‘Inside Out’ Behind-The-Scenes: From Concept to Layout to Screen

Inside Out Concept Art

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned while talking about and studying Pixar’s films, it’s that the background of making the film is equally as enthralling as the film itself. The creation of content from the story team, editorial team, animators, rigging artists, lighters, and countless more is nothing short of inspirational. As we continue to explore the making of Inside Out through our visit to Pixar Animation Studios, we’ve been lucky enough to learn an amazing amount about the film from a few of the key players who worked on the upcoming film.

Not only did we want to continue our podcast interviews highlighting a behind-the-scenes look at the film, but we also wanted to visually explore some of the concept artwork with some additional details to help show how a scene develops.

Inside Out Storyboard concept art

STORY – This storyboard (shown above) was drawn by Inside Out Story Supervisor Josh Cooley. Storyboards are drawn by story artists for the purpose of pre-visualizing the film. They are placed side by side in sequence so that they convey scenes and deliver a rough sense of how the story unfolds. This storyboard is one of approximately 177,096 drawn, of which 127,781 were delivered to Editorial. In the form it is known today, the storyboarding process was developed at Walt Disney Studios during the early 1930s.

Inside Out Art concept art in headquarters

ART – Once the storyline for a sequence is completed, concept art is created by the Production Designer and art department to determine the look and feel of the film. This concept art piece was drawn by Production Designer Ralph Eggleston and showcases the exploration of color and the design of new characters and new environments.

Inside Out characters concept art in headquarters

CHARACTERS – Character creation begins with modeling, a process of translating the character’s overall form into the computer. These forms are then articulated to allow them to move. If called for, hair and clothing are added. The final step, shading, involves applying textures, colors, patterns, and other material properties that will add complexity. This image shows the characters fully modeled, articulated, shaded, and ready to be placed in a scene.

Inside Out Sets concept art

SETS – Using Art reference for guidance, the basic forms and shapes of the Set environments are translated into the computer during the modeling process. Shading comes next. Technical directors, using a combination of painting, programming, and photo reference, will apply textures, colors, patterns, and other material properties to the Sets to give them complexity and appeal. This is a wireframe image of the set for Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, showing the underlying modeling.

Inside Out Layout concept art

LAYOUT – Once the storyline for a sequence is completed, the scene is created in the computer. This frame shows the phase known as Layout, in which a virtual camera is placed into a shot. The characters and set are “staged” or placed into positions that work visually within the chosen camera angle. Layout precedes character animation. Sets are simplified during this phase but are seen fully built in the next stage of production.

Inside Out Animation and Simulation concept art

ANIMATION AND SIMULATION – When the Layout is complete, the primary and secondary characters are animated and brought to life by the Animation department. Animators create the personality and “acting” of the characters. The secondary motion of the hair and garments is added by the Simulation department and this simulation allows the hair and garments to move naturally to complement the acting.

Inside Out Lighting concept art

LIGHTING AND FINAL IMAGE – The Lighting department is responsible for integrating all of the elements – characters, sets, cloth and hair, and effects – into a final image. The lighting process involves placing virtual light sources into the scene to illuminate the characters and the set. Technical directors set up the lighting to draw the audience’s eye to story points and to create the correct mood. The images are then rendered at high resolution. 24 lit images, of over 2 million pixels each, are created for each second of the movie.

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