Archive for June, 2018

Go See Incredibles 2!

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

MachIncredibles2It’s been years since I’ve worked at Pixar. But the very first Pixar movie I worked on was The Incredibles and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the sequel for a while. I was an effects artist on the original movie and did Violet’s force field, Frozone’s ice walls and ice bridges, and a bunch miscellaneous effects like the explosion in Edna Mode’s suit test room. So I was very curious about the new version of those effects.

Well, I had a chance to see an early screening and they look amazing. Also, the movie is a blast. The action sequences are exhilarating, there are lots of laughs, and the family dynamic is just as strong as ever. It’s funny, so much has happened in the 14 years since the first one came out. I’m a dad now and I can relate so much more to the challenges of work and family. Someone asked me if I thought the sequel would struggle now that there are so many super hero movie. I don’t think so. The Incredibles movies are really about that family and their love for each other. It just so happens that they have super powers.

Funny story: I got an email a couple years ago from my friend Vincent Serritella who still works at Pixar. He was starting to work on the sequel and wanted to know if I remembered how I did Violet’s force field. Unfortunately, I have a terrible memory. But I did remember that Sarah Vowell, the voice of Violet, came to give a talk at Pixar around the time I was working on the first movie. And I thought, it’s kinda cool that I get to hear her talk since I worked on the effect for her character. And then I thought, it’d be neat if I got her to sign a copy of the shader code that I wrote as part of her force field effect. She thought it was pretty funny and graciously signed it. Years later, lo and behold, I still had that signed copy. So I scanned it and sent it to Vincent.

I don’t think Vincent or the rest of the team actually used any of the code. But it’s kind of neat to think that a part of what I did there lived on in spirit in the sequel.

A Cappella THX Logo Theme

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine shared a post that THX made showing a score for their Deep Note sound. It turns out that the score isn’t totally accurate, but it’s still pretty representative. So I wanted to see if I could do an a cappella version of it.

I’m not a great singer but most of the notes were more or less in my range. So I went into GarageBand and for each note at the end, I picked some random notes in that G2 to G3 range, and sorta glissando-ed to the final note. I doubled the tempo because it seemed a little too slow as written. There were 30 tracks in all (3 tracks each for most of the final notes and 2 each for the bottom 3 final notes) so that took a little while. I dropped the top note by an octave and raised the bottom 3 notes by an octave so I could sing them a bit better. (I think the bottom notes are outside the range of human vocal chords.) And then I recorded me singing with each of those 30 tracks playing in my earbuds, pitch corrected the 4 notes in Final Cut Pro X, and edited the whole thing together.

Anyways, by the end of it, my throat was pretty sore but it was a fun experiment to recreate an iconic sound from my childhood.