Animation : Ed Catmull about animation

Ed Catmull about animation

I don't know how many people is required to make an animated feature today, but in 2013, at least 600 people were required to make a Pixar movie.

This is still not good enough for Catmull:

While Catmull’s excited about the new generation of graphics chips at ATI and NVIDIA for augmented and virtual reality and the spillover improvements for animation, he has a bigger hope for the next decade.

“That the storytelling can be done with a smaller group of people– let’s say under 100 — which has more ownership in the production,” he said. “In order to make that happen, the technical tools, the speed, all need to change fairly dramatically. What’s happening now is that technical change is a continual, ongoing process and it’s an energizing one. We are explicitly in an environment where we are driving change at every level (story, technology, artistic looks).”

At Pixar, we’ve always felt safe about taking big risks. Up and Ratatouille were big risks. Those films in particular do not pass the elevator test. They were not cheaper to make, and we were willing to do that. But we would rather be in a place where we could try things that are riskier or try things for smaller markets. We keep that integrated into the culture, keep pushing, and staying open for possibilities.

“I don’t think most of our films should be realistic, but you want that as an artistic possibility. Then the artist can take the realism of the world and push it in ways that we can connect with.”

While there are several thousand employees at Pixar working with tools and software and other technology, those directly involved with the production of a movie count some hundred.

If they succeed in reducing the crew to under 100, that could affect the whole business. Pixar makes their own software and equipment. But other studios who don't make their own, but use what is already available, don't need the same amount of people, and could focus mostly in the production. And with less than 100 people, that would mean cheaper movies without the need to sacrifice quality.