TOY STORY 4
Production Notes (Continued)
MAKING A FRIEND
To find Forky's signature look, several members of the production team
assorted art supplies, assembling possible looks for the
had wikki sticks, glitter glue, pipe cleaners, sporks and googly eyes," says
supervisor Sajan Skaria. "Everybody just sat around the table with their glue
and stickers. There were no rules."
And when it came to animating Forky: less is more. "We wanted to limit his
especially in the beginning, because he's still developing," says supervising
Scott Clark. "He wobbles around because his feet stick out of a clay base and
even level. His arms aren't fully articulated-they're pipe cleaners-and he has
eyes that don't really focus. We could animate them blinking and looking, but we
to treat him more like a puppet with no eye articulation. His mouth is made out
string, so its animation is a little sticky-it feels a little like stop motion.
"Forky exemplifies the first rule I learned when I stepped in the door at
Pixar in 1996,"
continues Clark. "Truth to material is all about respecting what your character
out of and not over-animating it. If you work within the limitations of a
animation choices tend to be better and funnier, particularly for a character
But, according to supervising animator Robert Russ, Forky's knowledge of the
around him grows. "We had this idea that his movement style would evolve over
course of the film," says Russ. "We save things like eye blinks and allowing his
focus for specific moments in the movie."
GABBY GABBY is an adorable, talking pull-string doll from the 1950s. But
unfortunately for her, a manufacturing defect in her pull-string voice box has
sounding anything but adorable. She has spent more than 60 years forgotten in
depths of a jam-packed antique store-her only companions are a band of voiceless
ventriloquist dummies. Gabby Gabby knows someone will want her if only she can
a working voice box to repair hers.
Woody is more than a little wary of Gabby, but it may be that she's just
Says screenwriter Stephany Folsom, "Gabby Gabby and Woody have the exact same
philosophy, which is to be there for your kid no matter what. But unlike Woody,
never actually had that experience, so she clings to the fantasy of what it
would be like
to be with a kid."
Gabby Gabby is voiced by Christina Hendricks. "It became obvious right away
Christina was the perfect actress to play Gabby Gabby," says director Josh
Cooley. "She has the ability to sound inviting and friendly, then subtly become
terrifying in just a few words. It still gives me chills when I see Gabby's
The character's bond with antique store ventriloquist dolls triggered an
connection for Hendricks. "As a child I always wanted a ventriloquist doll, and
parents would never get me one," she says. "So, later in life my husband finally
my ventriloquist doll, and it is in my office, and I love him so very much. So,
came in to do the voice of Gabby, they showed me some of the animation, and I
'This is blowing my mind! This little doll has red hair and blue eyes and hangs
weird ventriloquist dolls-it's like she is me.' Maybe I am misunderstood, too."
According to production designer Bob Pauley, Gabby Gabby was inspired by
dolls from the 1950s and 1960s. "We gave her doll-like weighted eyes-the kind
would close when the doll is horizontal," says Pauley. "The way the iris is
eyes really respond to the light and feel very toy-like."
Gabby's hair is also very doll-like and detailed-artists visited toy
study how dolls' hair works. "Her hair is not human hair," says character
Sajan Skaria. "We looked at the way a doll's hair is rooted onto the scalp, the
of it and the uniform metallic color."
Similarly, animators wanted to ensure a doll-like quality in Gabby Gabby's
"They have joints at the hip, shoulder and neck," says Clark. "So, we tried to
stay true to
that. We also played with how her eyes blink to feel more like a doll's eyes. We
however, animate Gabby's brows and lower face in a more human way so that the
audience can empathize with her. It's subtle, but if she feels a little more
audience may identify with her more."
But filmmakers didn't necessarily want the audience to empathize with Gabby,
ways to introduce her in a way that might raise some red flags. "We picked a
Gabby that is a sickly green," says JC Kalache, director of photography. "It
throughout the movie. Every time you see that green light, you get an uneasy
that Gabby might be right around the corner."
Adds John Lee, colorscript art director, "The audience has to feel the same
Woody does. We want them to be right there with Woody when he decides to run."
