Welcome to the first in a new format of Sunday Suggestions, where instead of suggesting alternatives to products, I will be reviewing them. As it is Pixar week I have decided to review one of my favourite books when I was younger, Pixarpedia.
The Pixarpedia is a book dedicated to everything Pixar created by DK. DK like to produce books like this centered around different films, shows, and games. This book was written in 2009 and features all the films and shorts from before that date. They did do an updated version where they included Toy Story 3 and Cars 2. The book has 352 pages with 3 main divisions. These divisions are:
Forward – A forward by Andrew Stanton, an introduction into the history of Pixar, a timeline, and how they make the films.
Movies.. – Dedicated to every Pixar film, character, and setting. Each character gets a write up with information about them, while each setting is explored and described.
…and Beyond – A few pages for each film including easter eggs, hidden details, fascinating facts, and staff interviews. It also includes an index of all terms mentioned throughout the book.
As a huge Pixar fan having a book full of every character you can think of, including non talking characters, is great. Each character has a description of them; with the more well-known characters having more written about them. I find the sheer breadth of characters astounding. The fact that the authors found time to write up descriptions on obscure characters is brilliant. Throughout the book there are various text boxes containing little snippets of info separated from the overall content. All the pictures and image have been taken straight from the films. In the Movies section all the characters are seen as the characters they were in the film, so for example, Hamm from Toy Story has info about his role in the film, a fact file containing his full name, occupation, and talents, as well as some plot points he was involved in. It is in the Behind the Scenes pages where they list the credits. Each film has it’s own style with different fonts, colours, and decals. The Behind the Scenes pages are very nice with some great facts and hidden details. They show where each A 113, hidden Mickey, and Pizza Planet truck appears in the films. The staff interviews are good too.
A great book for any Pixar fan.
A good way to learn the different characters and their roles in the films.
The superb behind the scenes pages.
The insane amount of supporting characters.
Maybe the main font could be nicer. (All I could think of)
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Pixar, character design, and animated films in general. It is a great reference book, which you will find you dip in and out of. I would give this fascinating book…
If you would like to buy this book it is available on Amazon UK.
Even though Cars isn’t the most popular Pixar film, the characters are some of the most recognisable. I am sure we have all seen the films and know the premise of it. The world is made of cars; cars with eyes and mouths. So today I will show you how you can make your vehicle, whether a car, truck, bike, or even plane, look like it belongs to the Pixar universe.
First open up a picture of a car you want to turn into a Pixar character.
Make sure the image is on a separate layer, and the background layer is transparent.
Next select the area of the windscreen using the Quick Selection Tool (W). I find this tool the easiest to select a particular space. You must click and drag the tool over the windscreen to add to the selection. If you have included too much in the selection, just hold down alt to deselect a particular part.
Now delete the windscreen selection. No go to the gradient editor and create a gradient similar to the one pictured. Grey to White then back to Grey will work. Try to slant the gradient to the windscreen’s curve.
We now need to create a new layer on top of the other two. You can do this by going to Layer>New>Layer.
Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) create an outline for the eyebrows. I got the curves by creating the points of the lasso close together. Try to give the eyebrows expression.
With the eyebrows selected, we can go again to the gradient editor. If you click one of the colours in the gradient you should bring up an eye dropper. With the eye dropper select the lightest and darkest colours from the shine on the vehicle. Don’t worry if the colours don’t match exactly. All we need to do is make them look similar. Again, try to slant the gradient relative to the bend in the windscreen.
While still on the eyebrow layer, go to Layer>Layer Style>Drop Shadow.
Add a drop shadow to the eyebrows. The settings with the best effects are Angle 90, Distance 20 px, Spread 0%, and Size 5 px. This should give a convincing shadow under the eyebrows.
Next, select the entire windscreen from the image layer and copy it onto a new layer above all the other layers.
Once this is done, use the eraser tool to rub away the area with the eyebrows. I find this gives a better finish as it looks like the eyebrows fit within the windscreen.
Copy and paste this image of an average Pixar style eye into your image twice. I added the extra white circle. You can do this too, by using the ellipse tool (U) and the colour white.
Move the eyes to the windscreen.
I decided to sink the yes lower into the bonnet. At the moment, the eye is overlapping the edge. Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (W) highlight the overlapping area and delete it on both eyes.
On a new layer, again using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (W), select a space on the front of the vehicle in the shape of a mouth. Then add a grey to white gradient to the selected area.
With the same tool, cut out a shape from the mouth and delete it.
Lastly, select the licence plate in the image layer and copy it to another layer. Make sure this new layer is ontop of all the others.
You should end up with something similar to this. I hope you like this tutorial and find a way to use this.Maybe you could customise a friends car for them. If you do end up trying this out feel free to share it in the comments.
