and Queen!

The following trailer contains a load of never-before-seen footage from Cars 2! This video also contains classic Mater, showing him goofing off as always, but this time, in a whole different setting than Radiator Springs!!

Also, don't miss a whole slew of English characters, including The Queen and Prince Wheeliam, coming up later this week!

Anyone watching the Royal Wed tonight?

Cars 2: From Paper to the Big Screen

If you are an avid Pixar fan like me, you might already know how Pixar makes all that movie magic happen. But if you have always wondered how Pixar makes their breathtaking animated films, I highly reccomend you read the rest of this post. And as for you fellow avid Pixar fans out there, it never hurts to refresh your memory and call to mind how Pixar makes their masterpieces come alive. In this post, Pixar's upcoming movie Cars 2 is used as an example.

1. Storyboards
Story artists put pen to paper and use their imaginations to invent a scene, and they later put this scene together in the form of a comic book, and present it to a group of people, describing the scene as they move along. Many storyboards don't make it to the final film, but there are many others, or parts of others, that do.

Official Pixar Description:
Tokyo is the first stop in the World Grand Prix where Lighting McQueen, Mater and the Radiator Springs gang experience many new wonders of their global adventure – a Kabuki performance, Sumo wrestling, the glow of neon on the streets, and the glamorous race kickoff party. It is here that Mater is mistaken for an American secret agent, and is propelled into the world of global espionage. The Tokyo race sequence alone took over 1400 storyboards to portray the action involved.

2. Layout
In layout, everything is, well, layed out. As you can see in the picture, the characters appear to have blank expressions on their faces (which can sometimes creep me out a little), the neon signs don't actually have neon, and so forth. The purpose of layout is to get a sense of where the camera is going to be, where the characters are going to be staged, and where everything else is going to be placed. All the missing details (the neon on the neon signs, the expressions on the characters) will be added once animation is completed.

Official Pixar Description:
This frame shows the camera and character staging that precedes animation, known as Layout. The set models and dressing are still in progress and will be finalized once animation is completed.

3. Animation
Finally...expressions have been added to the characters' faces. Primary and secondary characters are keyframe animated. The background cars on the road, or what would be the extras in a live-action film, are then added with a crowds software system.

Official Pixar Descrpition:
This frame shows the final character animation poses. The primary and secondary characters are keyframe animated. Background cars that populate the road are added procedurally using a crowds software system.

4. Shading
Now color has been added and the shot is almost complete. Also, you now start to get a sense of the texture of the surface of each object.

Official Pixar Description:
The character and set shading encompasses the color, texture and material attributes of every surface, and determines how surfaces will respond to lights. In the world of Cars, graphics play a big role in the shaded scene, especially with the many neon signs in Tokyo.

5. Lighting
Let there be light! All the virtual lights have been added, and the shot is complete. Notice the detailed reflections on the bodies of the cars. It's amazing how Pixar never leaves out a single detail in their movies.

Official Pixar Description:
Virtual lights provide illumination from thousands of light sources such as street lamps, headlights and neon signs. The reflective car bodies and wet street require a computationally intensive technique called Raytracing. Additional visual details such as lens flare from headlights and colored fog around the signs are added. The final rendered image is computed on a Renderfarm and has to be free of any visual artifacts.

I hope you found this post interesting, and hopefully you learned something new about how a Pixar film is made. For another detailed guide through the Pixar process, visit this link at the official Pixar website.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pixar Articles on TIME Website

There's always an interesting article about Pixar out there on the Internet.

Today I found a 'Pixar timeline' called A Brief History of Pixar on the TIME website, where TS3 director Lee Unkrich was nominated to be on the TIME 100 list. This timeline is a very concise summary of the Pixar films, from Toy Story to Cars 2.

Also, Pixar's John Lasseter landed a spot on this year's TIME 100! John Ratzenberger, considered to be Pixar's lucky charm, wrote the article for the TIME website, which you can read here. I've always been a big John Lasseter fan, so I'm glad to see him on the list of "Most Influential People".

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cars 2 Character Profiles: Francesco Bernoulli

Meet the fastest, handsomest, and best racer of them all...or so he thinks he is.

Read this official description:

Francesco Bernoulli
Francesco Bernoulli grew up in the shadow of the famous Monza race course in Italy where he and his friends would sneak onto the track and race the famous Pista di Alta Velocita bank turn. He was an instant winner on the amateur circuit and soon became an international Formula Racer champion. The ladies love Francesco’s open wheels, youngsters look up to his winning spirit and fellow racers envy his speed. But Francesco’s biggest fan is Francesco himself, as evidenced by his racing number. As the most famous race car in Europe, #1 Francesco is a favorite to win the World Grand Prix, which also makes him McQueen’s chief rival.

