The Blue Umbrella – Making of Video Series

The Blue Umbrella Screencap

For fans of animation, gaining insights into how a studio creates its art is enlightening. For fans who may be looking to enter the animation industry, that insight is priceless as you can gain a real-world look at what you may one day experience. That insight is exactly what The Blue Umbrella Creator/Director, Saschka Unseld has started posting to the Rainy City Tales 332 website (in the form of self-recorded videos) dedicated to the upcoming short.

UPDATED: Unfortunately, the website and videos are no longer available. Links have been removed.

On February 11, 2013, Saschka wrote, “During our production, I used my phone to film our crew doing their work. These videos are much less polished or glamorous than traditional making-of videos. But I hope they give a nice ‘down to earth’ glimpse into working at Pixar.”

The first video Saschka posted highlights the animation supervisor discussing a change in inbetweening with an animator. Inbetweening is the creation of intermediate frames to add a “smoothness” to the transition between two frames.

Since the audio on the last file wasn’t completely clear, Saschka received this humorous re-recording of the vocal track from the supervising animator and animator.

On February 14, 2013, the Rainy City Tales 332 website posted a new video highlighting the discussion surrounding clip 22h. This process of reviewing the progress of animation clips in a screening room is often referred to as the dailies.

The volume of the audio is low, but the highlights of the conversion are:

  • Lowering the brightness of the rain.
  • Take the density down and remove some of the “glitteriness” to stop the rain drops from looking too short.
  • Brighten the umbrella in the foreground (front left) to add additional contrast to the scene.
  • Push the bokeh flickering in the background (shown in the upper-right of the screen).

For those that aren’t familiar with bokeh, it is a photographic term that describes how the lens renders light in the out-of-focus area of the frame. It is often described as background softness or creaminess.

We are definitely looking forward to more of these insightful videos highlighting the creation of The Blue Umbrella. Be sure to follow the Rainy City Tales 332 website for full details.

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