How Did They Create Pixar Incredibles 2 Movie and Action Scenes

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How did Pixar Create the Incredibles 2 movie?

Pixar Incredibles 2 movie

If you missed it you definitely want to read our post on the Art, Math and Technology Behind Pixar Animation Studios Costumes – it’s FASCINATING! This post will take you even deeper into the world of Pixar and the many layers of creation that goes into making an action scene in the Incredibles 2 movie (coming to theaters June 15, 2018!). A Pixar team of 55 artists worked on Model, Set Dress, Shading, Skies & Set Extras, and Sets Tech. Below are various aspects hand picked out of the film to give you a closer look into the details created and obstacles  overcome for the Incredibles 2 movie.

creating Pixar Incredibles 2 movie
An Incredibles 2 art review, including Joshua Holtsclaw and Ralph Eggleston, as seen on June 22, 2017 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Pixar Animation Studios Artists We Met:

Ralph Eggleston – Product Designer
Philip Metschan – Visual Designer
Bryn Imagire – Shading Art Director 
Nathan Fariss – Sets Supervisor
Ted Mathot – Story Supervisor
Mahyar Abousaeedi – Layout Supervisor
Kureha Yokoo – Animator
Amit Baadkar – Effects Artist
Deanna Marsigliese – Character Artist 

These Pixar artists did an outstanding job to create the world of the film. They pushed the film from the original Incredibles movie set in the 50’s to the new Incredibles 2 film set in the 60s. Careful tedious detail was given to the visual content of the characters, environment, props, dressing, costumes, texture & lighting.

creating the Incredibles 2 movie at Pixar
An Incredibles 2 art review, including Director Brad Bird and Ralph Eggleston, as seen on June 22, 2017 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)
FUN FACT: The world of the Incredibles is not made of small details except for the characters. 

The Parr (Incredibles) Family House:

Incredibles 2 Parr House Concept art
Concept art by Ralph Eggleston. ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

If you remember in the first Incredibles movie, the Parr family has exploded, so in the new film they need a house to live in! Temporarily the family of 5 moved into the Safari Motel until eventually moving into an architectural wonder created by Pixar artists (seen above).

Parr House Sizes:

Original Parr house (1st Incredibles film) – 1300-1500 ft2
Original 2nd house created in Incredibles 2 was 2300 ft2 but was scrapped and recycled.
Final New Parr House – 23,000 ft2

Incredibles 2 Parr House Concept art
Concept art by Garrett Taylor and Philip Metschan. ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Time to Design Parr Houses:

First 2300 ft2 house for film: took 6 months to create then the idea was scrapped and recycled and used as a different house in the movie.

Second (final) 23,000 ft2 house for film: 2.5 weeks to design – Pixar time crunch! They visited 30+ houses for reference and inspiration. Compared photos of fabric close up, lamps, plants, tables, halls, chairs, phone styles, rock details. Inspired by James Mason’s house in North by Northest. This house was 100% built from scratch by Pixar artists!

Incredibles 2 Parr House Concept art
Concept art by Kyle Macnaughton, Philip Metschan and Shelly Min Wan. ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
FUN FACT: If you look closely in the new Parr home in the movie you'll notice that the bottom of the pool is the ceiling!

Speed of the Train vs. the Elasticycle:

Incredibles 2 Elasticycle Concept art
Concept art by Tim Evatt. ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
Elastigirl on Elasticycle in Incredibles 2 movie
Concept art by Dean Kelly. ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Creating the Pixar Incredibles 2 scene where Elastigirl is trying to “outrun” the train on her Elasticycle was especially difficult. After all the train is moving at a speed of up to 150 mph! The Pixar team had to carefully construct new plausible stunts and remap how Elastigirl uses her abilities in such an intense situation. They also gave a nod back to the original film by having her parachute out with her stretchy body.

Special Effects Work on the Train Action Scene:

These scene in particular took an incredible amount of work! The sheer destruction of a high speed chase and ultimate explosion is intense! Check out just some of these effects below:

Glass Destruction:

Glass size, sharpness, and light reflection were specifically on the special effects list.

Tire Smoke:

An important addition to support, but not draw attention to, the action scene.


Individually hand drawn. Sparks were created on a static train and then added post production.


The plan here was to start simple and then slowly add details at every layer of the scene adding an effect of intense heat and a near miss danger.

More on the Elasticycle:

Incredibles 2 Elastigirl Elasticycle
©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Special details were given to Elastigirl’s Elasticycle. Some of these special effects were ribbing on the tire with embedded specs of rock to give it a realistic look. Highlights on the fender with texture to show wear was also special detail to note.