BUZZ LIGHTYEAR is loyal not only to his owner, but to the friends he's made
way-especially his once-rival Woody who's like a brother to the ace Space Ranger
these days. Buzz would do anything to support his pull-string buddy, but when
efforts land him in a carnival game booth as an inadvertent prize, he turns to
voice for guidance. Says producer Jonas Rivera, "'Toy Story 4' is an internal
story in a
lot of ways, often asking, 'What is your gut telling you?' So, we thought we
Buzz's buttons that way. For the rest of us, those buttons are just a toy
recorded phrases. To him, it's like a Magic 8-Ball every time he hits a button."
Tim Allen returns as the voice of Buzz. "The way Tim leaned into this idea of
listening to his inner voice was really funny," says Rivera. "The way he
made it feel real. Buzz gives the story great drive."
Woody and Buzz's friendship has come a long way. According to Allen, the new
takes their unlikely bond even further. "Buzz wants Woody to do the right
sometimes doing the right thing is really, really hard to do," says Allen.
fundamental to Buzz and this story takes loyalty to a new level."
"Buzz sees that Woody needs to make a change," adds director Josh Cooley. "He
wants to be supportive and help him out, but his efforts land him in the hands
of a carny
and placed into a game booth as a prize."
"Toy Story" is rooted in that key friendship. Says producer Mark Nielsen,
relationship between Woody and Buzz is core to the 'Toy Story' films. It starts
off a little
rocky in the first film, but a friendship is born. And that builds over the
years and through
the films. They trust each other, understand each other and support each other.
such a critical relationship in the series and in 'Toy Story 4,' we take it to
DUCKY and BUNNY are carnival prizes who are eager to be won. But when their
are rudely interrupted, they find themselves on an unexpected adventure with a
toys who have no idea what it feels like to be tacked to a prize wall. According
screenwriter Andrew Stanton, Ducky and Bunny are the perfect contrast to Woody
Buzz, who've always had a kid. "If you think about it, a carnival has the
saddest, most disposable toys known to man," he says.
"Ducky and Bunny bring a new level of fun to the 'Toy Story' universe," adds
"Their view of the world has been very singular as they go from town to town in
same booth, staring out at the world. They have no moral compass because they've
watched kid after kid spend money on a game that's unwinnable by design. Not
they learning bad things about human nature, they're trapped because of it."
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele lend their voices to Ducky and Bunny, who
proved to be a surprise addition to their resumes. "Of all the characters that I
imagine, this was not one of them," says Key. "Remember that time when you were
and you're like, 'You know what I want to do more than anything is play a plush
duck'? That one never came to mind. This was such a lovely surprise to be asked
this movie. I don't think they got the whole sentence out-I think Jordan and I
vocal whiplash, we said yes so fast."
According to Peele, the gig marked a reunion of sorts. "They wanted our real
says Peele. "A couple years had passed between when we had finished Key & Peele
and began these recording sessions, so it felt like we were getting the band
together. We immediately began feeding off each other and improvising-and they
totally encouraged that. It was inspiring and it was a relief to realize that we
characters as opposed to us doing the characters."
Says Cooley, "They are two of the most brilliant minds I've ever seen. Of
are effortlessly funny, which would be enough. But they are incredible actors
understand story. Their improvs weren't just for comedy sake, they were
storymotivated, which elevated Ducky and Bunny and the film to a level I never
Editor Axel Geddes says Key and Peele made life difficult for him on
recorded them in the same room across from each other," he says. "They give you
much gold that it can't all fit in the movie."
PLUSING THE PLUSH
According to production designer Bob Pauley, Ducky and Bunny are not the
plush on the shelf. "We wanted the audience to connect with them, so we made
they were still appealing, charming and interesting," he says. "But there's a
carnival plush-really cheap plush-so we tried to be true to the materials that
used. Their colors are a little garish, almost fluorescent, and there's a bit of
Henry Garcia, simulation supervisor, says the fur on Ducky and Bunny was
the same way as human characters' hair-but Ducky and Bunny's fur is stiff and
simulated if the characters are hugging or lying on the ground. "Ducky's tuft is
percent funnier if we sim it and let it come to life," says Garcia. "We looked
Muppets and ostrich feathers as references. Ducky's tuft stays alive for a
little bit longer
after he stops moving. We had to find the sweet spot so it's not distracting,
Ducky and Bunny are Yin and Yang. Connected at the paw/wing, they seem to
in every other way. "Ducky's legs aren't very long, his feet are huge and he has
wings," says directing animator Becki Tower. "He is always bouncing around-he's
high-energy pinball around the steady Bunny."
