adventure and absurdity in making an animated short

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

YFTR production photos

With "Your Friend the Rat" out on DVD today I thought I'd post some photos from the making of it.

The rata-two-dee animation corral. Teddy Newton, is at the light table. Located in story alley on the second floor of Pixar, you would walk by the corral and hear that aweome sound of pencils sharping and paper flipping. photo by michael johnson

Ahh paper, Teddy Newton flipping a shot from the end credits. Teddy led the end credits for the feature and then joined the short crew to handle character design and animation layout. I kept telling teddy to design the characters flatter and he told me he had never been given that direction before, to be more designy. photo by michael johnson

Scott Morse painting up a color key for one of the song shots. Scott, along with Nate and Teddy, was the third member of our art triumvirate. He handled backgrounds and helped Nate out with the color keys for the shots. He and Nate decided early on to paint the backgrounds with real media when ever possible. This gave the short a grounded feeling. Scott even used a pancake in one shot. See if you can find it in the short. photo by jim capobianco

Nate Wragg "cleaning up" the animation for the chalkboard shot. This shot was animated on paper by Sarah Mercy. Then we proected it onto a chalkboard, again to give the film a real textured feel. It took a day to do and I am so happy we did this. It came out beautiful and on blu-ray you can really see the dust. photo by jim capobianco

Myself and YFTR production designer Nate Wragg. This film is as much Nate's as it is mine. He really got to shine. When I first met Nate, about a year before this photo was taken, he was an intern working in the hallway. He didn't even have a cubicle to work in. We got to that scary place where we were finishing each others thoughts. The best thing about making the film was making it with Nate and everybody else. photo by krissy cababa

more photos to come...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great pics - it's nice to see a glimpse inside of the studio. I've been following this blog for a long time watching the progress of Leonardo, and it's inspiring for people who would like to finish their own short film someday. So thanks!

2:37 PM  
Blogger samacleod said...

Awesome man. Can't wait to see it! Congrats on finishing it and directing Jim.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Ronan McDermott said...

It's great to see some production pictures. I'm looking forward to seeing the short.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Wow. To see paper flipping and the magnificent Acme pegbar in the halls of Pixar - warms the cockles of a cartoon-lover's heart.
Congratulations to you all, Jim. Your Friend the Rat is a fantastic short and the that trademark Pixar heart is clear in every single frame.
I hope this'll be the beginnings of a new dynasty at Emeryville :)

Any chance of this getting a short theatre run so it qualifies for Oscar contention?

9:35 PM  
Blogger JmC said...

Thanks Amy. I was asked a couple years ago at a 2-D animation convention in Burbank if we would ever do 2-D at Pixar and I said no. There were no plans and that was true then, yet here we are. There is nothing in the works right now but Brad and I have said to each other a little seed has been planted and we need to tend to it so it will grow. We shall see. YFTR has been submitted for an Annie Award but not for an oscar.

thanks again for the comments.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Bobby Pontillas said...

I was completely blown away by this short.
I was excited enough that it was going to be in 2D. But wasnt prepared for the onslaught of cool looking, flat graphics, super stylized animation, stop-mo, chalk, even sprites! I was thinking my god what else can they throw in here? It was sensory overload in a good way for any animation artist!

And that comment about "design it flatter" is awesome!

12:56 AM  
Blogger mnmears said...

I really enjoyed "Your Friend The Rat."

I never expected myself to laugh at The Black Plague -- but then you, Jeff, Alex, Nate and the other creative talents at Pixar continue to amuse and amaze me.

2:46 PM  
Blogger JmC said...

bobby - thanks man, glad you liked it. it was a leap of faith that that all the styles would work together, the stop-mo made me a little nevous, but i figured what the hey.

mnmears - that is the beauty of 2-D animation the abstraction is already funny. i've only had one person tell me they didn't think it was funny. what'a ya gonna do? If you can't find humor in a 600 year old tragedy you probably don't find life that funny. It's also hard to take seriously anything with ren-fare music behind it. thanks for your comment.

8:23 PM  
Blogger monkeyfeather said...

Awesome work to you and the rest of the guys Jim. The short was GREAT. Really inspiring stuff. *sigh* I miss the sound of flipping paper.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Brent Tilton said...

haha Rata-two-dee! serious thanks for posting these pics! i'm looking forward to seeing the rest. the behind-the-scenes stuff is really fun to see, esp on a cool project like this. amazing work!

12:53 PM  
Blogger JmC said...

monkeyfeather - i miss it too. it is up to us lovers of hand drawn animation to keep it alive and pass it on! thanks for your comment.

brent - thank you, i'll put some more up and try to feature some of the people who made this short better then i could of imagined. keep checking in.

10:28 PM  
Blogger tomm said...

chalk sequence..using real chalk! awesome.
We have a chalk sequence in Brendan but really quickly discarded the idea of using real chalk.
like fools.
still...this short looks class..i loved the credits...gonna hunt it down asap!

3:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Loved the film. That looks like a lot of fun and I hope you guys do more.

Tech-geek question:

What's the name/brand of the mounting arm that Scott Morse has his Cintiq mounted on in that photo above ?

I like how it's allowed him to get the Cintiq low down at a comfortable angle, and from what I can see the arm probably swings back and allows the Cintiq to be moved out of the way when necessary.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Ward Jenkins said...

Jim, Not sure if I've already commented, but if so, it's worth mentioning again: Your Friend the Rat is brilliant. I find myself watching it over and over, just like Jenny mentioned before. The pacing, tone, colors, styling, animation, timing -- all of it is perfect. It definitely fits right in there with the best of the educational and industrials, such as Toot and Melody. I caught the similarities, too -- love it when we see man and rat throughout the ages during the song, similar to the "plunk" sequence in Toot. Classic. An homage, and done very well, I might add. You guys definitely gave it your own vision here, and to see an actual animation disc at Pixar makes me smile. (Funny that Teddy doesn't even have one of those wood desk-stand-thingies!)

There's a chance I'll be in SF in March to see the Mary Blair exhibit. Would love to pop in to meet you -- your blog here has been a great influence for me as I struggle to create my current short film. "5 minutes..." that's my mantra.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Chris Bivins said...

Wow. I love this short. It wouldve been exciting to work on a project with such amazing talent and what looks to be a lot of freedom and control over the creative process. Keep up the good work. I would love to see more.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey JmC the photos are great and the short is great. I love Ratatouille and I love even this short more. One of the best parts was the very end of the short with disclaimer and Remy and Emile.
Thanks a lot for this great post. :)

10:14 AM  
Blogger JmC said...

tomm - great seeing you at pixar. hope to see you in ireland some day. good look with the film.

anonymous - thank you for your comments. i haven't responded probably because i was going to see what the arm is called. i've totally forgotten but i'll check if you ever check back.

ward - thank you man for these great comments. i don't want you to think i ignored you i just got lost in the day to day.

if your ever in the bay area again stop by.

chris - thanks. we did have a lot a freedom. brad bird was awesome in just letting us run with it. i learned the power of trust making the short.

diaa - thanks for commenting and for the comment. it made me look at all these wonderful comments i was delinquent in responding to. i like the end as well. it was probably the hardest idea to land on. my only wish is that it wasn't so rushed.

7:56 PM  

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