Also, check out his turtable video:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pixar Corner's 1 Year Anniversary!!!

Hip hip hooray! Exactly one year ago, I posted my very first post on this blog. I, myself, think that the blog started out good, but it has definitely improved in the last 12 months, both in the look of the site, and the content. I think this blog has made me both a better writer and a better Pixar fan, and I have really enjoyed writing about my love for the giant animation studio. Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and encouraging, and thank you to all my viewers!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cars 2 Goes to Japan!

I wonder if the people at Pixar EVER get tired of working. As if they weren't busy enough finishing off Cars 2. Today, enjoy a look at these new Japan-themed posters and characters.

I may not be able to read those Japanese symbols on some of these posters, but I can say that these posters look wonderful.

Also, check out these great new Japanese characters. I'm guessing they're cheering for Shu Todoroki at the World Grand Prix...I, as always, am rooting for Lightning McQueen.

Okuni is a micro car Kabuki dancer who dons the traditional white-painted face and an exquisite colorful kimono for her performances at the Kabuki theater in Tokyo, Japan.

As a professional Sumo wrestler at an arena in Tokyo, Japan, Kingpin Nobunaga is a gold-painted micro van who fights his fiercest matches when he’s wearing his lucky purple mawashi.

Pinion Tanaka is a gold-painted micro van and a professional Sumo wrestler from Tokyo, Japan, who’s always a menacing sight in the ring in his signature teal mawashi.

A master in the art of sculpting the serene zen rock garden at the Tokyo museum, Zen Master wears his old woven reed hat and uses his antique wood rake to create mesmerizing patterns in the garden’s sand.

Stay tuned for more awesome Cars 2 posts! Next up, 'Cars 2 Goes to England'!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Facts and Stats on the Cars 2 Triptych

Soon after the spectacular Cars 2 triptych poster was released on Thursday, there was a set of facts all about the miraculous piece of art. I had wondered, since it was so incredibly detailed, how long it had taken to make. Turns out, the the triptych took 5 months to complete! That's nearly half a year!

Featured Characters

Tokyo: 130 posed characters, 2 simulated crowds
London: 145 posed characters, simulated traffic
Italy: 140 posed characters, simulated crowds
TOTAL: 415 posed characters


Total Shots: 20 cameras and locations per poster = 60 individual shots
Total Staff: 20-25 people: CS TDs, layout artists, master lighters, matte painters, simulation TDs
Total Time to Complete: 5 months

Also, view separate cuts of the triptych here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Simply Spectacular 'Cars 2' Triptych!

Wow. That was all I could say when I first saw this astounding poster in form of a triptych promoting Cars 2. I sat there observing all the detail that was put into it, and I was blown away. It explains what Cars 2 will be in simply one poster. I'm pretty sure it has all the new characters that have been revealed so far, and even some old friends are hiding in their somewhere. I saw the Radiator Springs folks (Sally, Ramone, Flo, Red, Sheriff, Mack, and Lizzie) somewhere in the London section. I love how this poster focuses on both the action-packed spy movie theme of the film, along with the 'traveling the world' theme. Dang, Pixar is good, not only with their movies, but with their posters! June 24 is coming closer...

(View or download this awesome Cars 2 triptych poster in high-resolution here.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

'Cars' & 'The Incredibles' Now Available on Blu-ray!

It seems like only yesterday I was announcing that Pixar's Cars and The Incredibles would be coming to astounding Blu-ray high definition on April 12 (Cars now on a second edition Blu-ray, but The Incredibles for the first time ever). Time flies and they've already hit store shelves!

The new Cars Blu-ray is basically the same as the one that was released back in 2007, except that you can now watch Mater and the Ghostlight (co-directed by Dan Scanlon, director of Monsters University) in HD, and it comes with a free admission (only up to $8.50) for the sequel, Cars 2! Also, you can now enjoy the new cover art, which matches the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 re-releases from last year.

At last, the wait is over, and we finally get to see what has probably been Pixar's most action-packed film in glorious Blu-ray high-definition! Also, you can now enjoy a whole bunch of new 'Incredible' bonus features, alongside all your favorite original DVD extras! One of these new features is New Nomanisan Island. Ever wondered what happened to the island that used to be Syndrome's hideout after the villain was defeated? Well, this new bonus will surely answer your question! The Incredibles Blu-ray also comes with a coupon to watch Cars 2 this summer!