Adds directing animator Aaron Hartline, "You have to push the weight for
Bunny. He's a
big guy, so even though he has a lot of energy, he's going to move a little more
he's more deliberate in his motion. 'If it's easier for me to turn my head than
whole body, I'm going to turn my head.' He has heavier lids, too. He may be
but he's moving slowly."
GIGGLE MCDIMPLES is a miniature plastic doll from the 1980s Giggle McDimples
line. As a toy, Officer Giggle McDimples is head of Pet Patrol for Mini-opolis,
search and rescue. But out in the world, Giggle is Bo Peep's best friend. Small
to perch on Bo's shoulder, Giggle is Bo's confidant, supporter and advisor.
Bo's Jiminy Cricket-we're able to get insight on Bo through their relationship
says Cooley. "Giggle is definitely the smallest toy in the 'Toy Story' universe.
been stepped on, vacuumed up, and probably put up a kid's nose in her time."
Adds story supervisor Valerie LaPointe, "Giggle comes with her own patrol
a little car inside, but she travels around with Bo in a Skunkmobile-a motorized
vehicle they've disguised as a skunk to trick people into steering clear of
Ally Maki voices the tiny character. "Giggle McDimples literally pops on the
because of Ally's personality and infectious energy," says Cooley. "Nobody can
like Ally Maki."
"I have two older brothers-I'm the only girl, and I'm the youngest," says
Maki. "I spent
most of my childhood getting noogies and hockey pucks shot at me. I think I
bring a lot
of that little-sister energy to the role. Giggle was really fun to play."
According to Hartline, Giggle's size influenced their approach to her
way we animate her has to be very specific and unique," he says. "She's so small
such a big personality that we have to bounce her around like a flea-she snaps
DUKE CABOOM is a 1970s toy based on Canada's greatest stuntman. Riding his
powerful Caboom stunt-cycle, Duke is always prepared to show off his stunt poses
confidence and swagger. However, Woody learns quickly that Duke has an Achilles
heel: He has never been able to do the awesome stunts advertised in his own toy
commercial. For years, Duke has been sitting in an antique store, constantly
failures of his tragic past.
Says LaPointe, "Duke Caboom is an action figure who was immediately rejected
kid when he was opened on Christmas day because he couldn't do the jump exactly
Duke Caboom is voiced by another great Canadian, Keanu Reeves. "The first
[Cooley] and I talked with Keanu about the role, Keanu became Duke Caboom," says
producer Jonas Rivera. "Keanu was asking great questions that dug deep to find
soul of the character. At one point he stood up on the table in the middle of
atrium and struck poses while proclaiming victory. It was so funny. It's all in
and it's all Keanu."
"Duke can't help it," says Reeves. "He's a showman and a daredevil-he has to
perform. It's who he is. It was great to express my inner Duke Caboom."
According to Pauley, Duke is always in "grip mode." "It acknowledges the kind of
is," says Pauley. "He's only meant to be on the bike, so he doesn't walk very
BENSON is a classic, antique ventriloquist dummy, and Gabby Gabby's right
leads a small group of ventriloquist dummies that serve as Gabby's henchmen.
person to give them a voice, these silent toys patrol the antique store with a
quietness that is inherently unsettling.
"The dummies are, by far, some of the creepiest characters we've ever
producer Mark Nielsen. "Our animators really leaned into the truth in materials
our ventriloquist dummies move. Dummies' bodies are soft with no structure, so
dummies' arms just dangle and their legs bend backwards. Throw in their fixed
expressions with their wide eyes and big hinged jaws and they're nightmare
in the best way possible."
Henry Garcia, simulation supervisor, says his team improved upon technology
"The Good Dinosaur" that simulates skin and body movement to help bring the
dummies' arms to life. "Their arms and legs flop around," says Garcia. "The end
gave physical movement to the limbs that didn't need to be animated by hand,
boosting efficiency and physicality."
WORKING THE CROWD
"Toy Story 4" features crowds characters in Bonnie's kindergarten class, toys
pinball machine, kids on playgrounds and people at the carnival. While the
toys were animated by the crowds team, they utilized a special technique to
natural and varied movement for the crowds characters at the carnival. "We have
motion-capture stage," says crowds lead Neil Helm. "It's an experiment we're
some of the human background characters. It gives a richness and depth to those
performances, while also not distracting from the main characters and story. We
wouldn't ordinarily spend a lot of time on background characters, but we want
be believable. Animation cycles, which are normally applied to crowd characters,
have a looping quality to them. When we use motion capture, we can capture long
of a thousand frames or more of people standing around doing unique and
background behavior, which we can then use it to populate a whole world."
