Ok, so you saw the overview of the Monsters University campus. You know the movie is coming out June 21st. But did you know that I got a chance to attend a few classes at my MU freshman orientation?
When you attend MU, you will get wonderful life lessons on scaring, story telling, and most of all, MONSTERIZING. We were able to attend 5 special courses during our visit to Pixar’s headquarters, not only did we learn about the process of monsterizing, but we got to check out the behind the scenes work of the animation process too! I was a good student, I took notes.
English 101: How to tell a great story, Instructor: Kelsey Mann, Story Supervisor
You might think it’s easy to tell a story, but the Pixar folks show that it’s an extremely long and detailed process. They start with multiple brainstorming sessions and a blank canvas. Pixar has rooms full of vision boards, note pads, and plenty of idea sparking people to get a story line going.
They pitch out ideas, some great, some get shot down. The story is constantly changing, and the artists are able to adapt very well. Mann was able to give us a rough live draw of a storyboard idea for the movie, we also got a lesson on how to draw Mike Wazowski! Check mine out…
Sociology 203: Deconstruction of a Character, Instructors: Ricky Nierva, Jason Deamer, and Daniela Strijleva
Since this movie is a prequel, Pixar has to work hard to gracefully age the characters in reverse. So Mike, Sulley, and the rest of the gang were all reinvented. Each of the background characters are classified by shapes and colors, and laid out on story boards to keep them all in perspective. In working on de-aging Sulley, they made him a little slimmer and gave him a great messy hair style!
For Mike, they shortened his horns and also make him look a little more slender. A character with one eye ball is kinda tough to make look young, so the retainer and baseball cap did the trick!
A few more sketches of the characters…
Dramatic Arts: Bringing the Character to Life, Instructor: Scott Clarke
Ok, so this was probably the best course of the day! Not only did we learn that it takes a couple of weeks to make a 5 second animated clip, but we also got to see Clarke dance just like Sulley does in the movie! Each animator is assigned to a character and must figure out how to make them move and look good doing it, the arms, legs, tail, and head have to be in sync.
You have got to see this guy do the cabbage patch!
Physics 250: Global Illumination, Instructors: Jean Claude Kalache, Sanjay Bakshi, and Christine Waggoner
I had no idea what global illumination was, and it’s still a bit much to understand. It basically details the technical challenges of the film. Simulation is a big part of the animation process, which is the motion calculated by software that is too complex to be animated by hand. So all of the blades of grass, or little hairs on Sulley need to be animated by the computer. Sulley has 3.5 million hairs, quite a doosey to draw! Pixar put more hairy monsters in MU versus Monsters Inc., so they had to double their computers that render the simulation. This process totally ups the quality of the movie, making it look almost real! Clear as mud?
Anthropology 152: Monsterizing the World, Instructors: Dice Tsutsumi & Robert Kondo
In this course, we learned about creating and “monsterizing” the film. We were lead through the process of creating the Monsters University campus, where they took elements of real college campuses and made them a little more spooky. An early sketch of the school’s entrance…
Lots of fun additions were made to the scenery: trees, hedges, and ivy were transformed into motifs complete with spikes and horns. Doorways were a great spot to add monster motifs. Everything is powered by “screams” in MU, so they added pipes in the dorms. There are also underwater monsters, so they have an area for them, too!
I am so impressed with the work that Pixar puts into their animated films. We all know and love them, but knowing how much time and detail they put into them makes me appreciate them even more! Keep an eye out for Monsters University, in theaters June 21st! Don’t miss out, visit the official site and also MonstersUniversity.com for more details about the movie. You can also like the Monsters University Facebook page to enroll and get fun updates!
Disclosure: I am attending all events on behalf of Disney, Transportation and lodging was provided, but no other compensation. Everything I share is all mine.