DMA Central


Behind the Scenes of Cars 2: Making an Animated Movie, From Storyboarding to Production

There’s a lot that goes into making a movie, especially when you’re creating a computer-animated film. Every movie starts with a story but a film concept evolves into a vision during pre-production meetings. In the pre-production process, storyboards are created to help people see the movie’s “vision.” Storyboarding is incredibly important part of filmmaking. For Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2, computer animators rendered all the scenes as traditional 2D storyboards and computer-generated animatics:

Storyboarding: Establishing the Action
Storyboarding helps a director share his vision with the production team, and helps the team understand what the director wants to see in the frame. Artists use simple line drawings (and their imagination) to create what will wind up on the big screen.

The action for Cars 2 starts with storyboarding. Before a film goes in front of the camera, a story is developed and then, storyboards are produced to help the entire production team understand what the final frame of film will look like, where characters will be positioned, and to establish scene locations. Actors may also see storyboards to help them develop their characters. The Tokyo race sequence for took more than 1,400 storyboards to portray the action involved.

Layout: Pre-visualizing the Scene
Everything is “laid out” before the first full computer rendering of a scene. Animators pre-visualize, or lay out the shot. Characters are roughly developed and placed within the environment, but don’t yet have a polished or finished look. This gives the director or scene supervisor a chance to make changes before resources are spent creating something that may not remain in the final scene.

In the pre-visualization phase, the cars are in position and have basic facial expressions.

The Final Render: Keyframe
In this keyframe, character and texture artists finish the characters and world. Only then, when the frame is approved by the director, are the computer models finalized.

The final frame is completely rendered with surface textures and reflections. (Notice the neon lights shining off Lightning McQueen.) Pixar uses crowd software to add cars in the background.

Creating 3D Characters
Pixar uses proprietary computer graphics software, while the majority of the movie and video game industry use Maya to create 3D characters. To create storyboards, you should have a background in creating comics or cartoons. Both skills can help you get a job working on a computer-animated movie like Cars 2.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

Robin Williams: A Dad Who Loves Zelda

In honor of Father’s Day, how about a story about an actor, comedian and father who named his daughter after a video game? Comedy superstar Robin Williams has been in love with Zelda – and we mean the video game – since 1987. So much so, in fact, that he named his daughter after the Nintendo princess.

Robin Williams stars in a Nintendo commercial that features his daughter – Zelda!

Apparently Williams and his wife played The Legend of Zelda fairly often during his wife’s pregnancy and they fell in love with the character’s name. So Dad did what any self-respecting gamer would do: he named his daughter after his favorite Nintendo game. The story behind his daughter’s name has made rounds on the Internet for a few years now, but was only recently confirmed, with Nintendo’s commercial for the Nintendo 3DS The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.

Zelda Commercials Through the Years
Years ago, the original Zelda commercial for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System featured a wild-eyed spokesperson bouncing around, obsessed with Zelda’s name and fearing for creepy-crawlies that he encountered in the game. When compared to the latest Zelda commercial, it doesn’t quite have the same effect:

“Zelda! Zelda! Zeldaaaa!!!!”

What’s In a Name?
It’s not only great to see Nintendo update the commercial, but update the game as well. The Nintendo 3DS The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D refreshes the classic with sparking new graphics, although the formula and story are the same. The N64 version was one of the highest-rated games of all time, and here at DMAC, we have fond memories of the game. Even Zelda (Robin Williams’ daughter) does, too. Here’s a great video of her playing the game, while Dad talks about how she got her name:

And you thought you were the only one crazy about Zelda and Link’s journey! Video games cut across all cultures and all types of people. Are you crazy about video games? Maybe you have an idea for your own creation? Then why not learn how to design a video game? Your creation could be an adventure game like Zelda or an action game. Using the tools video game designers use, you could create the next Zelda.

You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to love great video games or create video games. Just ask Robin Williams! Are you looking forward to Zelda for 3DS?

Okay, so minus the pointy ears and big eyes, you might could argue that Zelda Williams does slightly resemble Princess Zelda.


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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments