Monday, April 17, 2006

Pixar Zoetrope

The Science Museum in London is currently playing host to an exhibition of Pixar artwork. It features hundreds of early sketches, mood boards, sculptures that were produced in the making of movies like Toy Story, The Incredibles and this summer’s inevitable hit, Cars.

One of the main objectives of this exhibition is to show that for all the studio’s amazing technological feats, the finished films owe a lot to very traditional animation techniques: character design, storyboarding, testing etc.

This point is beautifully made with a wonderful contraption that Pixar built specifically for this exhibition. A contemporary zoetrope has been constructed, featuring characters from Toy Story on a large disc. This disc then spins at a ridiculous pace until the models blur together and simulate the animation of the models.

It is absolutely fantastic and the closest you will ever come to seeing these characters come to life.

Have a look at a video here. It was filmed with my phone, hence the poor quality and converted (badly) from an unusual file type - hence the large file size. But if you can, watch it until the end and you’ll see me zooming in on a small alien who waves at the crowd. Ahem. I’m 27 years old and I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of this kind of thing.

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