Monday, June 18, 2012

Buggin' out

In 1997 I was working on a project at a studio in Culver City, California which is in the Los Angeles area. It's name was Rhythm and Hues and it's still around doing high end visual effects work and animation. At that time it was known for its Academy Award winning FX on a movie about a cute little pig called 'Babe'. I started there on a movie called 'Mouse Hunt' doing facial expression charts for mice which were the stars of the film. The expression charts were used by R&H animators to help the liitle critters act. Later they were used as the basis for the movie 'Stuart Little'. Regrettably I never kept copies of these designs or held on to the originals. They were pretty good and R&H was very pleased with this work.

One of the projects I worked on was development for an attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida. It was associated with the Pixar feature 'A Bug's Life' and it's still running today by the title of 'It's Tough to be a Bug'. I worked with Chris Bailey who was fresh off of directing 'Runaway Brain' for Disney in 1995 which featured Mickey and Minnie Mouse in a great animated short film which was nominated for an Oscar.

This was a somewhat creatively frustrating project for me as the characters were supposed to tie into the Pixar movie but Pixar wouldn't let us see the characters in A Bug's Life prior to the release of the film. So I had to guess what they looked like. The pace of the production was slow. I felt stifled and I couldn't get into it. But I did get a chance to do some art that was influential in the final Disney World project. This is the first time these images have been published.

Here's a concept for a dragonfly. 
I made him look evil as I thought he might be the bad guy. 
Dragonflies were used in the production.

This is a giant beetle of some kind that was the basis for a similar character in the show.

A concept design for a caterpillar.

More caterpillar concepts.

Still more caterpillar concept designs.

There was additional art that I created for the project as I recall but I don't know what happened to it. Probably left it at the studio and it's since been long gone I imagine. Another interesting experience working in animation that I'm happy to relate. Hope you enjoy the art.


last coon said...

Caterpillars look very nice.
I think the third picture is the best, I like this scared caterpillar.

Charles Z said...

Thanks for checking them out last coon. Some aspects of the caterpillar designs were used for bees and moths in the project. The cute happier designs.