Pixar Animation Studios | 2012
Role: Layout Artist
Brave was the first movie I worked on, right after being hired at Pixar in late 2010. I never had the chance to work with the original director, Brenda Chapman, but I did get to work a lot with Mark Andrews, who would eventually join Brenda at the Academy Awards ceremony to receive the Best Animated Feature Film award.
Here's a video with Mark showing a little glimpse of the process of building the film. At around 0:37 he talks about one of the most fun sequences I worked on, the one where Merida is riding her horse through the woods shooting arrows at targets positioned on trees. This sequence was originally built by Rob Anderson, the director of photography, for an old version of the film, and needed to be updated not just to accommodate recent story changes and the newly modeled sets, but also for technical reasons - the software we use, Presto, was under heavy development at this stage. Once Rob handed me the sequence, it was my job to basically go around the virtual forrest looking for places to shoot, then do a "blocking" of the animation, sometimes shooting the same blocking at different locations and camera angles, exploring which shots, locations and compositions would tell the story in the best way, and then presenting several options to Mark.
Working with Mark was a lot of fun, mostly because he's a director who enjoys the process of exploring a sequence during the layout stage, but also because the man is an encyclopedia of cinematic knowledge, and obviously enjoys a lot what he does.