Hair, space and beyond – Lightyear’s tailoring and simulation puts costumes first

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Buzz Lightyear is Pixar’s greatest hero, a big-screen phenomenon that inspired a line of best-selling toys from the geniuses of Pixar Animation Studios’ 1995 feature film. toy story. This story put Buzz Lightyear – the toy in this case – center stage as the hottest new toy that gives vintage-strung Sheriff Woody a run for his money as Andy’s favorite toy. Fast forward 21 years, and director Angus MacLane found himself asking: what movie inspired Andy to beg for a whimsical action figure with lasers, karate action, and aerodynamic space wings?

Welcome to Lightyear, a sci-fi action adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy. Lightyear follows the legendary Space Ranger after he is stranded on a hostile planet 4.2 million light-years from Earth alongside his commander and crew. As Buzz tries to find a way home through space and time, he’s joined by a group of ambitious rookies and his charming robot cat companion, Sox. The arrival of Zurg, a towering presence with an army of ruthless robots and a mysterious agenda, complicates matters and threatens the mission.

Although about 2 months from the release of Light yearThe Koalition had the opportunity to speak to Light years Fran Kalal, Sewing and Simulation Supervisor, to learn more about the technical aspects of the film’s creation, how a visit to NASA influenced the film, the spacesuits and a subject recently seen in animation, realistic african american hairstyles.

When it was the most talked about toy story spin-off isn’t the first time we’ve seen Lightyear on his own adventure (2000s Star Command’s Buzz Lightyear: The Adventure Beginsand his own series), this is based on Andy’s favorite movie character Light yearthat’s why Andy wanted the Buzz Lightyear toy.

As Pixar’s tailoring and simulation supervisor for the film Light yearFran leads a team that uses what we already know about art and fashion to make the costumes, and what we know about physics and computer science to play with outfits and hairstyles. these characters.

“I’ve worked on a lot of great Pixar movies, and after Incredibles 2I was so excited to work on another film where costumes were front and center. [In the movie we’ll see that Lightyear has a lot of super cool costumes we’re so proud of, [including] spacesuits, because they’re cool. And not only did we have to design one suit, but we also had to design several that evolved over time. So whenever Buzz returns from a test flight, Star Command has years to plan the next chip and combination in hopes of helping Buzz accomplish his mission.

But what is a space suit? What does it do? And how would spacesuit design evolve over time? In order to figure this out, Fran and her team dove into research.

“We took a research trip to NASA, met a spacesuit design consultant, reviewed Smithsonian reference material, found inspiration in film, and finally, we had access to a tangible replica. A launch and entry space suit is designed to keep a human alive in space or water long enough for a rescue operation. They are structured with superimposed layers of cooling, wires, heavy metal rings, waterproof outer shell, utility gauges and instruments. And all of those layers add structure and change the way a wearer can move.

“Buzz’s first launch and entry suit, the XL-1, takes us back to the early days of human space exploration with function over form. The trunk is bulky and secure with a webbing harness. The oxygen hose is loose and unwieldy The wrist communicator is attached directly to the suit The suit has padded knees, elbows and shoulders to protect Buzz from jostles in the ship and to allow mobility The utility belt is chunky, with large metal buckles. And the boots, gloves, and neck rings all allow rotation, but are heavy and a little bulky. Next, a montage takes us through an exciting progression of ships and suits. Our experiences align with Buzz, seeing decades of change in minutes.

“Each mission has its own mission patch, much like NASA missions. Try to spot the mission numbers on the ships and the suit the next time you watch the montage. Now the 14th suit is sleeker, has better mobility, a more integrated mech, and life support with echoes of the Space Ranger Suit. The chest box is now integrated into a central upper torso backpack with environmental controls. And the pipe is now integrated in the trunk. Ejection harness straps mimic the silhouette of the Space Ranger suit.

“The risk communicator is now integrated into the wrist ring. Leg grooves provide support and protection while sleeping. And there’s a magnet on the back that wears securely – securely fastens the wearer in any compatible chair. And finally, Buzz returns to the space ranger suit. This suit is an EVA, or extra-vehicular activity suit. Buzz can perform physically demanding tasks outside of a spaceship in this suit. Most of the soft fabric is replaced with well-articulated hard-surfaced pieces that provide both mobility and maximum protection.

“This suit suits a Buzz of human proportions. And to achieve that look, our model and animation are interactively designed to give the broad silhouette features we recognize in a more realistic human Buzz Lightyear.

“The level of detail in this suit is another achievement for our hard surface modeling at Pixar. The texture of the fabric and the stitching on the gloves bring a new look of realism to this costume. And the graphic design and integration brings a new level of credibility to this costume.Now these complex costumes required extreme collaboration between art, modeling, rigging, tailoring, shading, tools, animation, shot simulation, lighting designers and many others.We reached new levels of technical and aesthetic complexity to deliver these costumes.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Light year, not to mention the remarkable storytelling and cinematic visuals that make the film unlike any other Pixar film seen before, is the inclusion of natural African American hairstyles ranging from braids to afro puffs; all with beautifully filled edges and loops that until recently were not shown in animation. Although hairstyles were never mentioned or the focal point of a scene, it felt personal and represented a positive image, that even in space all people are included, even if that means bringing in and learning new technologies to authenticity.

“It was so exciting that we got to work with a woman named Sophia on our project who was really excited about changing our technology and writing new technology to make sure we could have authentic braids and to making sure we could have really beautiful, authentic natural curls.. It was so great to see her bring her perspective to the team and share what’s authentic, what’s accurate, and what’s awesome. On top of all that, to create these amazing hairstyles for Commander Hawthorne, I can’t wait for the fans to see them.

For more on the film, watch our full interview with Fran in the video above. Light year hits theaters on June 17.