FROM THE GROUND UP
Toys Navigate New (Antique) Worlds
Part of the magic of the "Toy Story" movies is getting to view the world from
perspective. "'Toy Story' has a caricatured world where everything is designed
toy's point of view," says director Josh Cooley. "We really wanted to expand the
as much as possible. So, going outside of the Tri-County area was huge. And we
the toys in places that they'd never been-places that would have new types of
that would present new problems."
While the look of the films is stylized, advancements in technology led to
opportunities. "With each film, our technology gets better and better, and we're
make things look more believable, more realistic," says Cooley. "In this movie,
shots that are staggeringly realistic. At times we have to pull it back-it's too
thing we learned from the first three films was to keep the lighting to more
that it feels presentational."
While some things stayed the same, not everything was maintained. According
director of photography Patrick Lin, the aspect ratio used for the previous "Toy
films, 1.85:1, was changed to 2.39:1 for "Toy Story 4." "It's a wide-screen
gives us a different look for the film," he says. "We want to give the audience
cinematic experience. Having little toys in this format makes them feel even
which fits the story."
Lin adds that the fact that they're toys is always top of mind. "We don't
want the camera
to feel like there's a toy-sized cameraman operating it," he says. "So, if Woody
Forky are running through the antique store, we don't shoot it with a handheld.
actually have to work as if a human is holding the camera low so that the
it from a human's point of view."
According to Lin, the lens choices and bokeh shape help the fourth
slightly more tangible. The team rented an anamorphic lens package and camera to
extensive testing to emulate the look. "We didn't want to go photo-realistic,"
"But there's a little more texture to it."
Production designer Bob Pauley helped usher the overall look of "Toy Story
"With the power of our tools today, we can do so much more compared to the first
Story,'" he says. "It's about choices-we are not making a live-action 'Toy
want to be true to our history. We stylize the characters and the world to make
believable and feel 'Toy Story' with lighting that is theatrical and emotionally
WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS
The film opens back in time-a year or so after "Toy Story 2." Andy, who's
with the toys outside, races inside when a storm breaks. But he forgets RC Car
so Woody, Bo and the gang leap into action. The rain presents a serious obstacle
rescue mission-and filmmakers knew it would be challenging for them, too. "At
easiest, rain is still going to be complicated," says supervising technical
Moyer. "Rain interacts with everything-it has a ton of effects, it changes the
cloth or brick or plastic, there are multiple types of splashes. And water is
difficult for computer graphics to begin with, so we incorporated some new
and the effects team added to their tookit so that they could work closely with
"There are about a hundred shots that have falling rain, and it's a
says effects supervisor Gary Bruins. "In the film, we see the rain from a both a
and the toy's points of view. We're all familiar with how rain looks and feels
to a human,
but what does that rain look like to a small toy? When we're with the toys, the
only inches above the ground. This vantage point naturally made the falling rain
splashes feel larger and intimidating. In certain shots we further increased the
the rain and splashes to heighten the sense that Woody is navigating a field of
exploding obstacles-rain splashes-in a heroic attempt to rescue a friend."
Bruins and his team started with real-world reference but were also able to
look a little
closer to home for reference and a near how-to guide. "There was so much work
on rivers for 'The Good Dinosaur' that creating that river-like effect for RC
wasn't as challenging," he says.
They researched the physics of falling rain, including frame-by-frame
analysis of realworld reference, asking themselves, "What's the top speed of a
falling raindrop?", "How
big can rain drops get?", "Do our eyes see falling rain differently than how
in a still image or video clip?", "How have various hand drawn animated films
represented their rain?"
Says Bruins, "When we study the real-world imagery of any natural phenomena
length, it often reveals differences and surprises between what we're seeing in
reference and what we thought we'd see, based on our memories of it. This gap
an opportunity create a look that is a mix-and-match of what would really happen
what the audience, like our team, is expecting to see. For example, if you dip a
toy in water, then remove it, droplets form and bead into clusters. And areas
have a droplet look completely dry, as if it never was touched by water.
we expected to see was plastic with a uniform glossy look as if it was sprayed
clear coat of lacquer. In the film, astute viewers may notice when we adhered to
realworld physics-droplet clusters-and when we honored the false expectations
us likely expect to see."
