New Clip from Pixar Short ‘The Blue Umbrella’

Published 2 years ago by

Perhaps the only thing as good as (or better than) new Pixar movies are the wonderful short films that precede them. Not only are they great examples of short-form storytelling, but they also help to highlight some of the vast talent working behind the scenes at Pixar.

This is definitely the case with The Blue Umbrella, the new Pixar short that will appear before this summer’s Monsters University. In it, a blue umbrella falls in love with a red umbrella. You know, just your usual off-beat but totally adorable Pixar stuff.

Recently, the The Wall Street Journal featured an extensive article about the new short, as well as a brief clip, which can be seen at the top of the article. In addition to showing off the undeniably cute blue and red umbrellas, the clip reveals some of the technical complexity of the film.

According to the The Wall Street Journal, the short film breaks new ground for Pixar, using special effects techniques that the company hadn’t used previously used to create a photorealistic animation style.

One special effect called global illumination “simulates the way surfaces emit and reflect light.” Steve May, Pixar’s chief technology officer, said that some scenes using this technique took as many as 30 hours to render only one frame of film.

The Blue Umbrella Pixar Short New Clip from Pixar Short The Blue Umbrella

Another new animation effect used in The Blue Umbrella is called “deep compositing,” in which “a scene is created by layering images with three-dimensional data, instead of flat, two-dimensional data, giving the filmmakers greater control over the look of the film and viewers the experience of greater depth of field.” Pixar is using both of these techniques in Monsters University.

In addition to utilizing new technology, The Blue Umbrella represents another first for Pixar: It is the company’s first short film to be directed by a technical artist. Saschka Unseld, who has worked in Pixar’s camera and staging department since 2008, conceived the story and pitched it to Pixar’s development team and, eventually, CEO John Lasseter.

What do you think of the short clip? Are you looking forward to watching The Blue Umbrella in front of Monsters University?

Monsters University hits theaters on June 21st, 2013.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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  1. Excited is an understatement

  2. I can say that this made me smile c:

  3. Global Illumination is a b****. It makes everything look super sexy but the renders are ridiculous, and since I imagine that Pixar has a pretty heavy duty render farm I don’t even want to think about how dense the a scene like that is.

    • @richard they’re prbly just maintaining their reputation of the best quality 3D animation in the biz.. their extra effort may be poorly spent in your opinion but it could pay off in the long run.

      on an unrelated note in terms of storytelling I think disneys 3D animation department has surpassed pixar at this point (see tangled or wreck-it-ralph) but they still get the trophy in terms of animation from a technical standpoint. for example Brave was ho-hum for me, but it looked great.

      • Pixar is still one of the greatest story-telling departments at Disney and generally in the movie business.

  4. Lovely, gorgeous! So much emotion conveyed by simple silhouetted shapes (facial features) over simple forms (umbrellas). Visual poetry.

  5. The story was similar to Paper Airplanes. I hated the animation. It wasn’t anything special.

    • To each their own.

  6. Absolutely loved this little gem–positively brilliant.

  7. It has me smile 😀
    Please watch it:)

  8. To follow up with some of the people above:

    We are hitting the realm of diminishing returns with rendered 3d, which means from where we are now, it causes small advances to take lots of work. We should give them kudos for even trying since they’ve obviously become the masters of the art form they helped pioneer. If you saw renders of the same thing both with and without these new technologies, you WOULD see the difference! Be thankful it’s come this far, not critical! Watch the Pixar shorts DVD if you really want to see the heavy progression made movie by movie!

  9. This was the worst 8 mins of my life…and that includes a hospital stay and the birth of my handicapped child a long time ago. I couldn’t wait for this thing to end and anyone associated with producing this Blue Umbrella should be fired. Bring back the old men playing chess if they have to fill in with a short film, but please no more umbrellas!

  10. I agree with Larry. This movie is a ridiculous waste of time. I did not know it was going to play and literally started composing a letter to Pixar in my head while it played. I want those 8 minutes back, and so does my wife.

  11. I agree with Larry and Corey!!! I was hoping for Pixar’s normal par like one man band or the birds. The blue umbrella was beyond terrible. Sooooo boring and utterly stupid!!!

  12. I just couldn’t disagree with the nay-sayers more, how they (Pixar) anthropomorphise such mundane every day objects so well is astounding. I actually felt emotion for the characters & the incredible animation techniques became secondary, as they should, to the story.

    Having said that, the render quality was truly fantastic IMVHO…

  13. Just sat through this at the beginning of Monsters U. Bored to death and was worried we somehow were in the wrong theater. Glad some can appreciate the technical details involved in making it, but I could have done without being bored for 7 minutes I paid for. 7 minutes of my life I’ll never get back…please don’t subject me to stuff like this ever again.

  14. Pixar.

    When in doubt slap a face on any inanimate object in the studio, come up with some smarmy plot and release.

    Anthropmorphism gone awry.