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The Good Dinosaur

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Got a chance to see it today and the rendering was most definitely impressive.

The story... I'm still trying to assimilate it.

I won't give away any spoilers here.


I saw it in a standard theater but this may be one of those movies that is well worth seeing in 3D or better yet IMAX.

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I've been thinking about this movie quite a bit since seeing it and it amazes me how deceptively simple Pixar makes the film look.

It's one of those things where you consider even a simple scene and begin to realize just how difficult/complex completing even a single shot would be (i.e. modeling, animating, texturing... everything).

The other day I started doodling an image of Arlo... thinking, 'Just how hard could it be'... and a few hours later I still hadn't produced anything.

Here's about the only image I thought was worth sharing out of the whole endeavor.

*Almost* makes me wanna go back to drawing with pencil and paper as a similar outcome surely would have taken just a few minutes (he says with supreme overconfidence).

At least I'll know a bit more about the approach to take should I attempt to model Arlo again.


In other thoughts:

It's interesting to see the difference in character from the early promotional material and final characters as seen on the screen. It's pretty clear the design was refined to invoke a younger perspective. Specifically making the characters younger (from mid to late teen to ten/eleven). I think the final age serves the story well.


One thing I think might be lacking is that of introducing more characters that only make brief appearances (i.e. perhaps just a hint of a neighbor or two who farm in the general vicinity of Arlo's family. I understand the need to keep the story itself as simple and focused as possible but Disney/Pixar could definitely capitalize on that (young kids... especially boys as they are really into dinosaurs at an early age and it'd be good for them to see and recognize... or at least guess about... those neighbors). Perhaps they will explore that in related commercial endeavors. I do understand the sense of keeping the perspective small (family is everything to a young child) but even a highly sheltered child living far away in the wilderness is exposed to folks living in the greater community. Even if it was that strange old dinosaur that lives in the shack down the road that seasonally might warn, "You papa live close to de riveeer." "Me papa say doooon't live close to dat riveeeer."

arlo doodle 000.png

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For those that are technically inclinded (i.e. usually not me) Pixar has published a paper from their 'history of technology' presentation at SIGGRAPH 2015. For those so inclined there is a lengthy section on Open Subdiv. The paper can be found here:




This is the course notes from the presentation. I assume there is a video that goes with this presentation as well but I haven't seen it yet made available.

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There's an article at Huffington Post that hits on a lot of elements of what the old story would have been versus the film that launced into cinemas.


For those interested in the world of 'The Good Dinosaur' it's well worth reading.

It details why there were so few dinosaurs in the film and outlines the changes that made the two primary characters younger.




Now, here's the thing...

Technically, they could still make (most of) the originally planned story as a sequel to 'A Good Dinosaur' although a few things (character plot points) would obviously have to change.


I'm actually glad the additional cast members were set aside because the entire film would have taken on more of a 'Land Before Time' feel.

I do wish they'd hinted at a little more of the outside world (specifically the characters that inhabit it) as that would have sparked many a creative imagination.

Of course that may be very intentional on the part of PIXAR as the lack of detail gives them considerable time so that at their leisure (that is to say... based on the economics of creating divergent properties related to the film) they can develop the world as they see fit.


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This is a bit of a pitch for University of San Francisco but provides some additional behind the scenes as well.

The video highlights the contribution of USF alumni and PIXAR storyboard artist Rosana Sullivan on 'The Good Dinosaur'.




And here's a link to an exclusive fandango video that covers a bit of background on the team real world research and a couple seconds on volumetric clouds in the film.



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I apologize for burying this link here in this topic but it does relate to 'The Good Dinosaur' in that it's director, Peter Sohn, is a featured panelist along with Steve Martino (The Peanuts Movie), Roger Allers (The Prophet), Pete Doctor (Inside Out), Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa) and Richard Starzak (Shaun the Sheep).


The video is a one hour long 'Animation Roundtable' conducted by The Hollywood Reporter's editors Gregg Kilday and Carolyn Giardina.




One of my favorite take aways from the interview comes from Pete Doctor who, agreeing with the panelists (and referring to lack of dialogue in efforts like 'Shaun the Sheep') suggested that one pass of reviewing a film in production at PIXAR was to view the film without any dialogue to make sure it still works. Of course, there are many more gems of value to be found in the video and accompanying article.

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