Woody stows away in Bonnie's backpack so he can accompany her to kindergarten
orientation. For the sequence, the environments team had to design Bonnie's
particularly her classroom. According to sets art director Dan Holland, the
inspired by schools built in the late 1940s, with additional classrooms added in
1960s. "Originally, we saw a lot more of the school-with a gymnasium and added
architecture," he says. "We spent weeks and weeks designing the front of the
and its long corridors. There were some very specific design choices for the
classroom-how the light would come through the window-because we realized that
Forky would be born there."
Sets supervisor Thomas Jordan says that the classroom was designed to help
Bonnie's emotional state. "We couldn't just make it a beautiful place," he says.
to make it feel a little bit scary and intimidating when Bonnie first arrives,
so it's a little
cooler and more isolated. But when she's building Forky, the look warms up a
Bonnie's family takes off for an end-of-summer road trip, so naturally, the
toys join them.
"It's inspired by my summers with my parents," says director Josh Cooley. "We
VW pop-up and drove from California to Maine and back. I've done a lot of road
like that, and they can be painful. But to toys, it becomes a moving set."
The toys' adventure takes place aboard an RV, so filmmakers had to get to
unique mode of transportation inside and out. "We rented an RV for a weekend,"
Holland. "We didn't go anywhere, we just parked it at Pixar. We had a few
there just for fun, and we spent several hours going through it with cameras
just to see
how things worked-on the roof, underneath and all around it soaking up details
don't usually notice. I think the end result is pretty authentic."
According to Holland, artists did have to clean up the true look. "No matter
are," he says, "when you get down to toy level, everything is dirty. We want our
to be believable, just not that believable."
Director of photography Patrick Lin says the RV presented his team with some
challenges. "Woody, Buzz, Rex-they're bigger than you think," he says. "They're
supposed to stay in toy mode in front of humans, so it was tricky finding places
out of the eyeline of Bonnie and her parents."
BACK IN TIME
One of the key locations in "Toy Story 4" is an antique store, Second Chance
Bo spent years gathering dust at this store until she decided to move on. Later,
spots her lamp and goes inside to look for her. It's also home to a host of
Gabby Gabby, her henchmen dummies, Duke Caboom and more. Says Cooley, "This is
a new location for us. My parents are big antiquers, so I've been to a lot of
stores. The nostalgia of it-almost a feeling of going back in time-seemed right
revisiting of Bo and Woody. And there are just unlimited opportunities. The goal
'Toy Story' movie is to always remember these are toys. The antique store is a
setting anyway, but from a toy's point of view, it's uncharted territory."
According to Pauley, the antique store is vast and filled with thousands of
did a lot of research," he says. "For 'Ratatouille,' they went to Paris. For
'Up,' they went
to Venezuela. But for 'Toy Story 4,' we visited local antique stores. We
discovered a lot
of charming, interesting and fun people running them, and many visual
store to store. There's often a stoplight, a jukebox, sometimes a big plastic
Santa and of
course lots of collectibles and real antiques. There are many lights and lamps
illuminating all the items throughout the store-lights connected to lots and
extension cords and power strips. The front desks are always interesting, small
little curiosities, extra tags and refreshingly low tech: they laboriously
receipts and chat about your purchase. There's also a cat or two that have the
the place, so we incorporated one to help tell our story.
"We learned that most of the antique stores we visited used to be something
furniture store, an auto repair garage," Pauley continues. "We decided Second
used to be an appliance-slash-department store, so we included remnants of
displays and shelves in our design-all filled with objects. Fortunately, at
Pixar, we have
a big 'backlot' of objects from all of our feature films. It was a big treasure
we have a lot of interesting history, and we also took the opportunity to plant
"There are awards cases from Gusteau's office from 'Ratatouille,'" says
technical director Bob Moyer, "furniture from 'The Incredibles,' props from
worked with the art department and set dressing lead to figure out what they
Sets supervisor Steve Karski says the antique store is divided into defined
"There's a 1950s booth with a retro jukebox, an eight-millimeter film
some fun film boxes to keep an eye out for-diner furniture and vintage signs,"
"The 1970s area utilizes the fun seventies colors with garish chairs, artwork
Every item that is visible in the antique store-and a few that aren't
touched by the shading team. Because there were so many objects, filmmakers used
new technology to proceduralize much of the effort. "We developed a language of
different ages-fairly new, moderately aged and extremely aged," says shading art
director Laura Phillips. "We did that with metals-bronzes, pewters, iron-and
As the objects were modeled, the shading artists applied a general material
(GMT), which supplied a previously established material with appropriate aging
wear to the object. The result of the process required far less work from
"We were able to focus on those items that are most visible," she says. "If we'd
this the way we used to approach films, we'd be working on it for ten years."
