Refining and defining – Case Study

June 11, 2009 at 10:21 pm (Refining and Defining, Research)

Toy Story

Disney Pixar Studios made Toy Story in 1995. It was the first film to be fully completed using only Computer-Generated Imagery. Previous animated movies had been more expensive and required more personnel to make, Toy Story was made on a $30 million budget and utilised 110 animators where as The Lion King needed $45 million and 800 animators. Disney Pixar also spent $20 million on marketing the film, with sponsors ranging from Coca-Cola to Burger King. This proved to be a huge marketing prospect. But lets not forget it was the technology behind it that really made Toy Story what it was.

Each character was first modelled using a computer, then transferred into the animation. Motion and morphing controls are added to allow each character to move freely, whilst speech is synchronised by detailed manipulation of the characters faces. Visual effects, lighting and shading are added just before rendering. The attention to detail involved is possibly more incredible than in Sin City, as one tiny mistake could cost dearly if not picked up in time. I’ve tried 3D modelling and it’s not easy.

Personally I have huge admiration for the movie, as it was a pioneer in a wave of computer-generated movies that I always find hugely entertaining. I think most adults still find them appealing as they touch a sub conscious nerve reminding them of their own childhood, something everyone enjoys now and again.

Mainstream critics across the globe have praised the movie for it’s innovative approach to computer animation and ability to appeal to every age group, a massive target audience. Time magazine named Toy Story 8th in their list of the top ten films of 1995, and in 2005 the movie was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, one of only five films to do so in it’s first year of eligibility.

The top grossing film on it’s opening weekend, Toy Story grossed over $191 in the United States and Canada alone, taking more than $356 million worldwide and staying in cinemas for 37 weeks. The film was so successful it prompted a sequel which became even more successful than the first, and now has it’s own brand of promotional merchandise.

In comparison to Sin City, Toy Story is massively more successful in almost every way. It doesn’t rely on a sub-genre to sell itself, it’s an all round fun time kids movie that appeals to a huge target audience, where as Sin City only appeals to a certain age group and enthusiast, which is always a tough crowd to crack. Toy Story was also more revolutionary; it broke boundaries where Sin City had none to break. It made the style more popular no doubt, but it had been seen and done before and until the next revolutionary movie like Toy Story comes out, only the best movies in this genre will be deemed as classics.

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