Monster, Inc.
TECHNICAL ARTISTRY AND ACHIEVEMENT


Monster, Inc.
page 2

This page was created on November 01, 2001
This page was last updated on May 22, 2005

TECHNICAL ARTISTRY AND ACHIEVEMENT

Click to enlargeHelping to keep Pixar on the cutting edge of computer animation technology was a team of technical experts. On "Monsters, Inc.," two-time Oscar winner Tom Porter served as supervising technical director and was in charge of overseeing all aspects of modeling, shading, lighting, and rendering. Under Porter's initiative, a new organization called the Shots Department was established and supervised by Galyn Susman. This department assigned the film's 1500 shots to individual sequence supervisors and technical directors, who would follow each shot through all stages of the production process.

Click to enlargeEben Ostby was the supervisor in charge of the modeling department. In this area, clay sculptures of the faces were created and digitized for the main characters while nearly 50 other miscellaneous monsters were created in the computer from a virtual kit of parts. Learning from their experience on the two "Toy Story" films and "A Bug's Life," the modelers used a proprietary program called "Geppetto" to add more controls allowing the animators more subtle movements. In terms of complexity, Ostby estimates that Sulley, Mike, and Boo were considerably more complex than Buzz and Woody and had 30-40% more controls than even the lifelike Al (of Al's Toy Barn fame) from "Toy Story 2."

Click to enlargeAdding to the film's stylish look were production designers Harley Jessup and Bob Pauley. The early design phase for the film included research trips to industrial towns and to nearby factories with assembly lines. Taking the lead from Docter, they began establishing a look and logic for Monstropolis. This meant creating the internal workings for Monsters, Inc. from its "Scare Floor" to its "door vault" (which includes 5.7 million individual and identifiable closet doors on hundreds of mile-long conveyor belts). The factory itself has a 1960s sensibility and was intended to feel slightly outdated. In all, 22 different sets were designed for the film ranging from Boo's bedroom to the trendy Sushi eatery, Harryhausen's, and the remote blizzard-bound home of the Yeti.

Click to enlargeArt directors Tia Kratter and Dominique Louis lent their talents to creating the color palette, lighting and shading parameters for the film. Kratter, a classically trained background artist, worked with a team of digital painters to set the colors and textures. Her extensive research included studies of llama, yak, goat and sheep fur as well as visits to junkyards to analyze welded metals for the factory scenes. She also helped to finalize the colors for the characters. Louis set the ambience and lighting for the film by creating a series of pastel drawings to establish the mood. Through these paintings, he was able to communicate his wonderful sense of color and value, bringing vibrancy and focus to the images. The pastels were then given to the lighting department, which used them to guide the look of the final shots.

The art directors worked closely with supervising lighting lead JeanClaude Kalache and shading supervisor Rick Sayre to achieve the look and ambience indicated by the creative team. Sayre and the shading team created thousands of shaders for this rich and complex film to give the monster world a stylized and textured look.

Another key member of the production team was layout supervisor Ewan Johnson, who continued Pixar's pioneering efforts in providing alternate coverage to the filmmakers for any given scene. Sophie Vincelette supervised the set dressing department, a new innovation that takes the various digital objects and props and creatively assembles them. Kori Rae served as the film's associate producer. Jim Stewart was the film editor.

With regard to animation, Pixarians, Glenn McQueen and Rich Quade reprised their roles as supervisors. McQueen most recently served as supervising animator on "Toy Story 2." Quade was a supervising animator on both "A Bug's Life," and the original "Toy Story." Doug Sweetland and Scott Clark were the film's directing animators. A team of more than 35 animators worked on the film including character leads Andrew Gordon (Mike Wazowski), John Kahrs (Sulley) and Dave DeVan (Boo). Characters ranged in complexity from the eight-armed lizard-like Randall to the one-eyed Mike Wazowski, who animators found harder to animate than meets the eye.

Acclaimed composer/songwriter Randy Newman, who has scored all three of the previous Disney/Pixar features, once again lends his impressive musical talents. For "'Monsters, Inc." Newman used 1940s jazz influences to capture the fun and spirit of the film. The score features such eclectic instruments as a bass harmonica, mandolin and accordion. He also composed an end credit song called "If I Didn't Have You," which is a delightful duet by Sulley (Goodman) and Mike (Crystal).

Another of Pixar's favorite collaborators, multiple Academy AwardŽ winner and Skywalker Sound's resident sound designer Gary Rydstrom, worked his magic to create the sounds of Monstropolis and to create a masterful mix for the film's soundtrack.

"Monsters, Inc." has the distinction of being the first film to be animated at Pixar Animation Studios' new 218,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility in Emeryville, California. The new studio opened in November 2000 and has become home to nearly 600 of the industrys top animators and technicians. The release of "Monsters, Inc." coincides with Pixar's 15th anniversary. Steve Jobs acquired the company from Lucasfilm in 1986 and incorporated it as an independent company at that time.

Monsters, Inc. Main page
About the Amazing Technology -pg 2
About the Origins -pg 3
About the Directors -pg 4
About Animating Memorial Monsters -pg 5

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