Monsters University Art Toy
Behind the tech magic: Monsters University
Technology is nothing more than a “big fat pencil” for animating a film and telling a story, the Pixar gang says. But the marriage of technology and art at the digital animation studio in Emeryville, Calif., goes to the very heart of the company and its efforts to entertain us. We took a tour of Pixar’s headquarters and sat down with the filmmakers, who over the course of a day and a half unmasked the technological process behind the making of the movie.
For sure, Pixar is always at its best when it focuses on story and characters. When you’re spending well over $100 million and putting hundreds of people to work for years, you have to have a solid foundation. Technology isn’t the driver of the films. It only makes it possible for the creators to do their work, said Dan Scanlon director of the movie, in a group interview.
In this film, the characters Mike (green) and Sully (big blue monster) return. Sully was the main character of the first film and Mike was his chatty sidekick. But in the prequel, the story is all about Mike and his lifelong dream of being a “scarer, ” a monster who scares kids in their dreams, and his entry into college. He meets Sully, who at age 18 is really no more than an obnoxious frat boy, and they come of age in their attempts to make it at Scare School. Pixar showed the press the first 40 minutes of the film, and it seems like any other animated film. You pay attention to the story and characters, and only later do you consciously, if at all, think about the technology behind them. Our story will delve more into that technology to show how modern filmmaking has evolved.
Pixar’s fabulous glass-encased headquarter has been redecorated with a Monsters University theme. There is an MU arch at the entrance to the campus, and there are solicitation tables for clubs, like you see on college campuses. Banners of Monsters University characters are everywhere. They are intended to put Pixar’s employees in the spirit of the movie that they are furiously finishing.
Inside the building is a data center full of humming servers — double the size that the company used in the past — that would be considered one of the top 25 supercomputers in the world. The 2, 000 computers have more than 24, 000 cores. The data center is like the beating heart behind the movie’s technology.
Even with all of that computing might, it still takes 29 hours to render a single frame of Monsters University, according to supervising technical director Sanjay Bakshi.
Rendering means that the computers build the 3D world in its full colors as the scene is meant to be viewed in a theater. The machines create the frame and it is then captured as one of thousands of frames in the movie. When you watch the movie, you see anywhere from 24 frames to 60 frames per second.
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what is the quote from Across The Universe where Jojo says it keeps the monsters at bay?
"Play it loud enough, it keeps the demons at bay." Jojo, Across the Universe. !