As many of you know I attended Monsters University last month. Going back to college was a huge decision for me and I don’t regret one second of it. I’m proud to say that I passed although being a “top scarer” is tougher than I expected! I’d love to share my notes with you and give you a behind-the-scenes look at my Pixar experience:
Our day started off on the school bus- the positively best school bus I’ve ever been on! Once at Pixar we were greeted by the Monsters University drum corps. These guys rocked!
We then moved along to registration where we mingled with different representatives from the Monster University clubs. I, of course, signed up for the art club.
We then registered for our classes and took our photos for our student ID’s.
Then we got ready for our scary education. Here were our classes for the day:
• DRAMATIC ARTS: Bringing a Character to Life
Learn how the animation process works, and view an animation demo on a Linux machine.
Instructor: Scott Clark (Supervising Animator)
Notes: It’s amazing how much time is put into animating characters. Weeks can be spent on a few seconds of films as artists tweet movements on their 3D models.
• ANTHROPOLOGY 152: Monsterizing the World
Learn about creating and “monsterizing” the world of MU.
Instructors: Dice Tsutsumi (Shading/Lighting Art Director) & Robert Kondo (Sets Art Director)
Notes: I had no idea how much shading/lighting effects the mood of a movie. Dice Tsutsumi talked about how lighting reflects the relationship of Mike and Sully. The landscaping is also a major part of any movie. Robert Kondo pointed out that the MU campus is different and had to accommodate every sized monster who came through its doors. Basically the whole campus had to be “monsterized”. Keep an eye on the vegetation. Shrubs are shaped like horns!
• SOCIOLOGY 203: The Deconstruction of a Character
Learn about the design of college-age Mike & Sulley plus creation and design of new characters in the film.
Instructors: Ricky Nierva (Production Designer), Jason Deamer (Character Art Director) & Daniela Strijleva (Character Designer)
Notes: The challenge of this film was creating younger versions of the stars of Monsters University. The changes had to be subtle and you can definitely see a difference in Sulley’s appearance. His horns are smaller, the color of his coat is vibrant and he looks younger. The team also created all the new characters that you will see in this film. Dean Hardscrabble is probably the most interesting character. Her character is based on a poisonous bug! Ewww!
• ENGLISH 101: How to Tell a Great Story
Students learned Learn about the story process and how to draw a character from MU.
Instructor: Kelsey Mann (Story Supervisor)
Notes: The process simply begins with a white board. Employees brainstorm, sketch and finally pitch to producers. I loved watching Scott draw with his stylus and acted out his storyboard for us. Kelsey gave us a lesson on how to draw Mike. How did I do??
• PHYSICS 250: Global Illumination
View a presentation on the use of Global Illumination in MU and The Blue Umbrella.
Instructors: Jean-Claude (JC) Kalache (DP-Lighting), Sanjay Bakshi (Supervising Technical Director) & Christine Waggoner (Simulation Supervisor)
Notes: I have to say this was my hardest class for me. i couldn’t believe what was involved in Global Illumination. This was by far the most complicated class as we talked about realistic lighting for animations. LIghts are bounced and cast shadows and there are like 300-500 light sources. Rendering takes an incredible amount of time on a film of this size! I believe it takes a year to render a film! (Let me check my notes on that one!) Phew, that class made my head spin (in a good way).
We then broke for lunch and were entertained by the drum corp and cheerleaders.
Next up was our chance to meet two of the talented people behind the computer-animated film Monsters University. Dan Scanlon (director) and Kori Rae (Producer) were on hand for a Q&A session and students got to analyze the movie even further. Saschka Unseld (Director, The Blue Umbrella) was on hand to chat about his short which opens before Monsters University. Stay tuned for detailed notes on this portion of my day.
Scaring is tough work and monsters need their snacks! Students joined Monsters University graduate Squishy (Pete Sohn) for snack time. Squishy talked about his upcoming role and how he works at Pixar! He’s seriously awesome. Did you know the boy in the movie UP was based on Sohn? Up is one of my favorite films. <3
Our day ended with a tour of the rest of Pixar. My dream is to work there but if that doesn’t come true than at least I attended classes there! 😉
Stay tuned for more of Monsters University but for now check out the newly released Monsters University Trailer!
* I attended an all-expense paid press trip courtesy of Pixar/Disney. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This will in no way sway our opinion of the product or service.
The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ. All photos by Tee Burgess excluding photo #2 and #3 courtesy of Disney.