In 2012, Pixar’s Brave flashed on the big screen for the first time. A year-and-a-half later, Disney unveiled Frozen to audiences all around the world. Brave takes place in medieval Scotland while Frozen seems to take place in mid-1800s Norway. The stories happen in two completely dissimilar locations. However, looking beyond these differences reveals two remarkably similar fairy tales–which begs the question:
Did Brave Inspire Frozen?
Notice the similarities between the two films:
Each tale begins with the main characters as children.
Merida is gifted her first bow and arrow as a child and practices archery for the first time. The scene shows little Merida laughing and playing with her mother (the queen), indicating that they had a close relationship at this time.
Elsa, casting ice and snow from her hands, turns the inside of the castle into a winter wonderland for her and her sister, Anna to play. Together, they built a snowman and turned the place into an ice skating rink. This would be one of the last times Elsa was allowed to play with Anna.
Both films events begin with a family dispute, caused by a main character’s special ability.
Brave’s redheaded protagonist, Merida avoided betrothal by handily beating her suitors in her favorite sport: archery. Merida’s actions strained–and nearly broke–her relationship with her mother (the queen). Her mother did not believe that a princess like Merida should be practicing archery. Archery, after all, is un-ladylike.
In Frozen, princess Elsa possesses the ability to cast ice and snow out of thin air. She accidentally used this ability on her sister, Anna. Her parents (the king and the queen) reacted by splitting her off from the family and confining her to her room. Elsa spent the rest of her childhood separated from Anna.
One of the main characters is affected by a spell.
Merida got more than she bargained for when she asked for a spell to “change” her mom. The spell changed her mom into a bear, which Merida did not expect.
The spell that Elsa accidentally cast slowly froze Anna from the inside out.
In an attempt to cure the spell, the main characters journey into the woods:
Merida visits the same house where she initially bought the spell. She finds that the witch who sold it to her is on vacation. The witch left a holographic message (powered by a spell in a simmering cauldron) revealing that the clock is ticking on the spell. Merida has until the “second sunrise” to cure it. Otherwise, her mother will be a bear forever.
Kristoff, Olaf, Anna and Sven journey into the snowy woods until they find the trolls that raised Kristoff (and cured Anna the first time) The gang consults with the elder troll, who reveals that if the spell isn’t cured soon, Anna will freeze forever.
Both spells are cured by an act of true love–which mends a tattered relationship.
Merida mends her mother’s tapestry (she sliced it with a sword in the beginning). After this didn’t cure the spell by itself, Merida broke down, cried and began hugging the giant bear her mom turned into. Through tears of pain, she confessed that she loved her, she wished she’d listened to her and that she needed her back. This breaks the spell, reuniting the duo. Weathering the struggles of the spell strengthened Merida’s relationship with her mother and brought them closer together than ever before.
Anna–seconds away from freezing to death–sees Hans (evil guy) with his sword raised into the air with Elsa on the ground. Just as he plunges his sword downward, Anna jumps in front to take the blow. Just before the sword hits her hand, she freezes solid. The sword shatters as it smashes into her hand. Elsa is ecstatic to see her sister, but is soon realizes that she’s solid as ice. Devastated, she clings onto her frozen sister, sobbing. Unexpectedly, Anna begins to thaw–until the color returns to her face and she’s back to normal. The spell is cured! The pain of losing Anna followed by the joy of getting her back strengthened Elsa’s relationship with her sister and brought them closer together than ever before.
Observing these similarities and noting that Brave was released a full year-and-a-half before Frozen, do you believe that Brave inspired Frozen? Or are all these similarities merely convenient coincidences?
This post was written by Andy Carr. You can contact Andy via his email email@example.com. Thanks Andy.
It is no secret that Pixar and Dreamworks are against each other and always will be. They are the two powerhouses for 3D, CGI films, so it is obvious they will be at war. Standing from the sidelines the battle looks fairly mundane with both studios releasing films for the public to enjoy, each trying to create great films. The battle between Pixar and Dreamworks is way more than this; Pixar and Dreamworks have history…
It all starts with a man named Jeffery Katzenberg. Jeffery was brought into Disney by CEO Michael Eisner in 1984. Eisner wanted him to look into the motion picture division of Disney. At this time Disney was one of the worst performing studios in regards to film making. Katzenberg was able to turn this around by creating some more adult orientated live action movies, as well as some of Disney’s best animated films. These animated films included Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and the Lion King. It was also Katzenberg who agreed the partnership deal between Disney and Pixar.
When Eisner’s second in command died in a helicopter crash, Katzenberg was not promoted to the free position of president. Katzenberg fell out with Eisner, and left Disney in 1994. He also even attempted to sue his old company for money he felt he was owed. This breakup inspired Katzenberg to seek revenge, eventually leading him to create Disney Pixar’s mortal enemy, Dreamworks.
