Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Pixar Story Board Secrets Revealed

Ever wondered how Pixar artists create their storyboards? In this excellent video, we see the very talented Joe Ranft pitch the opening sequence for the first Toy Story film - where the little green toy soldiers get recon information on the arrival of new toys.  It's a great insight into how animated films get made, where sequences are worked over and re-worked in the story department long before animators get their hands on them.

Joe Ranft. Wikipedia
Joe Ranft was a legend among board artists, an excellent storyteller and a generous resource for other board artists and directors who needed story help (don't we all?) on their projects.

What's remarkable about watching Joe pitch is how much he gets into character, doing the voices of the characters, acting stuff out, trying to generate a sense of excitement about the sequence.

This is old-school pitching, the kind that Disney himself pioneered, where the board artist is trying to get across the entertainment value of the sequence they are working on. In essence, the board artist is saying "this sequence is fun - this is a great story - the audience are going to be entertained".

You really get the feeling for how each individual sequence in a movie has its own sense of rhythm, building slowly to a climax and finally to a resolution or payoff at the end. Each sequence in a film is in effect a mini film all of its own.

You can also see clearly how each storyboard panel lines up with the final rendered images in the movie.

When animators worked on paper by hand, many used to move fairly seamlessly between the story dept and the animation dept. Now that our tools are digital, this is less common, but being able to tell a story in pictures is still a great skill for any animator, digital or otherwise.

We're running a class in storyboarding here at Escape Studios starting on 13 June 2016. It costs £1,000 and it's a part-time course, designed to fit around jobs and families.

You'll be expected to attend at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush one evening a week from 7:00pm-10:00pm. Warning: there will be homework!

We've got some great tutors lined up - people with a ton of experience in the field.

Plus there is an additional 8 weeks of online mentoring, where you get to practice your skills. It's going to be a great course, designed to train story artists to work in this growing field - where (by the way) there is a serious skills shortage here in the UK.

To find out more, take a look at the Escape Studios Storyboarding course here.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our new BA/MA starting in September 2016, follow this link.  

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