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The Art Of Pixar (book review).

December 6, 2020 | By | Reply More

Now, here’s an oddity. If you do the flick page test on ‘The Art Of Pixar’, what you see are strips of colour on practically all the pages. You do have to look close up to see the details and read across the pages to realise you’re looking at storyboards.

The Art of Pixar: The Complete Colorscripts from 25 Years of Feature Films Revised and Expanded (Chronicle Books, £45)
Foreword by Ralph Eggleston; Introduction by Sharon Calahan & Harley Jessup
Image credit © 2020 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Pixar. All rights reserved.

Pixar director/production designer Ralph Eggleston, who did some of these in pastels, and lighting director of photography Sharon Calahan and production designer Harley Jessup explain in their introductions is that these are more than storyboards. When Pixar started preparation for their first film, ‘Toy Story’, there was a need to sort out the emotional content and colour schemes before even getting near the computers. All preparation work that would make the computer work easier. So scenes were sketched and laid out along walls to be looked at by the director to see if it caught what was needed, especially in terms of colour and emotional content. Obviously, the originals were probably much larger than what we see in this book.

The Art of Pixar: The Complete Colorscripts from 25 Years of Feature Films Revised and Expanded (Chronicle Books, £45)
Foreword by Ralph Eggleston; Introduction by Sharon Calahan & Harley Jessup
Image credit © 2020 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Pixar. All rights reserved.

So this is not a book for your sprogs but certainly for those interested in the preliminary preparation in making an animated film and how much colour plays a part in expressing emotion. We all know red colours exhibit warmth and blues cooler colours but you just can’t work in those two areas and need a balance from the rest of the colours. More importantly, this has to vary a lot for each film because the viewer, mostly unconsciously, will recognise similarities. With the early cartoon shorts from the likes of Disney and Warner, it all contributed with their characters to company identity. When Disney originally moved into films, they were also aware of giving more colour depth, so it’s hardly surprising Pixar took a similar route.

The Art of Pixar: The Complete Colorscripts from 25 Years of Feature Films Revised and Expanded (Chronicle Books, £45)
Foreword by Ralph Eggleston; Introduction by Sharon Calahan & Harley Jessup
Image credit © 2020 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Pixar. All rights reserved.

I’m used to reading sequential art, either with or without dialogue, if I have to, but this is a heavy book to ‘read’ that way. There are sequences from all the films and a lot to digest and put into context. The length varies from film to film but it looks like ‘Cars’ and ‘Toy Story 3’ have the longest sequences and using digital instead of pastel commenced with ‘Ratatoulle’ and from then on there was a lot more detail to the pictures making me think the digital layouts were already being created and being tested out in these storyboards. Interestingly, ‘Monsters University’ has gone back to basics looking more for colour and form. In many respects, I wish there was a lot more text. It isn’t as though there wasn’t the space with the film titles.

The Art of Pixar: The Complete Colorscripts from 25 Years of Feature Films Revised and Expanded (Chronicle Books, £45)
Foreword by Ralph Eggleston; Introduction by Sharon Calahan & Harley Jessup
Image credit © 2020 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Pixar. All rights reserved.

There are also scenes from the various short films Pixar has also done over the years although not all of them have needed sequence preparation.

The Art of Pixar: The Complete Colorscripts from 25 Years of Feature Films Revised and Expanded (Chronicle Books, £45)
Foreword by Ralph Eggleston; Introduction by Sharon Calahan & Harley Jessup
Image credit © 2020 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Pixar. All rights reserved.

Remembering the introduction that the originals were set up along walls to be inspected and were obviously much larger does tend to bring a critical fault with this book. It might have been better to have had a few films to a volume and gone for much larger or at least do that for a select few than to scale down so small as this.

GF Willmetts

November 2020

(pub: Chronicle Books, 2020. slipcased 320 page illustrated oblong hardback. Price: £45.00 (UK), $60.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-4521-8278-0)

check out website: www.chroniclebooks.com

Tags:

Category: Illustration, Movie books

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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