Computer Graphics World

September/October 2013

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he idea that food can think is so bizarre, it's a relief that the first inkling appeared in a children's book, Judi and Ron Barrett's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and in Sony Pictures Animation's (SPA's) subsequent animated feature. Now, in SPA's Cloudy 2, that notion has come to full fruition. Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn direct the pun-filled comedy starring returning voice actor Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood. Both directors were story artists on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. In that film, Flint Lockwood's Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator (DSMDFR) turned water into food with sometimes disastrous results. "The idea of sentient food came about two years into the first film, Pearn says. " "We have gummy bears attack a plane in that one, Cameron adds. " In Cloudy 2, the foodie characters become even saltier. Flint discovers that the DSMDFR is still operating, but now rather than spaghetti tornadoes, it's making foodanimal hybrids. The first film was a disaster film with food attacking from the sky. Cloudy 2 is a monster movie. "I basically posed pickles and strawberries in action scenes in the backyard, Cameron says. "Then, we started " talking about food creature combinations. [Character Designer] Craig Kellman came up with maybe 80 hybrid combinations, and then other members of the crew started in. We had food tribesmen, food hybrids, and food-animal monsters. " Watermelo"Foodimals, if you will, like the Watermelo " phant, Flamango, Cantalope, Fruit Cocatiel, Hippotatomus, Shrimpanzee, Tacodile, and the especially dangerous Apple Pie-thons. portman"Lewis Carroll used the portman teau in which the sound and meaning of two words combine into one, Pearn says. " " lot of our food creatures A are portmanteaus. " The foodimals and other food creatures – a strawberry named Barry, pickles, wild scallions, and so forth are visual as well as verbal puns that serve a tantalizing purpose beyond making us laugh. "The food creatures represent Flint's creativity, Pearn says. "The hook of this " film is that there's a meta thing going on. Flint is chasing himself through the film. By accepting the creatures, he accepts himself. " "He goes through an artist's journey, Cam" eron says. "He learns to be creative and to trust himself. " Barry Delicious Cameron and Pearn began their journey on the film at SPA in July 2010, but the team at Sony Pictures Imageworks didn't get into the meat of production until March 2012. "It was definitely the shortest production SPA has scheduled, and then we ended up shaving a couple months off the end, says Pete Travers, visual effects " supervisor. "It was originally scheduled for February 2014, then December 2013, and then September 2013. The last five months were harrowing. " The nutty schedule meant that Animation Supervisor Pete Nash and the five supervising animators organized a crew of 80 to 100 animators more organically than usual. "Typically, a lead animator has a team with the same artists, says Supervising Animator Joshua Beveridge. " "This time, the schedule was so fast, we worked together. Sometimes we had 50 animators, sometimes 10. It was hard, but we made it our responsibility to exchange information. Most animators worked out of Imageworks' Vancouver " studio, but some animators and supervisors cooked up the mouth-watering performances in LA. "Using our own software, we could sync the computers and control each other's machines, Beveridge says. " ev" At ery meeting, we were talking face to face using our version of Skype and drawing over each other's work. I didn't expect it to work as well as it did. " Because the film is a sequel, the animators didn't have to work out an underlying concept. "In the Cloudy world, C G W S e p t e mb e r / O c t o b e r 2 013 ■ 35

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