It is hard to believe that a couple of months ago I was in San Francisco learning all about Disney/ Pixar’s upcoming release Inside Out from the creators and artists themselves. Just being inside Pixar Animation Studios was a dream come true, so imagine my excitement when we got an inside look of the animation from the creative minds and artists behind it. Throughout the next month I will be sharing with you all the behind the scenes information that we learned about this adorable animation and so much more! Today, I wanted to share a little bit about how they used layouts and lighting to create Inside Out.
Creating the Layouts for Inside Out
Director of Photography Patrick Lin, talked to us about how the layout team sets up the film for the animators.
Lights! Camera! Action! In an animated film, it is actually reverse. It is Camera! Action! Lights! In other words, it is layout, animation, lights. The layout team is in front of the animation pipeline and sets up the film. They are also the first step into exploring what the animation will look like cinematically. It is up to the layout team to place the cameras and the characters to visually best tell the story.
For example, inside the mind world, Riley’s head, it is very controlled environment, so so are the cameras and the movement of the cameras when scenes in Riley’s head are taking place. In the human world, Riley is growing up, so it is very free, and so are the cameras. There is more movement.
Lighting Inside Out
Director of Lighting Artist Angelique Reisch talked to us about how they light an animation, and gave us an inside look at the technical challenges the lighting team had with the film.
What is lighting in an animation?
Their jobs as lighters in an animation film is very similar to a cinematographer in a live action film. The one main difference- they do not have to move all of the heavy lights around. Their lights all exist in the computer. There is a lot of technical complexity because they are creating the lighting and the shadows from scratch. Along with technical skills, they have to have artistic skills to create visually pleasing images.
When lighting Inside Out, they had 2 unique challenges compared to their other animations. The first challenge lighting had with Inside Out is that it has two different worlds, the mind world (inside Riley’s head) and the human world. It is really important for the audience to be able to visually see the difference between the two so they decided that they were going to do this by using saturation to distinguish between the two worlds. The human world needed to be a lot more muted (desaturated) then the mind world. Compared to the really bight and happy (saturated) mind world.
Another challenge was their beautiful main character, Joy. She herself is a light source, and holds other light sources. “How are we going to light a light bulb? We have never done that before!” They decided to shape her with color instead of value. They built two groups of lights to light Joy in every shot in the movie. These added blue light to Joy to give her the glow. She also was given a white outer glow lights to give her the little aura that surrounds her.
Another challenge with Joy was how was she going to light the sets and other characters since she herself was a light source. The light from her needed to be believable. They developed a geometry light that specifies a model (Joy) and turns it into a source of light.
I have to admit, I was kind of blown away by everything they both were talking about. I knew that animation is a long process, but do not think I really realized how technical it truly is to create an animation. I am still kind of in awe from everything they showed and told us.
Make sure to check out my other posts on Inside Out to hear even more inside scoop about this adorable film!