Emron Grove (Cloth and Simulation Lead for COCO) contributed to “UP,” “Inside Out,” “Brave,” “Finding Dory”, and “Pajama Gladiator” and has worked for Disney/Pixar as a cloth artist, a simulation artist, and a character cloth artist since 2007.
Coco has unique elements from culture to physics simulations ~
” From the movie “UP” I worked with Carl’s clothing and now skeletons ( laughs) believe it or not, it was very difficult.”
Coco’s project started around 2011 but Pixar fully worked on the movie for the last two years and a half. Pixar’s team traveled to Mexico to gain inside perspective of the Mexican traditional celebration Day of the Death. Pixar’s team fell in love with the concept of return of the death and marigold flowers.
To many the return of the death is seen as something scary but to Mexicans is their opportunity to welcome their ancestors and marigold flowers serve as a path for their ancestors to visit the living world.
Skeletons have lots of empty spaces and when you run the physics simulator it would do its job but the outcome wasn’t aesthetically pleasant. Hector, for instance, was the most difficult character to animate because his clothing doesn’t fully cover him and when they ran the walking simulator Hector’s pants would fall down or his sleeve would fall in between his arm.
A cool fact about female skeletons is that underneath their skirt on the pelvis area there is a 3D model of a pillow to provide the volume required to fill the empty spaces.
Another approach to the problem was to add wind spheres to keep up the cloth.
Design and problem solving is a process that takes time ~ Mr. Grove said that it was very frustrating to deal with technicalities but in the office they came up with a motto to cheer themselves up: “Embrace the skeleton.”
Pixar Q&A Time
- What is an average day like in Pixar?
It really depends on how busy we are with our projects but right now I am working a new project and I am the only one artist on the team (laughs) doing character sketches and as the team grows we tend to plan for our goals.
- How did you started working for Pixar?
When I was in university I applied for Pixar’s internship and at the time they were working in the movie “UP” and my mentors were really great teaching me new things.
- What does it take to work for Pixar?
Not just for Pixar but I think that for most creative studios they appreciate diligent and talented people ~ good candidates have both technical skills and artistic talents but again it really depends on the position you are applying for.
- Could you describe your career path?
I studied Computer Science in Brigham Young University (BYU) but I knew I wanted to work with art and I was genuinely attracted to visual effects. As a student I joined my university’s animation club.
- Will you have a Coco Thanksgiving special?
The answer is ‘NO’ (laughs) but I know Disney will have one with Olaf from Frozen.