Graphics and signage were instrumental in creating a believable antique store
objects from many eras. According to graphics art director Craig Foster, whose
helped "antique-ify" a host of items, a variety of factors help indicate age.
different time periods-fonts, colors and layouts," he says. "And while we used
references we found, we often went with emotional authenticity-our individual
impressions of the 1950s."
Foster's team added marks on the backs of plates, designed furniture labels
created tin signs, fruit crate labels and other graphic details that help sell
and diverse nature of the items.
All of those items, while showcasing the dense nature of antique stores,
challenging when it came time to shoot the sequences. "Sometimes we didn't want
background to be too busy," says director of photography-camera Patrick Lin.
have to constantly move things around or even clear it out a little to make the
composition more pleasing."
Lin says the other fun challenge within the antique store was shooting
used reflection technology from "Finding Dory," which allows artists to see a
during the layout phase while shots are being composed.
According to director of photography JC Kalache, the lighting in the store
the overall mood filmmakers wanted to convey. "The antique mall, by design, is a
that's very bright in the front with all of the windows and natural sunlight
coming in, and
gets darker as you move deeper into the store," says Kalache. "We can up the
as it gets darker."
The introduction of Duke Caboom had to be big. "We wanted to introduce this
largerthan-life character-who's really tiny compared to Woody and Bo-in a
theatrical way," says Kalache.
Woody and Bo find Duke in a secret hangout within the antique store: the
inside of a
vintage pinball machine. "It's the kind of hangout where they can be away from
and congregate in a safe space-and it's a cool one," says producer Mark Nielsen.
"It looks like a lively bar," adds Karski, whose team studied a real pinball
capture all of the interior details. "The wiring, connection bolts and interior
from a real pinball machine are all there-but when experienced at toy scale,
red and blue animated low-level lighting, the density of characters and
haze, it feels like a cool place to hang out."
Adds John Lee, colorscript art director, "There's a lot of staged lighting
and fog. That's
why the pinball machine is such a perfect place-all of the colorful lights used
to light up
the game board bleed through to the inside. It blinks off and on as if it were a
Gabby Gabby holds a place of privilege and utter isolation in the antique
"Considering the idea that the antique mall used to be a department store," says
director Dan Holland, "we figured there would be a big central built-in cabinet
originally a jewelry or cosmetics counter. Gabby can stay tucked away up there
vantage point over the entire store. It was fun thinking about all the richness
materials. In those old places, there was cloth wallpaper with bits of
ingrained in it. We incorporated wood with brass trim work."
Director Josh Cooley says that the carnival provided endless opportunities
for the toys
to explore areas unseen by humans. "We want the toys to go places we can't," he
"They walk the roofs of the game booths, along the giant power cords on the
and even into the middle of the carousel. And it just looks beautiful."
Production designer Bob Pauley and other artists went to several carnivals to
reference. Says Pauley, "We wanted to capture the charm of carnivals-the bright
candy colors, the obligatory Ferris wheel, all the rides and game booths, and
We chose a more traditional incandescent temperature, rather than LED to enhance
romantic nature. We learned how they function, how they are designed and work.
will notice all the details, but together, they help build a world that just
Sets supervisor Thomas Jordan adds, "Carnivals are mobile-they're traveling.
rides tend to be smaller, and they all can be torn down, folded up and stowed
Some of the bigger rides arrive on a semi-truck-the trailer remains under the
it's set up. They might try to hide it with these big vinyl skirts. So, we
incorporated all of
The sets team also added portable toilets, generators, cables and fencing to
the carnival atmosphere. They created more than a dozen game booths, including
one where Ducky and Bunny have been hanging-literally-for years. Artists paid
careful attention to detail, underscoring the shabby, banged-up nature of a
carnival. For example, the grid of metal bars that holds the prizes isn't
Artists also hand-painted welds to the metal grid.
Filmmakers knew the game booths were ripe with opportunity for the toys.
