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The Art of The Incredibles Hardcover – September 23, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
After almost 20 years in the vanguard of computer animation, Pixar Animation Studios (home of Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo, among others) is releasing another technological wonder, The Incredibles. Brad Bird, who made The Iron Giant and is described by Pixar executive producer John Lasseter as "the ultimate geeky animation fan," dreamed up the story of the Parrs, a family of superheroes who have been forced by law to stop using their powers and live normally, sort of, until a vengeful supervillain emerges and kidnaps the father. The book describes the long process that went into making Birds ideas a reality, with accompanying art showing the projects design at all its stages. Short interviews with Bird and his animation crew reveal the collaborative work and innovation necessary to produce a computer-generated feature focusing on humans, which are much harder to depict realistically than, say, angelfish. As the supervising technical director says, "the level of effort it takes to have the Parr family sit down to dinner is comparable to having Bob pick up a bus and throw it through a wall." Its fascinating to see the various images created in advance of the computer illustrations; on any given page, one can find the initial collages, sketches and, in some cases, digital effects that hint at how the movie comes to life. If Pixars track record holds, The Incredibles will be a major hit, but even if it isnt, graphic arts fans and those interested in finding out how such impressive productions are realized will enjoy this inside glimpse at the movies making.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This Christmas, what promises to be the latest in Pixar's unbroken string of smash-hit digital animation features will be released--The Incredibles. The movie depicts a family of superheroes--paunchy, middle-aged dad; domesticated mom; and three kids--forced to go underground when the government outlaws them. Director Brad Bird envisioned the film as a tribute to the comic books and TV shows of his 1960s youth. As this handsome book shows, he has given The Incredibles a look that celebrates mid-twentieth-century American design, including the era's conception of how the future--our present--would appear. Bird, whose background is in hand-drawn animation--he directed the undersung The Iron Giant--has, with the help of Pixar veterans, made a smooth transition to the computerized medium. This attractively designed book features hundreds of conceptual drawings, character designs, storyboards, and other illustrations, plus enlightening, behind-the-scenes commentary from the movie's creators. Libraries wherever tie-in books to such Pixar blockbusters as Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. have proved popular should prepare for similar demand for this latest volume. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
The Supers get most of the character design pages, of course, with a couple sketches of extras like the kid who sees Mr. Incredible lift his car in his driveway. All of these are drawn nicely, but more or less seem to be the finished design for the characters. When you compare this to something like The Art of Monsters vs Aliens, where you got to see the evolution of the main characters, it makes you wonder if they just went with the first design that was drawn, or if they just plain didn't want to put them in here for whatever reason. I was really hoping for some good sketches of Elastigirl and Syndrome, and only got a handful of drawings resembling how they look in the movie, nothing else. There's also a small collection of maquettes of the main characters.
But the majority of this book is locations, ranging from small rooms to the vast jungle The Incredibles are taken to, and the city where the rest of the action takes place in. Nearly everything is presented in large squares, and the dimensions are listed below the drawings. While the locations look nice, and I appreciate the work that went into them (especially the more 'modern' ones that are essentially made up of shapes), I kept getting the feeling that everything here was final, and we could've really used some actual drawings without the final touches. For people interested in landscapes and drawing cities, you'll learn a thing or two from this section.
I'm more of a character design person, but like I said, I can appreciate the hard work that goes into designing a location. But would it have hurt to have even 10 more pages of character concept art? Some of the drawings like Gazerbeam's skeleton were just plain stunning, and more pieces like that would've bumped the score up a little for me. In the end, I guess The Art of The Incredibles tries to go along with the time period it styles itself after rather than going for a more standard art book presentation. And while that's pretty cool of them, it sucks that I have to resort to going online for the good stuff that didn't make the cut. Don't pay more than the original retail price for this one.
Overall, I'm not satisfied with this book. It could have been so much better.
After sitting through that delightful & well-crafted rollercoaster, what stood out most in memory was the artwork in the closing credits. And when I watched the Features & noted the artwork tacked to the walls in the studio, I needed to find out more.
The heroes of this film, for me, are the artists who created apparently most of those angular saturated-color "sketches," Lou Romano (primarily responsible for the closing-credits illustrations) & Teddy Newton (whose techniques of creating "sketches" & panels from cut-out bits of photographs). Between them, they seem to have provided half of what's in the book.
The book looks pricey until you realize that it's entirely on heavy gloss paper. I entirely recommend this to artists of any stripe (advertising, fine arts, computer rendering) & to digital renderers from programmers to detailers -- this shows you what you start with & some tantalizing little bits of evolution. And, it's simply a great bit of fun & visually amazing.