Check out all the secrets about the process of making and designing Disney Pixar’s COCO skeletons.
Disney Pixar invited us to the half trip in San Francisco to learn about COCO.
During my visit to Pixar, we attended a presentation with COCO creators and animators on how they “brought the skeletons to life.”
Coco is about the Day of the Dead in Mexico and takes place in two worlds, the world of the living and the world of the dead where skeleton-shaped loved ones live in the latter, returning to the world of the living every year , during the day of the dead. (As long as they are photographed by their altar).
The characters (skeletons or not) of COCO are very friendly and have a lot of resemblance to reality, do not be surprised if they remind you of any of your family or acquaintances. Hector, the skeleton that we will see most in the film, has the voice of the handsome Gael García Bernal, is a friendly homeless man who accompanies Miguel on his adventure to find his idol, the famous singer Ernesto de la Cruz.
We were at the press conference with the team in charge of the design of the COCO skeletons : Daniel Arriaga, Character Art Director; Emron Grover, Simulation Technical Director; Gini Santos, Supervising Animator and Byron Bashforth, Character Shading Lead and told us some secrets about these characters.
Curious Facts about Disney Pixar’s COCO Skeletons
- COCO skeletons are the most difficult characters ever created in Pixar. They did a lot of character tests with skeletons until they got the ones they liked the most.
- Before creating the skeletons they did a long research where they studied skulls, bones, anatomy and muscles to create the skeletons as close to reality, making them attractive to the audience.
- The creators learned a lot about skull painting or face painting.
- All skeletons are unique, some wear eyelashes, teeth, hair, wigs, others have dark circles or black basins around the eyes, others do not; others wear the typical paint of skulls.
- Based on a painting by Jorge Negrete, the famous “Charro Cantor” of many years ago, they tried to make a character with skull and make him look like the singer, without him looking afraid.
- There were several models of characters made on the computer, playing with the young and old, exploring that they looked like folk art or real skeletons.
- Skeletons have never been animated at Pixar before. It was a great challenge to bring to life the skeleton, a likely universal symbol of death.
- By animating the skeletons and making them credible characters, they respected the structure, design, expressions, personalities.
- They did a lot of tests on the skeleton characters, taking advantage of the spine but respecting the movement of the models, to make it believable.
- Hector’s walking was inspired by the character Ratzo from the film Midnight Cowboy with Dustin Hoffman. They had to make the movements of each bone with the broken rib.
- The face of skeletons is a very important part for viewers to realize the emotions of each character. They put more attention on the eyes and eyebrows.
- The animators and creators have a lot of experience with making digital clothes for characters but they had to learn how to make clothes for skeletons, Hector’s was difficult because it shows many bones under the vest, besides some bones get stuck in the clothes.
- The skeleton simulation took hours, everything is digital.
- Imelda’s skeleton, the way she wears a dress, was the easiest.
- In some cases you may notice the ribs under the clothes, such as when the wind arrives and pushes the clothes.
- Rosita, was one of the most difficult characters, because it is a large skeleton had to fill the skeleton with pillows to simulate muscles in order to create the spaces between the bones.
- In the skeletons of men they showed a lot of ribs and you can see how the clothes are jammed between them.
- To make the skeletons they photographed several bones, making samples, then added them to the software to build the skeleton in many detail until it looked acceptable.
COCO premieres in Cines on November 22, 2017, I can’t wait to see it!
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