Thus commences the biggest movie studio rivalry known in the business, and a fairly shady movie battle too…
Bug’s Life vs Antz
Hyped up by the success of Toy Story, Pixar started work on its next film, A Bug’s Life. Remember that Katzenberg knew John Lasseter and Steve Jobs after Toy Story and Pixar’s collaboration with Disney. To be honest, Katzenberg hindered the process of Toy Story by wanting it edgier and appeal more to adults. It wasn’t until he left Pixar to it, when they were able to create the film they wanted. Katzenberg had already had a run in with the Pixar staff, so when Katzenberg invited John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton for a meeting after his founding of Dreamworks, they should have smelt a rat. Katzenberg was asking them a lot of questions about their “bug” film, and pointing out how close the release date was to Dreamwork’s Prince of Egypt. This meeting was in 1995. John and the Pixar team started getting word that Dreamworks were also making a CGi film based around insects; this film became Antz. John phoned up Katzenberg who initially said it was a rumour, but later admitted it was true. Jeffrey told John that the Antz pitch had been given to him years before any news of A Bug’s Life. John obviously found this hard to believe and felt he was the cannon fodder between Disney and disgruntled Katzenberg. Katzenberg then phoned up Steve Jobs, and told them he could stop the production of Antz if Disney and Pixar moved the release date of Bug’s Life to avoid it colliding with Prince of Egypt’s date. Jobs told him it was extortion and refused to move the date. Disney would not have let him anyway. Katzenberg then made the decision of moving Antz’s release date from Spring 1999 to October 1998, just to get an edge on Pixar’s Bug’s Life. The sad thing is that most of the Pixar crew knew and were friends with the PDI crew (PDI being the computer animation group Dreamworks bought and used), and would have supported their new film, had it not been in direct competition with theirs. John Lasseter has even said that he would have closed the studio for the day just to go and see PDI and Dreamwork’s first film. PDI and Pixar were on good terms after the whole debacle, but the competition between Dreamworks and Disney still whirred on.
Film’s Similarities and Differences
Based on insects
Main character is a male worker ant that wants to get out of the colony
The worker ant falls in love with a princess
They both save the colony
In a Bug’s Life the colony is the safe place, while the big city is dangerous. In Antz the colony is bad and the place they try and find is good
Antz is not afraid with death with many characters dying, while Bug’s life shows little violence and no deaths
Bug’s life is family friendly, whereas Antz tried to be edgy, using satirical and rude humour and violence
Antz is the dark side of theme, while Bug’s Life is the light. Antz used darker colours, humour, and plot. Bug’s Life is colourful, juvenile, and much brighter.
On Rotten Tomatoes:
As you can see from the ratings both films are highly acclaimed. They each win out in different areas on different websites. The reason Antz beats A Bug’s Life on some websites is due to the harder hitting story and better voice cast, while Bug’s Life wins for memorable characters and child friendly plot.
Even if their critical reception was similar, Katzenberg’s gamble with Antz beating Bug’s Life didn’t pay off at the box office.
Bug’s Life cleaned up with $363,398,565 in box office sales to Antz’s $171,757,863 worldwide sales. The fact that Antz lost out to Bug’s Life even though it came out earlier speaks kindly to the marketing Pixar did for the film, and the lack thereof from Dreamwork. It also shows that the fact Antz was rushed out into cinemas just to beat Pixar’s efforts was a stupid idea, and thus lacked any real traction in the theatres. Judging by the reviews Antz could have easily been stiff competition for Bug’s Life if it had been marketed better.
In all credit to Katzenberg and Dreamworks, they did bring out a good film with good reviews. So you can only feel the cheap tactics and fired shots between the two studios only really harmed Antz. Had Katzenberg waited for Bug’s Life to come and really finish off the film, it may have beat Bug’s Life in the box office. After Jeffery had laid down the gauntlet there was no real going back; Dreamworks and Pixar were to be long time enemies. From similarities between Shark Tale and Finding Nemo, Ratatouille and Flush Away, and even Disney’s Emperor’s New Groove and The Road to Eldorado only strengthened the animosity between the two even if they were just “coincidences.” After Bug’s Life vs Antz, animation fans actually had two great films to watch and enjoy. So I suppose it wasn’t all bad.
Well it has been a long time coming (a month to be exact), but I have finally got everything up and running for the new weekly format. This Pixar week will include some interesting posts all about Pixar!
Tuesday will have a post about Bug’s Life and Antz and the problems between the two films.
Wednesday will be a post documenting the early history of Pixar.
Thursday will be a guest post about how Frozen and Brave are very similar films.
Friday ‘s post will be a tutorial on how to make your vehicle look like a Cars character in Photoshop.
and Sunday will be a review of the book Pixarpedia!
We have a new feature named Culture Clash too! Culture Clash will put two things against each other to find how which is the most popular. This weeks is:
Buzz vs Woody!
This picture will be in the sidebar all week as a easy link to the Culture Clash site.
I hope you will like this new format. I am certainly enjoying doing it. You can find the schedule on the schedule page. If you can help with any future week’s themes please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.