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DR. SEUSS' THE LORAX

Shaping the In-Theater Experience
Lighting is as important to a CG-animated film as it is to a traditional live-action one. The team crafted each shot to guide the viewers' eyes to the character that would eventually appear on screen…just as if they were lighting actors on set. For example, the animators learned never to put the Lorax in front of an orange Truffula Tree, as that would wash him out completely and render him almost invisible.

The team strived to show motion and ensure a completely immersive experience for the audience. Reflects CG supervisor Chauffard: "We did a lot of research because we had to discover the 'softness' of this tuft or that tuft. I did some small movement to make the Truffula Trees feel fresh and a little bit windy. All the trees are constantly moving in the film…you feel it. The colors, the feeling and the movement were very important. Some of the trees are also designed to move dynamically when they are cut by the Once-ler's machines and they fall."

Healy explains that giving the audience this experience was a laser-coordinated effort: "The fur, the Truffula Trees, the grass and the environment are very computing-intensive because a lot of data was required. When they move, it was even more data. When they interact, it was compounded. To have the furred characters interacting with one another and the environment takes a lot of talent. It takes a lot of special code and many great technicians to pull it off. We had a tight loop between what we thought about on the page and what we designed, and we brought in the technical people at just the right time." 3D Adventure

From the insane scooter ride throughout Thneedville to the Once-ler's runaway ride down the river rapids with Pipsqueak, each element of the story was intended to draw the audience into the film and give them a truly 3D adventure.

Stereographer JOHN R.A. BENSON's job was to ensure that the 3D elements were truly taken advantage of in an exciting way. He says, "We wanted to make the characters feel round-make them feel like they're right in front of you but not so close that it felt weird. In a theater, you want to look at the space in front of the screen and the space that's inside the screen and feel like it's all one. We designed the film so you could be standing next to the Lorax and participating as if he's in your living room and feel that you're just as much a part of the environment as the characters are.

Healy explains that with so many elements necessary for the audience to absorb in the theater, the construction was very deliberate. She says: "When you've got a lot of things going on in the scene, all those multiple colors in the background or a complex city with traffic and crowds, you have to be able to design them so the lighting, the colors and the values are separating the character from the background. That's something we did very judiciously, shot by shot, to make sure that we had just the right room light to make it pop on screen."

3D means manipulating another dimension. Concludes the producer: "When you are doing that in stereo that means you've got another dimension that you have to manage. You have to manage not only where your eye looks on the screen, but you have to manage where your eye looks in depth. We luckily have this incredible team that understands that importance and works well together to make sure that it's seamless for the audience."

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