"With all of
the activity of the carnival, we asked where a toy would fit into this world,"
lead David Bianchi. "Underneath the game booths was pegged early on. There's a
whole life down there from a toy's perspective-popsicle sticks and gum
kind of magical down there."
William Reeves, technology & pipeline supervisor, says his team was called on
artists achieve the right look for the carnival. "We worked on enhancing our
build scenes with many thousands of lights that's efficient for the renderer,"
"The lights range from those on the Ferris wheel and other rides to marquee
According to Bob Moyer, supervising technical director, the carnival lights
beautiful and complicated. "We spent a lot of time making light bulbs work
animating those," he says. "We worked with our lighting and sets teams to make
everything was calibrated so that if it was nighttime, a light bulb looked super
if it was daytime, it looked-relative to the sun-super dim.
"It's also about making a light bulb that's half the size of your main
characters look as
real as possible," continues Moyer. "The set had to be believable not just as a
but how a carnival looks with toys running through it."
Says director of photography-lighting JC Kalache, "There's a certain energy
to capture in the carnival that is in stark contrast to the antique store."
Kalache was particularly interested in the idea of illuminated air. "CG
images tend to
look crisp and clean and we wanted to add a bit more texture and variation to
scenes by illuminating the air in the environment," says Kalache. "In the
we emphasized dust particulates and atmosphere, and in the carnival we
dirt kicked up by the crowd. In general, the air around the toys had a bit more
than that around the humans to help accentuate the tiny scale of our
Randy Newman Creates Another Memorable Score, plus Two New Songs-
Chris Stapleton Performs "The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy" for End Credits
The "Toy Story" films are beloved worldwide for their compelling characters,
extraordinary storytelling, stunning visuals and the music of Randy Newman. The
composer and songwriter is behind signature songs like "You've Got a Friend in
"Strange Things," "When She Loved Me" and "We Belong Together," the latter
him an Academy Award for best original song in 2010. "His music defines these
movies," says director Josh Cooley. "I remember driving down South and my kids
in the back watching 'Toy Story.' Just hearing the music, I could imagine Woody
across the room. I can't imagine making a fourth one without Randy Newman."
"Toy Story 4" called for the same magic Newman found with the first three
films, and he
was up to the challenge. "I was happy to hear that I was going to do another
says. "I have great affection for them, and it was good to be back in that world
Newman composed the score for the film, wrote two new songs and conducted the
piece orchestra. "Those days out in front of the orchestra are the best days,"
"It's collaborative to the highest degree. There's no way I could be in the same
with people who play as well as they do-world-class musicians-without a stick in
hand. It's always a privilege to get my music played by that studio orchestra."
According to Newman, "Toy Story 4"-like its predecessors-has great emotional
depth. "Important things are happening to people we love," he says. "There's
action, but there's a lot of deeper stuff. This picture had a lot of opportunity
to do things
of some depth emotionally-but not overdo it."
Newman pays homage to the previous "Toy Story" films by reintroducing some
melodies and even "You've Got a Friend in Me." But since the film introduces a
new characters, Newman needed to create new themes, specifically for Bonnie, the
toys' new owner, and Gabby Gabby, whose emotional story called for a sometimes
accompaniment. Newman used an accordion and mandolin to showcase Duke
Caboom's troubling memory of his owner's rejection.
Forky also has his own theme, plus what Newman calls a "subordinate theme."
songwriter also penned the song "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" for
favorite friend. "He gets it in his head that he's disposable, so he keeps
trying to throw
himself in the trash can," says Newman. "And Woody has put himself in charge of
keeping him from doing so."
"The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy" was also written with Woody in mind. "He
like he was a lonesome cowboy until someone comes along and changes his world,"
says Newman, who was excited to hear what Chris Stapleton would do with the end-
credit version of the song. "He's a very nice, unaffected fellow and I was glad
able to do it."
Stapleton was 17 when "Toy Story" was released. "The animated movies I grew
as a kid were all hand drawn," he says. "I remember people talking about 'Toy
a technical game changer for animated movies and I think that might have been
reason I went to see it as a teenager. It was, but to me what has made the 'Toy
films hold up over time has been the strength of the stories and the songs and
writing and the characters. There's something for people of all ages to enjoy in
that is 'Toy Story.' It's a tremendous honor to get to sing a Randy Newman song
is without question one of the most iconic animated franchises in history."
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