The Blue Umbrella, a short directed by Pixar technical artist Saschka Unseld. The 6-minute film’s story it will play theatrically with Monsters University on June 21.
It is just another evening commute until the rain starts to fall, and the city comes alive to the sound of dripping rain pipes, whistling awnings and gurgling gutters. And in the midst, two umbrellas—one blue, one not—fall eternally in love.
From Pixar Animation Studios, director Saschka Unseld and producer Marc Greenberg, “The Blue Umbrella” opens in theaters on June 21, 2013, in front of “Monsters University.”
“The Blue Umbrella,” is the brainchild of 36-year-old Saschka Unseld, who has worked in Pixar’s camera and staging department since 2008. The six-minute film is about a blue umbrella that takes a fancy to a red umbrella and, in trying to follow that fancy, gets weather-beaten and wind-blown during a rainstorm.
Before joining Pixar, Mr. Unseld went to film school in his native Germany and later started an animation company with friends, where he made animated short films for television.
As a camera and staging artist at Pixar, Mr. Unseld worked on “Brave,” “Cars 2” and “Toy Story 3,” and was responsible for creating a computer-graphics blueprint for the new film from a storyboard. The blueprint sets out the way the characters move and cameras are positioned.
He pitched the idea for “The Blue Umbrella” to Pixar’s development team and, eventually, to John Lasseter, the studio’s chief creative officer. Because of the high stakes, Mr. Unseld rehearsed and refined his presentation in more than 50 videotaped practice sessions on his computer.
To achieve the “photo real” look, Pixar used special-effects techniques it hadn’t used before. One was global illumination, which simulates the way surfaces emit and reflect light. “We try to simulate those things in computer animation, but the truth is, until just recently, we didn’t have the computational power or clever enough algorithms to actually do the more realistic kind of computations,” said Steve May, Pixar’s chief technology officer.
In “The Blue Umbrella,” some complex scenes, such as people walking along the street, made global illumination challenging. Mr. May said that it could take 20 to 30 hours to render an image for one frame of film.
The film also marked Pixar’s first use of “deep compositing,” in which a scene is created by layering images with three-dimensional data, instead of flat, two-dimensional data, giving the filmmakers greater control over the look of the film and viewers the experience of greater depth of field.
Source – WSJ
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