“A little over a decade ago, Mike Altman and I were both attending the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) in Columbus, Ohio,” writes Media Studies alumnus Justin Shady (CCAD 1998). “Today, Mike works at Pixar as a Technical Director, and I’m interviewing him for OC Weekly. He wins!”
Perhaps we’re a bit biased, but we think they both have ‘won.’ Here’s an excerpt from the OC Weekly interview, “Q & A: Mike Altman Technical Director for Pixar.”
Shady) What new hurdles did you have to face on Cars 2 that maybe you hadn’t encountered on past projects?
Altman) Part of my job on Cars 2 was sets rigging, meaning I would build sets models and then articulate them in such a way that the animators had simple and easy controls over how to move and manipulate the objects. In the Tokyo bathroom interior where Mater gets trapped inside the stall, every element needed special rigging that allowed for lots of fun things to go wrong for Mater. Different scrubbers, polishers, soap sprayers and sponges needed to be controllable by the animators for comic effect, and there are many technical challenges with rigging set pieces like this. Most of our rigging tools are built and specialized for characters, so sets folks need to really be creative.
Shady) What do you hope audiences walk away with after viewing Cars 2?
Altman) I hope they are as blown away by the sets and environments as I was. This movie takes you all over the world, and some of the locations are just breathtaking. The climactic scenes in London have some of the coolest panoramic and street-level chase scenes I’ve seen in an animated film before. The scale is just epic, and though it was so difficult to do, looks effortless.
Read the article in its entirety here.
Shady is the author of Heaven, LLC; Bad Ideas; The Roberts; Missing the Boat; The Lava is a Floor!; The Blarg; and Tastes like Chicken. Learn more about him on his website.
Media Studies alumnus Altman (CCAD 2000) works as a technical director for Pixar and completed work for Toy Story 3 as well as the modeling and articulating of all the 3D characters in the film’s opening short, Day & Night. Altman served as the 2011 commencement speaker at CCAD. Learn more about him on his website.
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