Sunday, March 14, 2010

Greg Dykstra

Greg Dykstra is an artist and designer at Pixar. I don't know much about him besides what's listed in his Imdb page and that he is an insanely talented artist.
Greg had done beautiful production art for various Pixar films. But wer'e here to discuss maquettes! :)

Greg has been making maquettes at Pixar for the last few years (Imdb had him starting with Finding Nemo, but I have seen images of a Sully Maquette from Monsters Inc. attributed to him. I'll try to find out) and he has been, as far as I can tell, instrumental in brining the various characters to 3D. In "the Art of UP" book there are two double spreads of his design concept sculptures for the film. Besides being gorgeous sculptures, these were the initial transtlation of the characters into the dimensional world from the illustrations of Pixar concept artists. Dykstra notes in a qoute in the book how important it is for these sculptures to convey the personality of the characters represented in any way possible - and these maquettes capture personality wonderfully. It's also interesting to note how the designs changed slightly from these sculptures to final CG models, but the characters are captured dead-on.

What follows are images I have been able to find on the net. Where available I'll note ownership\recieve permission for using the pictures. So far my findings have been scarce - any additions would be very welcome!

* all images are (c)Pixar unless noted otherwise

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I love animation. And I love Sculpting.
I remember seeing a behind-the-scenes feature for Aladdin on TV, and the voice actors had these perfect sculptural representations of their characters next to them. I wanted to see more of those sculptures!
In Ollie and Johnston’s seminal book “The Illusion of Life” I learned about Joe Grant’s model department and what a maquette was, and pored over the sculptures from fantasia and the exquisite Pinocchio they had made.
Over the years I accumulated more art books, and with the advent of the internet I glimpsed works by Kent Melton, Ruben Procopio and others.

The art of transforming a bunch of sketches and turnaround drawings into a sculpture fascinates me.
Given a design, the sculptor needs to bring it forth into the dimensional world in clay, so that the model represents the look of the character from every possible angle.
These sculptors need to be able to emulate every style and get proportions and volume dead-on. The sculptures need to be 100% “on model”, to show every line in the design – and not one line more.
In the age of 3D maquettes took on a new role, being the first dimensional representation of the design, before modeling begins in the computer.
A handful of artists are able to do this as well as needed, and these handful do most of the maquette work. work Some of these artists are animators who have a strong knack for sculpting, some are professional sculptors with a talent for the stylized and the cartoony. Disney has the most well developed cadre of artists and the richest history of maquettes but other studios have their fair share of great work.

Until now there wasn’t a place on the net that collected information and pictures of this particular form, and I hope this blog will become a place for maquette enthusiasts to come to :-p

Over time I hope to compile information and images from the works of the likes of Kent Melton, Greg Dyksta, Raffaello Vecchione and Joe Grant, and try to provide insight and maybe interviews into the works of more Internet well-documented artists like Ruben Procopio and Damon Bard.