A Talk by Danielle Feinberg  |  Image courtesy of Disney Pixar

What is more real than real?

The power of animation is quite incredible. It is so persuasive that we find little difficulty in suspending disbelief while watching it. At its finest, modern animation is able to produce a world that is almost more real than the real thing. In this video presentation, Danielle Feinberg speaks passionately of her role in many of Pixar’s ground-breaking productions and how she uses one particularly potent tool in creating scenes and characters which we not only want to believe; but quickly grow to love. To Danielle it is the way lighting is used that makes a real difference.

When attention to detail shows

Graphic design, computer programming and coding lie at the heart of Pixar’s creations. It isn’t easy to do well. Contrary to opinion, magic rarely is – it just seems that way. The skilled use of lighting is one of those things that generally goes unnoticed, simply because it is so well executed. Similarly, poor lighting can just as easily ruin a production. Composition is a critical element of all design. So is the science behind what is seen in a finished product.

Pixar works meticulously to make sure the science underpinning their scenes is as realistic as they can make it. The technology they use make it seamless in the finished product but the unseen attention to detail over months and years of development is what gives the animations their special quality. If you skimp on quality, it always shows.

Imagination meets technology…

An advantage Pixar have with their productions is that they are not bound by the real world. If they want to emphasise the shadows for effect; they can. If they want to highlight an otherwise-invisible ocean current or air turbulence; they do it. Behind any tweaking of reality though, they stay true to the science as much as they can. Then we believe.

Yes, it is science, but it is art that makes it special. It is technology that makes it possible to produce but it is imagination that drives that technology to new frontiers. All the aspects need to be balanced to achieve a great result. To Danielle Feinberg it is artistic and imaginative use of light that brings Pixar movies to life. Lighting brings the dream alive.

Where art meets science… Let there be magic!