So if you're interested in buying either (or both) of these new releases, act now, before they all get sold out!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cars 2 Character Profiles: Professor Z

Meet Pixar's newest villian, who may seem just a tad scarier than the bad guy in Pixar's last film.

Read this official description:

Professor Z
Professor Z, aka “The Professor,” is an internationally wanted weapons designer in a small, sophisticated German package. He is a brilliant, but mad monocle-wearing scientist who is plotting to sabotage the World Grand Prix. Though his true motive is unclear, Professor Z is willing to do whatever it takes to eliminate all obstacles and keep the “project” on schedule.

Watch his turntable video:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

More Fantastic 'Cars 2' Retro Posters!

As the wait to Cars 2 races to the finish line, we are getting more and more Cars 2 surprises by the minute! Three new retro posters were recently revealed on in glorious high-resolution (view all three of them them here). The one that seems to be causing a buzz on several Pixar websites is the one pictured above. I, of course, love it as well. I love the explosion, all the evil minion cars, the villain in the background, and most of all...Finn McMissile on jet skis! It's as if Pixar is taunting all of its fans, feeding them with Cars 2 clips, posters, and more, until they go mad, impatiently waiting for June 24.....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

'Brooklyn' at the Pixar Studios

Brooklyn is what Pixar's new Phase II building is referred to internally. The building has been being planned for quite a while now, and I believe it is nearly done construction, and about to be inhabited by many eager Pixar animators, story artists, etc. The purpose for this expansion at the Pixar studios is for future Pixar projects that are still in pre-production to be moved to the new building, while those films closer to their release dates will stay in the main building. My guess is that Monsters University and the unannounced Pete Doctor project will be moved to Brooklyn, and as for Brave and Cars 2, they will probably remain in the studio's older building. Also, be sure to check out a load of sketches, construction photos, floor plans, and other neat stuff regarding the new Pixarian Brooklyn here.

Vote 'Lee Unkrich' on TIME 100 Poll!!!

A round of applause for Mr. Lee Unkrich!! This year, he was nominated to be included in TIME's list of the most influential people in the world, A.K.A. the TIME 100 Poll! Only 100 out of the 203 candidates are chosen to be on this very special list. Luckily, Lee is currently #38 out of all those other people. So you know what you've got to do now......VOTE FOR LEE UNKRICH!!!

(Via The Pixar Blog)

Monday, April 4, 2011

'Monsters' Prequel Re-scheduled for 2013!

I'm afraid you read that headline correctly. Unfortunately, Pixar has decided to release their upcoming prequel to Monsters, Inc., which was recently given the title Monsters University, in the summer of 2013 instead of in the late fall of 2012. After having been changed from November 16, 2012 to November 2, 2012, it will now hit theaters on June 21, 2013. But this is surely for a good reason, as Pixar always does what they think is best. The movie was probably taking a bit longer than usual (the Pixar process usually takes about four to five years) and they didn't want to rush the film, so changing the release date was the only good solution. So you can still expect to see Sulley and Mike back up on that big screen again, just a couple of months later than you were expecting.

Viral Campaign Video for Cars 2--New Footage!!

Watch this awkward, yet funny, ad here.
The video you just saw may look like another boring old commercial for car dealership at first, but it is actually more than is part of Pixar's campaign to promote Cars 2! It is similar to last year's Lots-O-Huggin' Bear ads (which you can view here and here), and is actually quite funny. I had a few chuckles myself while watching it. The first time you watch this "Sale-A-Bration" advertisement you might wonder, "How on Earth is this related to Cars 2?" But after watching it again, you may start to catch a couple of Pixar references! The first (obvious) one is that this "Cars N' Deals" place is in Emeryville, California, the same city where Pixar's main campus is located. If you knew this already, you probably caught this reference the first time through. The next reference is the old A113--which appears in every single Pixar feature, and makes an appearance in this video on one of the cars' license plates. The last (but definitely not least) reference is found near the end of the commercial, and is surely the biggest reference of them all, as it will lead you to discovering a clip of all-new Cars 2 footage!! I will not say exactly how to find this is a lot more fun finding it on your own! So put your secret agent skills to the test, and find the top-secret footage!
(Hint: Pause the video somewhere near the end, OR call the phone number that appears on the screen while the "Cars N' Deals" jingle plays.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

'Monsters University' Director Confirmed

Last week came the announcement of the upcoming Monsters film being a prequel called Monsters University. Soon after that, it was confirmed at Pixar's blogger's event that the director for the film would be Pixarian Dan Scanlon. Mr. Scanlon worked on parts of the screenplay for Cars, and also did some storyboards for the film. He co-directed the short film Mater and the Ghostlight. Good luck directing, Dan!