While I was in San Francisco learning about the new Pixar movie Coco, I learned about lighting, family, tradition and they history of Dia de los Muertos. But honestly one of the most interesting interviews was the one where we learned about the making of the skeletons.
Typically we wouldn’t think it would be that difficult, after all it’s like drawing a human, right? After talking to the creators I quickly realized how difficult and how much thought process was put into creating the skeletons…. making them walk, talk and have a personality like a human when structurally they’re just bones.
The skeleton characters were some of the hardest characters Pixar has ever had to create.
Some of their challenges were trying to find appeal in the skeleton characters. They want to make you love them and relate to them BUT how do they add characteristics to make each skeleton unique and hold a personality.
Pixar had NEVER animated skeletons before, so before they started they had to take a significant amount of time learning about the human structure and skeletal system. The creators had to learn the names and anatomy of all the bones in a human body and deeply study the skull. Before they dived in they needed to create some rules and boundaries, because once you take away the skin and structure of a body, the possibilities are endless to what each individual imaginations could come up with. One of these traditional rules they DID decide to break was, going away from the jaw bone and giving their skeletons a solid facial structure. They also decided to give their skeletons lips. Their main reasons for these changes it that without, it would be very difficult to match annunciation and diction to what the character was saying.
10 Things The Creators Of Coco Had To Decide While Creating The Skeletons
- Will the Skeletons have hair or will they wear wigs? Will it look odd having hair grow out of a skull bone
- Will they have eye balls, and if they do, will they be floating in the socket or some how connected
- Will they have teeth?
- How will we give distinct characteristics that will define young and old?
- How will clothes give shape and body definition when bone carries no shape or size?
- Will Skeletons have tongues?
- Will they have eyelashes?
- A major debate was if they would include face-paint representing Dia de los Muertos or would it be too distracting
- They also debates on how the jaw should lay…. will it float with and invisible hinge or will it be connected.
- How will we give a range of emotion to a solid skull bone. This was their biggest challenge, because they want you to connect with the character and stay true to who they are.
Look at the above image! I am amazed at how they were able to create such a wide range of characters…. just by looking at them, you can already get a personality read.
All of the creators design questions were extremely valid points and ones that I had never even considered…. but now I have some real appreciation as those are some real challenges. Once they got some of the basics down, the challenges didn’t end there…. they now had to decide how they where going to put it all together and make a functioning “person” that walked, talked, and has actions. Like….. how are they going to keeps these bones together?
They had to go through several animation rounds just to get the basic walking motion of the skeleton. When you thing about it, every bone in our body is held together by a joint and muscle, take that away and you are starting at square one for basic functioning.
You will notice that the character Hector has a limp, this is just one of the attributes they added to define his character, they noted that it is to symbolize his history and brokenness. You will notice below, his ruggedness, yet warm and inviting expressions.
Watch the NEW Coco trailer below… I bet you will look at the skeletons with a new appreciation now 🙂
I hope you found this as interesting as I did! Mark you calendars, as the release of Coco is getting close – I can’t wait!
Like COCO on Facebook
Follow COCO on Twitter
Follow COCO on Instagram
Visit the official COCO website
COCO opens in theaters everywhere on November 22nd!