Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Pixar-Related Web Events for 2012

I thought for the end of the year it would be fun to list some of my favorite Pixar-related web events that occurred during 2012. There is so much great Pixar content out there and it can come from many places. I came up with the following list for a couple reasons; first, to give you an idea of the blog posts, interviews and web sites that really caught my eye and inspired me. And secondly, to hopefully introduce you to some alternate and different places that you can find not only Pixar, but animation, film and other related content.
  • Let's start with The PixarPost's #followrex hashtag and related posts. T.J. and Julie loved the new Pixar short Partysaurus Rex so much, they created their own Partysaurus Rex character, took him around town and tweeted about all of Rex's adventures! I had a blast seeing all the pictures of Rex and his crazy antics! They also of course brought Rex along for the Partysaurus Rex premier on September 14 with Finding Nemo 3D. Since then, Partysaurus Rex has done a lot more traveling, such as going to the World Series, partying with BT and even being sent to the Pixar Studios! T.J. and Julie were also able to interview Mark Walsh, director of Partysaurus Rex!

  • Along the Partysaurus Rex lines, William over at the A113Animation blog did an extensive interview with Partysaurus Rex director Mark Walsh. This is a great, in-depth interview covering the inspirations for the short and working with the Pixar Canada folks who did the awesome animation on the film. Make sure to follow William and A113Animation on Twitter!

  • I love the Disney parks, and love photography. So it's no surprise I love listening to the Disney Photography Podcast! In episode 25, they covered the re-opening of Disney's California Adventure this past summer which included the new Cars Land. Besides the photography tips and fun humor, Cory, Ryan and Tom's passion for the Disney Parks really comes through in their episodes. Even if you're not a photographer, listening to the podcast will point out many details that you might otherwise miss when visiting the parks.

  • Many of my favorite Pixar events had to do with the release of Brave. For instance, in episode 21 of the Animation Fascination blog, Marc and Matt interviewed Pixar animators Austin Madison and Chris Chua. Not only did they have some great Brave discussions, the podcast included their usual coverage of animation news, the latest trailers and home video releases. Get a list of all their podcast episodes and subscribe to it on iTunes!

  • On The Incomparable podcast, Jason Snell and his guests cover all sorts of media-related topics, usually tending towards the geekier side! Jason has discussed Pixar in a couple of episodes (take a look at episodes 49 and 50), and in episode 102, he and his guests give their views and thoughts on Brave.

  • If you consider yourself a Pixar fan and somehow are not familiar with or don't listen to The Pixar Podcast, well, you should stop reading right now and head over to the website and subscribe! Derrick, Greg and Johnny cover all the latest Pixar news and have done some awesome interviews, including ones with the owners of the Up house, composer and Pixarian Alex Mandel, and Michael Giacchino. Derrick was also invited to spend a couple of days at Pixar for the Brave Bloggers day and published the recordings from a number of the great sessions he sat in on. Here is the list of the episodes from that trip:
    • Episode 73 - Interview with Director Mark Andrews - "story is hard!"
    • Episode 74 - A walking tour of the studio's 2nd floor, which also provides a good overview of the steps taken to make a Pixar film.
    • Episode 76 - Simulation Supervisor Claudia Chung discusses simulating cloth and hair.
    • Episode 77 - Shading Art Director Tia Kratter and Production Designer Steve Pilcher talk about color scripts and lighting the film, what they learned from traveling to Scotland and what the details in a character's clothing can tell us about that character.
    • Episode 78 - Interview with Producer Karen Sarafian.
    • Episode 81 - Interview with Story Artist Louis Gonzales, who discusses the steps early in film development.
    • Episode 82 - Interview with Enrico Casarosa, director of the short film La Luna.

  • The Rotoscopers have only been doing their podcast since early 2012, but they've already done a number of great episodes and interviews! I particularly enjoyed their interview with Pixar technical director Chris Horne. I loved the nerdy discussion on lighting and rendering, especially how each character has its "posse of lights", and how one of the last scenes for Brave they needed was going to take a month to render but the film was due in only 2 weeks! Their podcasts, which also include reviews of animated films, are great fun and I really enjoy the interaction and humor between Morgan, Chelsea and Mason.
  • As a techie, I love getting into the technical details of film making, especially animation. That's why I loved the Chris Horne interview (above), and why I also really like fxguide. The fxguide is composed of a number of podcasts including the rc, the vfx show, fxpodcast and fxguidetv. Their podcasts and articles cover areas like digital cinema, visual effects and trade shows like SIGGRAPH. Much of their content goes way over my head but it's still fun hearing all the technical details about the films I've enjoyed so much. fxguide did a couple of great podcasts related to Pixar this year. In the June 22 episode, fxpodcast interviewed Claudia Chung on Brave simulations. Some of the information in this podcast was covered in The Pixar Podcast's episode 76 I mentioned above, but this one goes into more technical details. But as a big fan of Pixar history, if I could only pick one episode, I'd have to pick their podcast on July 6 with Dr. Alvy Ray Smith. If you're not familiar with Smith, you should be! He was at NYIT with Ed Catmull and moved with Catmull and others to Lucasfilm to create their computer division. With Catmull, he founded Pixar. This interview delves into the "early" days of Pixar and computer graphics, and covers many of the early computer graphic pioneers and inventions, a number of them created by Smith and which are still used in film making.

  • Pixar's next film will be Monsters University, to be released June 21, 2013. The marketing for the film has already begun with some great concept art and a fun teaser trailer. Disney/Pixar has also created a Monsters University website to help market the film. The site is a mock university website with everything a real university would have - information on admissions, academics, student life, classes and an actual university store where you can buy Monsters University apparel and other merchandise (I have yet to buy the 4-armed sweatshirt, maybe I'll get it for my birthday!). The site is also set up with a M.U. Net page where students, faculty and staff can log in. I'm hoping that as we get closer to the film's release Disney/Pixar expands the site and allows fans to obtain a M.U. Net user ID. Keep your eye on this site!
So that's my list! What about you? There's so many great Pixar bloggers out there, which ones caught your attention? Please leave your favorites in the comment section below, and have a great New Year!!