4 Details the Elasticycle Needed:

1.Be COOL!
2. Be functional!
3. Fit Helen!
4. Follow Helen’s strengths! (be an extension of her abilities)

train concept art in Incredibles 2
Concept art by Tim Evatt. ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Pixar Animation Studios art tech software

One Example of Lighting:

I wish I could play back all of the Incredibles 2 presentations for you because even the shading team had their work cut out for them! They had to research and learn how different surfaces react to light and shade them accordingly. How does light bounce off of a marble floor? A textured couch cushion? It’s these tiny details you don’t give a second thought to as you’re enjoying a film! I made the above graphic so you could see the basic steps used JUST to make terrazzo flooring in the movie!

FUN FACT: The city you see in the background from the new Parr home is a COMPLETE 3D city with hand drawn houses, streets, and everything in place and scaled down to make it look realistic!
Pixar Animation Studios presentation of Incredibles 2
An Incredibles 2 art review, including Ralph Eggleston, as seen on June 22, 2017 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

BASIC STEPS to Create a Pixar Film:

Previsualization – This is essentially prototyping. It’s something QUICK!

Why? Quick overview collaboration with the artistry team to get everyone on the same page. When working on such a large project you want to make sure everyone is looking at the same world and on the same page.

After script: The Storyboards are drawn by different artists different ways. There are endless amount of maps, camera angles, scale models – all looking and talking about the same thing but seen in different ways. It helps to give a visual look at possibilities as ideas are formed.

Layout: This step helps to fill in the details inside the house. Can you imagine if you have this great big house and a tiny dining room table that is too small to fit the characters? Or an oversized table too large to fit in your smaller house? Every single detail is important!

Extraordinary Detail: I alluded to this in my post about the Art, Math and Technology Behind Pixar Costumes but EVERY SINGLE object and shape in the Incredibles 2 film had to be hand drawn first. Imagine! Every single couch cushion had to be rippled and textured. Every dirty dish, silverware, pot, bike, pipe, and leaf – hand drawn! They basically had to design a warehouse full of stuff for this film!

Pixar film talk on creating Incredibles 2
Effects Artist Amit Baadkar at Incredibles 2 Long Lead Press day, as seen on April 4, 2018 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Storyboard Progression of the Incredibles Family:

art drawing the Incredibles family powers

concept art the Incredibles family powers
Progression Image 2 of 5: Art – Once the storyline for a sequence is determined, concept art is created by the production designer and art department to determine the look and feel of the film. This concept art piece was created by production designer Ralph Eggleston, and showcases the exploration of color and design for the characters and new environments. In the first film, “The Incredibles,” bold colors were used to establish a visual language for the film, and the art team wanted to make sure this style was consistent in “Incredibles 2.” ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
the Incredibles family powers art
Progression Image 3 of 5: Sets and Layout – Using art reference for guidance, technical artists build basic forms and shapes of the sets and characters in the computer during a process called “Modeling.” “Shading” comes next, during which technical artists use a combination of painting and programming to apply textures, colors, patterns and other material properties to give the sets complexity and appeal. This image also shows the phase known as “Layout,” in which a virtual camera is placed into a shot. The characters are “staged” or placed into positions within the built set that work visually with the chosen camera angle. ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
the Incredibles family powers art
Progression Image 4 of 5: Animation – When Layout is complete, the characters are brought to life by the Animation department. Animators often use video reference of themselves or the voice actors to inform mouth shape or expressions, as well as overall movement of the characters. On average, it takes 4-6 weeks to animate a shot, but because the composition of the characters in this shot was so complex, it took the Animation department 8 weeks to complete. ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
the Incredibles family powers
Progression Image 5 of 5: Lighting, Effects and Final Image – The Lighting department helps to integrate all of the elements – characters, sets, effects, etc. – into a final, fully visually realized image. The Lighting process involves placing virtual light sources into the scene to illuminate the characters and the set. Technical artists place the lights to draw the audience’s eye to story points and to create a specific mood. The lit images are then rendered at high resolution. 24 lit images, each over 2 million pixels, are created for each one second of the movie.
All the natural phenomena seen in this final image, such as the dust, smoke, and glow of Violet’s orb, were brought to life by the Effects department. Effects artists create these elements using complex simulation software that models the physics of how certain materials move. These Effects elements provide a believable and tangible sense of interaction between the characters and their rich, realistic world, which also helps to reinforce the emotional stakes for the audience. ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Fun Facts about the Pixar Easter Eggs in Incredibles 2:

*Each Easter egg in Pixar films are placed by different people in different departments!

*A113 was placed by the graphics & director. (A113 = classroom used by graphic design and character animation students at the California Institute of the Arts)

*The Pizza Planet truck is IN mid century period true to the film and placed by Sets Supervisor Nathan Fariss. (He also placed the Pizza Planet truck in Finding Dory.)

*Pixar Easter eggs are ALWAYS themed to their time period. For example, the Pizza Planet truck in the Good Dinosaur was carved from rocks!

Incredibles 2 Trailer:

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