Many were taken aback by the level of visual realism in Pixar’s The Blue Umbrella when it was first revealed earlier this year; some were even fooled into thinking it was live action footage with superimposed CG faces. As director Saschka Unseld reveals in a new interview with Indiewire’s Animation Scoop, this photorealism was a very deliberate choice.
In fact, the team at Pixar even considered employing live action at one point; but, as Unseld explains, "if you start to go down that road in your head, shutting down a downtown city block with dozens of cars and extras and people with umbrellas and making it rain, and then trying to control that, you don’t want to do that." Sticking to CG opened up a whole new can of worms, though: just how do you convincingly mimic reality in a virtual space?
This is just one of the challenges touched upon in Animation Scoop’s insightful interview. As this new concept art shows, though, it was an equally important task to maintain visual clarity and bold color among the realistic detail. We’ll see if Pixar delivers when their latest short arrives with Monsters University on June 21.