Friday, 7 September 2007

Day246 Ratatouille and Character Ideas

Pixar's Ratatouille
It's here and it was fab. Pixar bring us another stunning piece of feature length animation and show off their skill at the task. Perhaps the tale itself isnt as strong as others they have given us, but it is still totally engaging, clever and full of character (really full).
This movie player thingo is chockers with little clips (click on the playlist - go on do it!!)


The character design is wonderful, the rats are fun, but the human characters are lovely. The critic (Anton Ego) is inspired, he is overtly exaggerated which fits the film fine. Not only is his model great, but the execution of his animation was beautiful to watch. Actually it wasnt just that, the lighting, music, 'camera' work all combined with Peter O'Toole's voice talent to make a whole far greater than the sum of its parts. Other characters like Colette and Linguini were nice to watch as well. Alot of credit for this would have to go to Brad Bird, who has a gift for bringing characters to life, to have them flesh out a narrative and push far enough to make it all work while retaining its feel. There are some highly complex shots with zillions of rats in complex environments and it all flows and works.

Speaking of character design, a picture tells a thousand words and all that. The short article on CGSociety ( shows off some character work by Pixar's Jason Deamer. Here are a few of the pics from that article:

[images from CGSociety's article]
The main Ratatouille site has some nice images of the characters that again show off how well they carry the individual traits. Here is my favourite:

[this is the same file/pic from the Disney site, but lifted from]

The CG look and effects work is another triumph for Pixar. The fur and hair are truly amazing, we get to see them everywhere (human and rat) and in all manner of situations and lighting. The emotive rain/water sequences interact with the fur as well - sweeet. Paris looks beautiful, in a stylish and slightly wonky way that melds with the interiors. There is a consistent look and feel to the whole film, where the music plays a solid role as well.

Here are some stills of the characters Pixar brought to life for us:

[still shots from the movie courtesy of wikipedia and mouseplanet]

Anyhow, there is no doubt that Pixar have again shown how amazing CG films can be, it is a lovely tale, beautifully presented - cant wait for the DVD to see Brad Bird and the rest of the gang walk us through its creation. Inspirational stuff Pixarians...


The Pixar short that came along for the ride with Ratatouille was Lifted. I adored this little piece, it was funny (got more laughs from the audience than the feature :-) and showed off the Pixar animation talent again for us.


15 Second Characters
I did get some designs down on paper of my own for our 15 second short to come. Though these sketches are starting to reflect the character, they may all be toooo complex for us and need pairing back to a simpler more easily animated model. Here are some of them:

[character sketches for 3D, 2D, and 3Dbabe]

By way of working on the Character Bios and thus to help flesh out the character designs as well here are some word associations for our 3.5 characters (multiple versions have been looked at of course - these are the set I am liking atm):
cool, confident, sexy, alluring, stylish, in-control, cheeky, intelligent.
lush blonde hair, sunnies, refined lips, neat trim clothes, cleavage, jewellery accents.
hip, stylish, youthful, happy, happening, techie.
beanie, headphones, goatee, casual clothing.
old-school, weary, happy with his lot, friendly, simple.
drawn on paper, simple linework, a tie?, still has a charm about him.
sweet, polite, pretty, happy, uncomplicated, innocent.
stylised, simple linework, eyelashes.

Reference Imagery
I thought I would have a quick look around for images of babes that might inspire more detailed work on 3Dbabe. Here are some links that have bits to offer:

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