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The Look of "Toy Story"
Production Design, Character Design and Art Direction

Part of production designer Bob Pauley's duties over the past 15 years at Pixar has been to play with toys and figure out what makes them tick, beep or talk. Pauley, the original character designer of Buzz Lightyear for "Toy Story,” led the "Toy Story 3” team that designed the film's toy and human characters, and he created the style and look for the sets and props.

"We did a ton of research for this film, including going to a lot of toy stores and several day-care centers,” recalls Pauley. "We also went to Alcatraz to get a sense of prison life. We even went to a huge landfill location with a giant incinerator to get some visual references for the film's climactic ending. The filmmakers on ‘Ratatouille' went to Paris and ate at some of the fanciest French restaurants, and the ‘Up' team trekked to the tepui mountains in Venezuela. When we came back from our research trip, all we wanted to do was take a shower. "With the ‘Toy Story' movies, we have always tried to create a world that is believable, but not real,” he continues. "We're not trying to replicate the world we live in. Our world has a kind of cartoon feel that is a bit chunkier and stubbier. We try to make shapes interesting. We get inspired by photographs but we don't copy things. Even if you look at little things like light switches, there's a bit of a bow to them, a little bit of chunkiness. We try to create shapes that are pleasing, with a little bit more of a hand-drawn cartoon feel to it. The textures aren't real but they're very true to the materials they're made of. From the very beginning, John [Lasseter] has insisted on ‘truth in materials,' in designing the toy characters and the sets.”

With regard to the human characters, Andy represented one of the film's biggest challenges. Audiences have grown up with this character, and his appearance was particularly important to the filmmakers. "Development-wise, we had to understand who Andy is, how did he grow and what would he look like now as a teenager,” says Pauley. "We put up all the old images of the character and we studied the old Andy sculpt that we still had. We looked at drawings and photo references, but it was really some photographs that John provided of his family that helped us the most.”

Lasseter recalls, "We were trying to figure out what Andy would look like as a 17-year-old headed off to college. And my wife found these framed pictures of our kids—their 8” x 10” school pictures. Over the years, she had put their latest photo over the ones from preschool and kindergarten up through the high school senior pictures. And it's just fascinating to watch how they grow and their evolution. They provided some great inspiration for taking a look at Andy and trying to predict what he would look like as a teenager.”

Also updated for "Toy Story 3” was Andy's bedroom, where some of the most elaborate and imaginative playtime of all time took place. "Andy's bedroom has changed a lot throughout the three films,” says Pauley. "In the first film, the room had clouds on the walls. In ‘Toy Story 2,' the walls were covered with stars. But now he's not a kid anymore, so posters and this other adult world are eclipsing and overlaying all those stars. There's a bulletin board with coupons for Pizza Planet and information from his camp at the Western Cowboy Ranch. We tried to define his personality with the clutter.”

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