Disney/Pixar has provided us with a slew of gorgeous new concept art and character design images for Cars 2.
It’s absolutely riveting (bad pun not intended) to see first-hand how a Lodge spark plug from around 1937 and a Bugatti grill influenced the design of the Eiffel Tower and how Ratatouille helped with Notre Dame as well as the other influences on landmarks in the film such as the Tokyo Imperial Palace, Big Bentley, New House of Parliament and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The character design images also provide us with an unprecedented look at the character development including Finn McMissile’s hydro foil detail, Holley Shiftwell’s Holo-screen that’s projected above her hood from the turn signals and the weapons hidden inside her wheels. We also get to preview how Lightning McQueen looks at the start of the film and after his modifications which include working headlights, new exhaust, new rear window, roof vanes and a brand new, bolted-on spoiler.
We also get treated to a 5-step progression of a scene from the film:
STEP 1: Tokyo is the first stop in the World Grand Prix where Lighting McQueen, Mater and the Radiator Springs gang experience many new wonders of their global adventure – a Kabuki performance, Sumo wrestling, the glow of neon on the streets, and the glamorous race kickoff party. It is here that Mater is mistaken for an American secret agent, and is propelled into the world of global espionage. The Tokyo race sequence alone took over 1400 storyboards to portray the action involved.
STEP 2: This frame shows the camera and character staging that precedes animation, known as Layout. The set models and dressing are still in progress and will be finalized once animation is completed.
STEP 3: This frame shows the final character animation poses. The primary and secondary characters are keyframe animated. Background cars that populate the road are added procedurally using a crowds software system.
STEP 4: The character and set shading encompasses the color, texture and material attributes of every surface, and determines how surfaces will respond to lights. In the world of Cars, graphics play a big role in the shaded scene, especially with the many neon signs in Tokyo.
STEP 5: Virtual lights provide illumination from thousands of light sources such as street lamps, headlights and neon signs. The reflective car bodies and wet street require a computationally intensive technique called Raytracing. Additional visual details such as lens flare from headlights and colored fog around the signs are added. The final rendered image is computed on a Renderfarm and has to be free of any visual artifacts.
CONCEPT ART (new additions added to beginning of gallery below):