Friday, November 13, 2009
UP is OUT
In conjunction with the release of Pixar's Up on DVD/Blu-ray I'm showing some of the work that I did ( graphic design and illustration for the production). I also thought that it might be interesting to show not only the pieces as they made it into the finished production, but also some of the process and development along the way. By no means is this all of the graphics work that was done for Up, by myself or others, nor am I showing all of the steps or versions, but these are certainly some of the highlights along the road.
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
There are important plot and story spoilers in this post, so if you haven't seen UP yet, you should really wait and look at this until AFTER you've watched the movie.
*ALL ARTWORK PROPERTY of PIXAR/DISNEY*
Ellie as a girl, has "procured" some pages (including this illustration of Paradise Falls) from various library & text books and pasted them into her own Adventure book. Later, Carl carries it with him on his own adventure in South America.
My first concept sketch, also showing that Ellie was going to attach her own drawing of her dream house on top of the Tepui illustration.
Style exploration and test.
Sculpt of the Tepui by Jerome Ranft, (Left and Top corner/Side) view. The bottom right image, shows the above digital shot that I altered for a faux geographic style magazine article that Ellie thumb-tacks up on their living room shrine.
I began to work with the digital shot as my reference and foundation for the "real" Tepui ...a difficulty with this, was that the actual model for the set had yet to be built, or finalized in it's design. As you'll see in the steps shown, there is some evolution to the silhouette of the location within my illustration.
The final image (in the film it receives the addition of a house drawn by Elie Docter. See the first image of this post.)
MAP OF SOUTH AMERICA
The facing page to the Tepui Etching in Ellie's Adventure book.
Initial sketch and screen shot of placement during the layout phase of production (this helped to determine if elements of the illustration needed to be moved for visibility and emphasis);
The plane tickets for the trip to Venezuela that Carl and Ellie never take.
Early concept sketches (these were to tie in with the logo and signage for the travel agency/airline location that Carl buys them from).
An early round of design as we determined the overall look and level of detail that the tickets would have.
The final two tickets.
The final two tickets-/ with color adjusted for environment. (Sometimes, as noted with the South America Map, solutions are determined after a design element has been seen in the context of environment, lighting, interaction with character, etc..)
As Carl is a senior citizen, his house was to be filled with a lifetime of items that he and Ellie had collected...along with that, a lot of clutter that Carl had ceased to be able to take care of properly. So, scattered about his house are notes, receipts, pill bottles, coupons, letters etc...
Some letters, a postcard back and a screen shot of the living room shrine, during layout for placement purposes.
Two postcard fronts (subtle reminders throughout the set of the trips that they never took).
Album and record label.
Layout screen shots of Carl's front foyer and living room for graphics placement.
Carl's cereal box and milk carton (Another example of design elements moved for visibility during the layout of the film is the empty space on the left of the cereal box front, something that wouldn't happen in the "real world".) I got a kick out of showing that Carl had opened the wrong side of the milk carton.
Shady Oaks is the retirement home that Carl has been court ordered to move into. Here is the logo for the van that comes to get him, the brochure (3D models would later replace the storyboard drawing that I used for placement during design) and the ID badges for the orderlies. Sculpture of Nancy by Greg Dykstra.
Made during production, the card featured the bird, then named "Gary" with a different body design and coloration than the final version.
Signage for the modern stores that have built up across the street from Carl's house, including models and layout screen shot for placement. The thinking here was to be slick, plastic and generally the antithesis of Carl's aesthetic.
CARL & ELLIE'S MAILBOX
Ronnie Del Carmen became the official source for Ellie's hand writing (I also used him for the "Paradise Falls" label on the side of the glass jug where they saved all of their coins). The two names shown here are several scanned tries by Ronnie using various brushes, which I then combined and cleaned up. The two hand prints were created by having Harley Jessup be our hand model for Carl and Stephanie Hamilton for Ellie. We basically coated the bottoms of their hands with various paints and inks, and then had them make several prints on paper... after scanning those in, I took the best sections of each and composited together an Ellie hand and a Carl hand, matching those proportionally to the actual CG hand models of the characters.
Screen shots from the film of the store fronts and mailbox.
During Carl's flight from the city, he clears a billboard as he flies over the rooftops. We wanted to underline his escape from his urban prison with an image that echoed his flight "up".
One idea was that through the decay that you often see on billboards, we would be able to combine an underlying image with a tattered front to convey the up and out movement.
Later the thinking was to tie in the billboard with the travel agency/airline where Carl had previously bought his and Ellie's tickets.
Until finally we ended with a much more simplified version of the airline logo, in a subtle blue (shown with layout screenshot).
WILDERNESS EXPLORER LOGO
Russell is a member of an organization much like the boy scouts or webelos, called the Wilderness Explorers. We knew that we wanted to communicate all that goes along with those institutions (exploration, the outdoors, camping, etc..) and subtly point in the "up" direction as well.
Early sketch ideas.
First round of design.
Final design, with a render of Russell's backpack for design application.
WE MERIT BADGES
Russell wears a sash that is covered with several (47) Wilderness Explorer merit badges, with one open space for the "assisting the elderly" badge that he is attempting to complete by helping Carl.
The ideas for the badges were hatched in a jam session with several of the story team artists, so as you will see in the following four images, we had 185 initial badges to choose from for Russell in the first review.
Keeping in mind that Russell has grown up in an urban setting, one of the ideas was to have badges reflect those type of skills and adventures rather than completely reflect the outdoors counterparts that are more commonly known. Believe it or not there is a name and meaning behind every one of these....
Once narrowed down to the final badges, placement and color coordination began.
The final 47 badges.
Referencing old scout manuals, alongside my own memories of being a cub scout, webelo and boy scout, I wanted to distill all of those types of ideas into the design of Russell's WE manual cover.
I also thought it might be cool to somehow incorporate an eagle and bear motif to go along with the hand signal and "call" that Russell makes throughout the film, as well as the Explorer motto that he recites.
Early round of design.
Final cover design.
At one point in the story, Russell was going to explain the jet stream to Carl using a spread from his Manual.
Interface/display (Don't blink or you'll miss it):
SODA BOTTLE CAPS
I believe that this was my last assignment on Up. At the beginning of the film young Ellie, has fashioned several pins or medals out of soda bottle caps and initiates Carl into her club of two by pinning him with the Grape Soda cap.
Final cap and with Carl in the film.
And Finally, at the end of the film, Carl pins it onto Russell, naming it... the Ellie badge.
*ALL ARTWORK PROPERTY of PIXAR/DISNEY*