Pixar’s Toy Story That Time Forgot may be full of new and exciting Battlesaur characters (as well as the fan-favorite Angel Kitty), but in our eyes, the “character” taking center stage would be the lighting – yes, the lighting. When creating a Pixar film there are many key elements that are put into place from the story conception to the final render, but we feel that the technical achievements paired with Pixar’s mastery of the medium add so much they’re worth calling out in their own post. The lighting was wonderful throughout the special and while watching closely, we couldn’t help but notice how brilliantly the light was used to support the rise in power of The Cleric.
The Cleric was our personal favorite character from the short. His rickety movements as he scooted along on his plastic wheels paired with Steve Purcell’s (Director) brilliant vocal work for the character really solidified his placement as our favorite. What may not have been as obvious when you first watched the special is that the background lighting goes from a warm gold color when we’re first introduced to his character, to a vibrant purple as he attempts to dispatch the Toy Story crew.
As Bonnie and Mason come storming into the playroom and turn the lights on, the purple washes away and we’re instantly told (subconsciously) that the struggle is over due to the return of the warm, golden glow.
Using lighting as a tool to reinforce the story is something that filmmakers have done since the beginning of Hollywood, but we love how Pixar took the care to include all of these elements for a television special. Where some televisions specials at other studios have reduced the quality or moved production to an off-shore animation team, Pixar’s attention to detail and quality certainly do not go unnoticed (whether consciously or subconsciously).