Pixar’s Latest Short "The Blue Umbrella" – Sneak Peek and History

The Blue Umbrella Screencap

UPDATED: Text and additional images have been added to the bottom of the post – January 7, 2013, at 3:00 PM EST

Director: Saschka Unseld
Producer: Marc Greenberg
Score: Jon Brion with vocals provided by Sarah Jaffe

It’s been rumored that the Rainy City Tales 332 website/team was producing Pixar’s next featured short film for quite some time and it was confirmed today via a great Wall Street Journal article and the rainycitytales332 Twitter feedNote  the link to the WSJ article was removed because the only way to fully view the article is to do a web search for “The Blue Umbrella Wall Street Journal” – it does not allow direct linking.

The Blue Umbrella announcement Tweet

A 34-second clip that was released gives us a glimpse at a blue umbrella that becomes smitten by a nearby red umbrella – the blue umbrella gets pummeled by the wind and rough weather as it pursues the red umbrella (clips below). Other details that have been revealed are that the short will premiere alongside the upcoming Monsters University (June 21, 2013) and will be directed by Saschka Unseld. Very excitingly (as is typical with new Pixar shorts and movies), the short will utilize new technology created exclusively by Pixar. The Blue Umbrella will utilize “global illumination” which simulates how surfaces will reflect light.  The other additional technical advancement is “deep compositing” in which three-dimensional data is layered into the animation (instead of two-dimensional data), which allows (among other things), increased depth of field.

The WSJ article also mentions that the city will come alive, “gutters grin, sewer drains smile and ‘walk’ signals spy”. John Lasseter was also quoted as saying, “What was exciting about the idea of ‘The Blue Umbrella’ was setting the story in a city where the city landscape has faces that come alive.”

Below is a collection of other interesting clips that will give you some additional insights and background of The Blue Umbrella from the Rainy City Tales 332 website.

We thought it was really neat that Saschka mentioned that he was moving to a new office in an October 31, 2012 post.

The Blue Umbrella Saschka Unseld office

This post from October 10, 2012, shows what originally looked like a wet and dented car hood – but we now know it is the red umbrella.

The Blue Umbrella Concept Artwork

On August 9, 2012, a post revealed several small bits of information from the script.

The Blue Umbrella Concept Artwork

This post from July 16, 2012, was our first hint that Saschka was directing this short.

The Blue Umbrella Concept Artwork

Finally, this drawing from June 27, 2012, clearly shows the main characters of the short (shown upside down) – hindsight is 20/20! Clever, very clever!

The Blue Umbrella Concept Artwork
Drawing by Director, Saschka Unseld

It certainly looks like the star of the new short isn’t going to have an easy time chasing after his new crush. We can’t wait to see this new adventure in theaters.

UPDATED January 7, 2013, at 3:00 PM EST

A new image has been released in a second Wall Street Journal article featuring a wider shot of the city and the two main characters. The article also additionally mentions that there were times when the frame rate of the raindrops is dropped from the standard rate of 24 frames per second to 12 frames per second. I’m guessing this adds to the choppiness of the rain and increase the tension slightly – we can’t wait to see this.

The Blue Umbrella Screencap

Additionally, Saschka has also noted on his Twitter feed that the score for the short was completed by Jon Brion with additional vocals by Sarah Jaffe

For those that don’t follow Saschka on Twitter already, if you like photography, you definitely need to follow him on Instagram as well. He does an amazing series of images of his daily commute that are truly awesome if you like photojournalism-style people photography. You may even see a few photos that are similar between the Rainy City Tales 332 website and his personal Instagram page!

As an additional side note, here is what the article looked like in today’s Wall Street Journal – very cool to see the image in print.

The Blue Umbrella WSJ Print

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