Red's Dream commentary with Director John Lasseter and Animators Eben Ostby and Bill Reeves.


  • LASSETER: This film was made for SIGGRAPH of 1987 in Anaheim. Originally, um, Ed Catmull came to us and, and wanted us to do a film using the Pixar Image Computer. Yes, Pixar made computers at one time. And we had a rendering software called ChapReyes. And so we... I started developing an idea of a inept clown and a, uh, and a unicycle where the unicycle's actually's a star of the show. And quite seperately, Bill, you were working on... On what? On rain, right?
  • REEVES: Yeah, I wanted to do a rain scene, so I was building a whole city scene. The very first scene, set of scenes was, was the model part that I was working on. And Eben, at the same time, was working on...
  • OSTBY: I was working on a bike. I was really interested in bikes. I rode a lot and I built a bike because it was a really complicated model. And I could work on things like the spokes and all the parts and get them right.
  • LASSETER: And so I was seeing the, the bike and the rain happening and I... Then I came up with the idea to take this clown idea and bookened it with these beautiful images of, of this city at night in the rain. And so I came up with the idea of having the bike shop where in the back was this little unicycle in the, um, in the clearance corner. It was 50% off. And then he actually go into his mind and, and this, this thing is a dream.
  • OSTBY: This was... This clown was one of the first organic facial shapes we had ever done. You built this sculpt... You did a sculpt in Sculpey or something.
  • LASSETER: Right, and we...
  • OSTBY: Then we digitized it with the Polhemus. We had just got the Polhemus working...
  • LASSETER: The three-space digitizer, right. And, and you were able to take on this, um, this organic shape that we digitized and put the same controls that the teardrop had.
  • REEVES: Mm-hm.
  • LASSETER: So... His name is Lumpy the Clown. Okay, aptly named, I think. He's very lumpy. Um...
  • REEVES: Lots of QP going on here. Eben continued working on that in terms of the, the juggling.
  • OSTBY: That's right. We, we come up with... You, you figured out how juggling works and we implemented that. Basically.
  • LASSETER: Right. And so all I, all I needed to do was to do the path in which the unicycle, um, went, you know, went on and, and the wheel turned and the pedals stay flat and everything like that. And then I would, um, then just indicate sort of for the juggling where the ball landed in three space and, and in which frame and then go ahead a few frames and put the, the next place it landed. And then the QP did the arc and actually did the squash and stretch and everything on it. So it was a real QP tour de force.
  • OSTBY: Here was a model where we didn't have motion blur on the image computer so you did squat, really exaggerated squash and stretch to make up for the lack of motion.
  • LASSETER: That's right, that's right. ChapReyes didn't have motion blur. I forgot about that.
  • REEVES: I remember you animating that 50% off sign.
  • LASSETER: By hand.
  • REEVES: By hand. Here we go again.
  • LASSETER: Yeah, I'm still proud of that.
  • REEVES: Poor John.
  • LASSETER: But honestly of all the things we've made, this the end of Red's Dream is one of the things I'm most proud of because, um, we wanted to try to do something that had a little more emotion, you know? And a little heart. And, uh... As Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of my mentors at Disney, always talked about was, was pathos, you know, as an emotion to try to get into animation. And so we're quite proud of it. But everybody... I remember everybody said, "Please don't have... Let it have a sad ending. Have it a happy ending. Come on, have that clown come back and buy him. Oh, this is too sad." And, um... But this film was very big in Europe. You know, they love that sad ending. And I say it's Pixar's Blue Period. But, uh...
  • OSTBY: It was also the first film that we really did really great lighting on. I thought...
  • LASSETER: Yeah, I...
  • OSTBY: ...we worked like crazy on it and it has the best look of our early stuff.
  • LASSETER: Well, we wanted to do a scene at night, you know, which, in computer animation at that time, really had never been done. And... We're really proud of that one. I think it turned out great.
  • OSTBY: Nice music too.
  • LASSETER: Yeah.
  • (music plays)

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