Thursday, June 1, 2023

“Elemental”, Pixar’s most ambitious technological bet also seeks to reach the heart

The movie “Elementary” (Pixar), which will be released on June 16, is already considered by its creators as the project “more ambitious” technologically from this study that works against the clock so that the potential of the story is at the same level as animation.

After the little success of his latest productions, such as Turning Red Last year, the most famous flexo creators in the entertainment industry intended to “revolutionize the sector” with a story whose characters are digital effects themselves.

animation composed of drawings, colors, textures, transparencies and images created by computer (CGI, in English) that merge, alter and transform each time Ember Lumen (fire) and Wade (water) interact with each other or with an environment also made up of two others nature elements: the earth and the air.

“What would happen if all the elements that surround us had own life?” Asked rhetorically Peter Sohn, director of “Elemental”, during an interview with EFE from the headquarters of the company, owned by Disney and founded by Steve Jobs, located in San Francisco Bay (California, USA). ).

Sohn, who has been linked to Pixar for more than two decades and has participated in films such as Ratatouille (2007), “Up” (2009) or “Lightyear” (2022), directs this film that will try to reconcile innovation with a story loaded with values.


The filmmaker also explained that the plot is “very influenced” for his personal experience, when dealing with issues such as the migratory process of a family and its subsequent adaptation, since his parents are of Korean origin and moved to New York decades ago.

Although all interpretations are “lawful and credible” In “Elemental”, according to its director, most of the professionals working on the project agreed that it constitutes a way of understanding that “the importance of life is in the little things”.

In search of balance Between an attractive image and a powerful story, the creators tried to balance the best of digital animation with features that would identify the protagonists and the environment.

And it is that the care behind each digital stroke in the streets, buildings or shops of Element City, as the city where the plot takes place was baptized, reflects a meticulous work whose creators recognize that it could well be “reconverted to other formats such as video games”.

“A major challenges it was to provide that level of richness so that each individual detail could form a universe in itself,” production designer Don Shank told EFE.

A position that was endorsed by the supervisor of special effects of “Elemental”, Sanjay Bajshi, who stressed from his office at Pixar Studios that “Sohn repeated over and over again that the animation should be as solid as the story.”

Among the dozens of professionals working to achieve “Elemental” there are also two Spaniards, the animator Jordi Oñate and the composition supervisor Néstor Benito, who spoke to EFE during this meeting with a small group of international media.

Both agreed that the structure and delivery times for this film varied greatly from the usual, as simultaneous work was required because the narrative could not progress without visual effects.

It is not the same to “animate a fish or a car”, which have a known structure, than an element that is “properly a digital effect” and has no proportions defined, so that “its original shape was lost with each movement” and it was “difficult” to continue creating.

For this, it was necessary 151,000 render farms capable of processing all the digital content of a film that will have to measure its impact on the big screen with an international premiere that the animation sector will be really aware of internationally.

“It has been a bit like embracing madness!” Benito concluded with a laugh in a gesture that showed satisfaction for the effort already made.


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