The Parr family lives in a city calledMuniciberg during the midcentury. It plays a crucial role in the film as the backdrop to the adventures of the Incredibles. Have you ever wondered what goes into the process of making these cities and surroundings come to life in animation? We got to speak with Pixar's Production Designer Ralph Eggleston, Visual Designer Philip Metschan, Shading Art Director Bryn Imagire and Sets Supervisor Nathan Fariss for the Incredibles 2 to find out what goes into making these sets.
Thank you to Disney Pixar for bringing me out to California to Pixar Studios to learn more about animation for the Incredibles 2 press event.
The inspiration for the film is midcentury mundane. According to the team, the period takes place around 1962 or so. The team looked at nearly 30 midcentury homes to gather inspiration for the new Parr home. In the first movie, we got to see the Parr home, Bob's office, and Syndrome's island. In Incredibles 2, we see Safari Court, the motel the family has been staying in for the last three months since their home was destroyed by the manta jet. We also get to see the Parr families new home now that Mrs. Incredible is working for the Deavor's. Her work also brings us deep into the city to exploreMuniciberg more closely.
Production Designer Ralph Eggleston tells us that the “Production Designer and Art Directors create the world of the film. The world of the film, especially one like the Incredibles, but all of our films, is a character in the film as much as any other character. It has to support the story being told.” This includes the environments and the worlds that they inhabit. The props and dressings, and all of the textures and lighting in the film.
Everything in an animated film is designed and created down to the smallest details. The leaf prints in the floor of the new Parr home. The texture of the couches and how the cushions are shaped. Down to the food packaging containers and brand labels that we see. The Chinese food container is one of those items that has been reused in other Pixar Films like a Bug's Life, Inside Out, Ratatouille, and Monsters Inc. and is now labeled an Easter Egg.
Visual Designer Philip Metschan gives us a walkthrough look at the Parr home. The video is set up like a real estate video so everyone can see what the scene will look like. They add in characters to make sure the size is correct, and it flows for the scene as well. They need to make sure everyone fits at the dinner table. Then there are teams to make sure the textures on the walls, food, and furniture are correct. That the shine on the Elasticycle or orange juice glass is just right.
The team worked on the Parr's home for nearly six months before it was scrapped for a much bigger house that they had to create and animate and fill with textures, lights, and props in 3 weeks! Talk about a time crunch. You'll still see the original house in the movie though. No reason to throw away a perfectly good house! Shading Art Director Bryn Imagire shares with us that they wanted to bring the inside out with plants and water features. The new house has water going through different areas around the home.
Animation processes to create the world of Incredibles.
Here are the departments that are involved in creating the animation world.
- Modeling – The sculptors, the upholstery, the architects, they build all the three-dimensional shapes. Makes the world feel more real with the creation of props and sets. Couch cushions don't have straight lines and no two cushions are the same.
- Set Dressing – Put all the things modeling made and puts them into the scenes. They are the ones putting the props into the restaurant and the forks and knives on the table. They have to remove the placemats if they don't work out. They add the messy laundry or the sink full of dirty dishes.
- Shading – Add color and texture to these items and how they will react to light. The Elasticycle has places that are shiny, and the rubber tires look worn and have little bits embedded in the tires. The leather has a coarse texture. Adding dirt to the terrazzo floor and then shining light on certain sections of it to reflect the lights in the home.
- Set Extensions and Skies – The great big city you see in the background from the house. It's one of the bigger projects in a film. It's not just a picture of a city in the background. The city of Municiberg is mapped out and planned.
- Set Tech – They help render everything together. There is a 360-degree render of some of the scenes that get cut down, and you never see all of the frame. We got to see an example of this and you'd be surprised how much you aren't seeing from these shots.