transform your renders and go inside incredibles 2
Before Pixar’s 2004 hit, The Incredibles, the animation studio had yet to undertake a project so full of stylised CG human characters – each with skin, hair and cloth to simulate. Not only that, these characters, as dreamed up by director Brad Bird, had superpowers, and they traversed a wide array of locations and environments.
But such is Pixar’s approach to conquering both the art and technology of animation that the problem of CG humans on that film was of course overcome. And when Bird returned for his latest outing with Incredibles 2, all of Pixar’s technological leaps and bounds since 2004, including its new approach to path traced rendering, were now available to the director for a film even larger in scope than the first.
“IT FEELS LIKE THERE’S DANGER, THAT THE CHARACTERS AREN’T WEIGHTLESS, THAT THERE’S CONSEQUENCES TO ACTIONS”
The scope of Incredibles 2
Resuming where The Incredibles left off, Incredibles 2 follows the Parr family, whose superpowers have become largely unused in an environment where ‘supers’ are not so welcome anymore. While Helen (aka elastigirl) continues to fight crime, her husband Bob (Mr incredible) stays at home to care for the children, Violet, Dash and Jack-jack.
Ultimately, the Parrs are called upon to battle a new villain, the Screenslaver.
This meant Pixar would again need to cater for a variety of CG humans and an array of thrilling action scenes. And they needed to do it fast – the film’s original release date in 2019 was moved up a year earlier.
“The single biggest challenge on Incredibles 2 was that there was no single biggest challenge,” says Pixar supervising technical director Rick Sayre. “The biggest challenge was one of scope, that we were going to have to do a significant amount of work across all disciplines and departments, in not a whole lot of time.”
character considerations Although Pixar has certainly conquered virtual humans in several projects, the characters in Incredibles 2 remained somewhat stylised (as they had done in the first film). Their proportions and abilities are exaggerated – remember, these are superheroes – but this aspect still proved to be a significant obstacle for the studio.
“There is this challenge of having shapes that may not be physical, but still making them feel familiar,” says Sayre. “i think for Brad, a big aspect of that was making things feel real, even if you don’t recognise all of the body proportions as being exactly a human or an ‘uncanny’ human. What we’re trying to establish is that there are stakes. it feels like there’s danger, that the characters aren’t weightless, that there’s consequences to actions.”
“Often those challenges surface as negative results,” continues Sayre. “You imagine a character with exactly Bob Parr’s proportions, well, what would that look like? Do you immediately think that that person should be rushed to the hospital? That’s the challenge of stylisation. But one of the most complementary things out of that, when we got to the point where we had the characters up in the new system and we’re looking at them, was that both Brad and supervising animator Tony Fucile have said that this felt like what they wanted the characters to be like all along.”
Perhaps the biggest change affecting the characters since the first Incredibles is a general industry movement towards approaching things in a physically based way. “This isn’t only in terms of lighting and rendering, but also in simulation and design,” notes Sayre. “Compared
bob Parr (Mr Incredible) becomes the stay-at-home dad in Incredibles 2