As we get closer to the release of Toy Story 4, we’re aware that the animators and storytellers at Pixar needed to go above and beyond with this story while not alienating lifelong fans of Woody and Friends.
With advances in technology, the team have made a few improvements to our existing characters. With Woody, for example, you can see he’s a deeper shade of yellow, you can see and feel the threads stiching him together. With the evolution of HD technology, there’s a higher detail to all the beloved characters.
So, what have did the animators given us for Toy Story 4? They’ve created a new world for the toys. It’s a world of “8000 square feet with over 10,000 items for sale. To a toy, an antique mall is like a city.”
Before the team even began to fill the mall, the team considered a few things about the mall itself – the history of the mall, the design of the mall and the scale.
Set Decorator Dan Holland drew rough designs, and as luck would have it, Rosie Cole (Sets Technical Director) comes from a family who owned an antique store. So, when it came to filling the mall with 10,000 items, she knew what she needed to do.
Set supervisor Thomas Jordan says fans of Pixar who have loved looking for Easter eggs in previous Pixar films will need to pay extra attention to the items in the mall. “How do you fill an antique mall with over 10,000 things?” Jordan says, “You fill it with items from previous Pixar films.” Look closely at the record player and the record, it’s Remember Me from Coco.
Jordan explains the animation process to create a single prop, “It takes anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. The mall in Toy Story 4 took nearly two years to create.” He says. While we have the antique mall, there’s also another world within it, one that is hidden inside the pinball machine. It’s a world where Woody and Bo Peep encounter Duke Caboom.
Further advances in Pixar software technology allowed for the creation of dust particles. This is an antique mall – a city, separated by the well-worn areas that the humans walk along. To the toys, those areas are off-limits. The toys stick instead to the dusty, unseen areas and corners unseen to humans. With the same technology used to create the details of hair, the team created dust particles and cobwebs. Stephen Karski, set supervisor explains that as Gabby Gabby’s buggy drives along the rug, they looked at what color and texture is the rug? What type of weave is the rug? All those things can be manipulated to heighten the action of the story. Right down to the level of reflectivity that can guide you to where you need to be looking.
Another detail to look for is Gabby Gabby’s cabinet. She lives in large art deco inspired cabinet, matching the exterior of the store. Get a sneak peek of its beauty in this trailer: