Entertainment Events

August 21, 2013 at 1:26 am

Visiting Blue Sky Animation Studios to learn about Epic

Visiting Blue Sky Animation Studios to learn about Epic

I was invited to this event as a Fox Home Entertainment Insider.  No compensation was received for this post.

Blue Sky Studio

Last week Seth, Nate and I headed to Blue Sky Studio to learn all about the making of Epic.  Located in Greenwich, CT, Blue Sky is the animation force behind the Ice Age movies, Robots, Rio, Horton Hears a Who!, and of course Epic.  As Seth and Nate both show a love of artistic expression they accompanied me on the visit.

While at Blue Sky, my first stop was to learn about about the sculpting and modeling of characters with Vicki Saulls, the lead sculptor.  This team is responsible from taking the idea of a character and transforming it into a three dimensional character.  They use a combination of hand sculpting and computer sculpture that is then printed into a three dimensional model.  This was incredibly fascinating to see.

Blue Sky StudioWe then moved on to visiting Sabine Heller, a Senior Character Technical Director.  She taught us how that three dimensional model then comes to her team for what is called Rigging.  They take the computer generated version of the the three dimensional model and then program it to react when parts are moved.  Each expression, like a smile or a frown, then corresponds with eyebrows raising or folds in the neck.  It is incredibly complex and intricate work!  Here she is showing us some of the rigging on Nim Galuu.

Blue Sky Studio

After that we met with Senior Animator David Sloss.  He showed us how they take the rigged characters, storyline and script and then animate the scene.  He was on the team that worked on the Leafmen in Epic.  It is amazing to see his passion and joy come across in the way the characters are animated.  Did you know that an animator can work for a year and a half on a film and in the end product be responsible for approximately a minute and a half of animation.  Wow!

Blue Sky Studio

One of the most amazing parts of touring Blue Sky was seeing the decorated cubicles.  They mean business when it comes to the fun in their work environment!  We saw everything from a replica bar from Family Guy, to the pirate ship in Ice Age to the beginnings of a theater façade.  Here is a picture of a group of cubicles that designed a Lost Boyz theme.

Blue Sky Studio

Blue Sky was amazing to tour.  The creativity seeps through every aspect of the offices.  From whiteboard walls filled with drawings of a featured animator of the week to a wall of photo shopped coworkers all in good fun.  I loved the little touches throughout the building marking their journey as a company.  Things like a carnival costume used to inspire pieces in Rio.  Or this, the original mock up of the headset worn in Epic.Blue Sky Studio

I was drawn to the modeled figures above all else.  The detail and variety is beyond amazing.  Don’t you agree?

Blue Sky Studio

The boyz participated in an equally fun day filled with a screening of Epic and a drawing lesson and caricatures by Blue Sky animators.  They were so inspired by just a few hours with these guys!

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More than that, Seth walked away with a feeling that despite often feeling a little out of place in the “regular world” there are places like Blue Sky where he felt like there were people who were quirky and creative just like him.  And that, my friends, made it the most amazing day in my book.

Today is the day that Epic hits stores, so be sure to pick it up and add it your home collection.  Want to win a Blu-Ray DVD Combo of Epic?  Be sure to check out the giveaway we are hosting now through Friday here!

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Rio 2 on Blu-Ray and DVD Review & Giveaway - Momma D and Da Boyz

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