Computer Graphics World

January/February 2014

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SHORT FILM 30 ■ CGW Ja n u a r y / Fe b ru a r y 2 014 Moody Blue Moo Mood Blue Blue On Director Saschka Unseld's Twitter page is a photograph of a dark-blue umbrella lying upside down on a rain-soaked street next to a white fire hydrant. The umbrella's exposed ribs, bent at awkward angles, look like spidery legs trying to lift up the crumpled canopy body. You could almost imagine the nearby fire hydrant with dots for eyes, nozzle nose, and ears on each side looking on. When Unseld took that picture, he was a layout artist – a cinematogra- pher – at Pixar Animation Studios. Now, he is the highly praised director of Pixar's short film "The Blue Umbrella." Released with Disney/Pixar's feature Monsters University, the six-minute, 40-second film has sent ripples through the CG community for its unique style. The story is simple. The film opens on a busy, sunny city street, and then one raindrop falls. And another. The music begins and we see smiles in the hints of faces on objects that come alive in the city – a concrete outlet cover in the street, a gutter, a mailbox. With the rain come umbrellas. The camera looks down on a sea of gray umbrellas in which one blue umbrella stands out as it bounces down the street. A red umbrella happens alongside. Blue flirts with Red. But, their owners move in different directions. Desperate not to lose Red, Blue uses a SHORT FILM In Pixar's stylish short animated film "Blue Umbrella," a photorealistic CG city comes alive By Barbara Robertson ©2013 Pixar Animation Studios.

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