With PIXAR movies you know you can always count on a few things. One is that the film or short will bring all the feels. You will laugh, cry, and fall in love with each and every release. The other thing is you will actually learn something by simply watching it. The reason is research. PIXAR does MASSIVE amounts of research for each film they put out. Coco is no exception. I already wrote: Fun Facts About Coco and the History of Dia de Los Muertos.
Now let’s chat about all of the skeletons in PIXAR’s Coco and the process of bringing them to life. In the concept art above you can see all the different types of skeleteons.
Research, Research, Research
You would think a skeleton would be simple, but actually, the animators spent quite some time studying anatomy. From muscles to the actual bones themselves the animators researched how each individual would move. Even moving the mouth was thought out and planned.
This concept art focuses on Mama Imelda. You can clearly see her as both a human and as a skeleton. We sat with Daniel Arriaga (Character Art Director), Gini Santos (Supervising Animator), Byron Bashforth (Character Shading Lead), Emron Grover (Simulation Technical Director) of Disney/Pixar COCO as they explained they wanted each skeleton to have different features from their previous life. For instance the way certain articles of clothing flowed. You can also see her bone shape is carried over making her easier to identify.
Not So Scary Skeletons
The animators decided early on they did not want their skeletons to be scary. Which is why you can see teeth, eyes, tongues, eyelashes, hair or wigs, and even face paint. In fact, Hector (pictured above) has a bit of a hip dip as he walks in homage to Ratso, an Indian cowboy played by Duston Hoffman from the movie Midnight Cowboy.
The Little Things
With over 80 skeletal characters in the film, it took PIXAR a whopping 3 years to design the skeletons in Coco! This was there first time animating skeletons so little things like the way the skeletons bodies react to clothing was a challenge they had never had to deal with before. For example, the clothing kept getting caught between the bones during the simulations. They had to create a new “collision system” to fix this.
Who knew so much thought, research, trial, and error the crew at PIXAR had to go through just to make skeletons right??
Coco Opens Nov. 22, 2017
***Disclosure: I attended the #PixarCocoEvent My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***