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Huffington Post - How Pixar added depth to the Depths in "Finding Nemo 3D"

Huffington Post - How Pixar added depth to the Depths in "Finding Nemo 3D"

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How Pixar added depth to the Depths in "Finding Nemo 3D"

Bob Whitehill is very particular when it comes to particulates.

You know what particulates are, right? Suspended solids in liquid. They're those itty-bitty bits of matter that give sea water its unique color and clarity, which is why -- if you're trying to use CG to create believable H20 -- you need to load that faux fluid with lots of artificially-created particulates.

Which is just what Pixar Animation Studios did when they were originally producing Finding Nemo 10 years ago. With the end result being that this Andrew Stanton film did such a great job of simulating the look of the undersea world that it actually wound up winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature back in 2003.


Bob Whitehill, stereographic supervisor for Pixar Animation Studios. Photo by
Deborah Coleman. Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

Of course, that was for the 2D version of Finding Nemo. Eighteen months ago, when Whitehill and his Stereographic production team began looking at this film in earnest and tried to form a plan as to how they were going to refilm Nemo in 3D ... Well, that's when they learned that all of those tiny artificial particulates which Pixar's artists had previously inserted to give the sea a sense of authenticity were going to be a huge pain-in-the-butt to deal with.

"You'd take a look at a shot for Nemo that had previously looked just fine and then attempt to translate that image into 3D, and suddenly your field of vision is filled with all of this particulate matter. And because they got between the viewer and the characters on screen, these tiny free-floating flecks were very distracting," Bob recalled during a recent phone interview.

But even so, as problematic as this particulate matter was, it was also a key component of Finding Nemo's distinctive look. It was part of what the ocean seem so real, so alive in this animated feature. And Whitehill and his team were determined to deliver the same sort of rich, lush visuals to audiences who were seeing the 3D version of Nemo in 2012 that moviegoers got back in 2003 when they saw the original version of this animated feature in theaters.


Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

So how did Bob and his stereographic team deal with "Finding Nemo 3D" 's particulate problem? To get the answers to that questions, you can either click on the headline above or go straight to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-hill/finding-nemo-3d_b_1899615.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment

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  • A wonderful article with many fascinating insights into the 3D conversion process.

    Made me wonder why they couldn't apply the same care and quality when they converted 'Toy Story' into a shipboard musical...

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