Discovering Pixar's "DAY & NIGHT"
Behind the scenes of Teddy Newton's animated short film...
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Pixar Animation Studios' latest animated short Day & Night is arguably the most difficult to describe. And as it turns out, was actually more challenging to create than one would imagine. Figures.com spent some time with artist Teddy Newton (also the voice of the Chatter Phone in Toy Story 3) at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles to learn more about his Disney-Pixar directorial debut project that premiered before Toy Story 3.
Day & Night makes use of both traditional 2D animation layered over computer animation, something that HAS been done before but not quite in the same manner. Here, the backgrounds actually serve as key foreground visuals but the 2D characters "Day" and "Night" are the main focus. In essence, this has become three films in one. You have the 2D characters, then the CG backgrounds had to be made, animated, and rendered in both day AND night modes. This simple short became quite complicated since there was no pipeline at Pixar to produce 2D animation.
But how did Teddy Newton get to this point? The first idea for Day & Night came about when Teddy was working on The Incredibles. He doodled a keyhole that revealed different events behind it. He added eyes and legs to give it more personality and then shelved it to work on designs for The Incredibles using paper cutouts. A Pixar producer liked his concepts so much that he encouraged Teddy to do a film in that style. Years later, a series of vignettes were created, but one really caught John Lasseter's attention (The Spark) and the project was green lit.
The morning radio vs. evening radio was an idea Teddy had from the start as well, growing up listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer, an inspirational speaker and author. One of his recordings was used at the end of the short.
"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Dr. Wayne Dyer
Other fun facts about Day & Night:
* In the scene where Day is watching a drive-in movie through Night, the drive-in theater sign says the film playing is "TS3," the abbreviation for Toy Story 3.
* The western movie playing at the drive-in is a homage to the TV show in 101 Dalmatians.
* The flip-flops next to the girl on the beach are actually 10 times bigger than her foot.
* There are several characters in Day & Night that were taken from the film Up.
o The joggers are all background characters from Up.
o The lumberjack chopping down the tree is the construction working, Tom, from Up.
o The howling wolf is a modified version of Alpha, Charles Muntz's head dog from Up.
* The cars seen on the strip in Vegas were taken from the film Cars.
* The airplanes that Night sees zooming through Day are modeled on "Glamorous Glennis," the rocket-powered Bell X-1 that Chuck Yeager flew to break the sound barrier.
* Day and Night are lit in homage to 1950's Technicolor films. In those films, directors would shoot night scenes during the day, and use tinted filters to make the scene look like nighttime. In Day & Night, Night, in particular, is lit in this style.
* There were 29,888 frames inked, painted and exported from animation for the final versions of Day, Night and the special effects in the film.
Day & Night can now be found on the Toy Story 3 DVD and Blu-Ray releases (read our review HERE). A commentary by Teddy Newton has been recorded for the short but will be included on a second volume of Pixar Shorts. The soundtrack by Michael Giacchino has not been made available outside of Pixar Animation Studios.
Words and Photography by David Yeh
Stills Provided by Pixar Animation Studios
Photo of Teddy Newton and of Production Meetings by Deborah Coleman/Pixar