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 "Director of Photography" credit on animated films, ...a query regarding CGI job titles.
Steve Guariento
Posted: Dec 9 2004, 04:12 AM


Mobian


Group: Members
Posts: 1,235
Member No.: 145
Joined: 21-October 04



Just got back from seeing THE INCREDIBLES for the second time (yep, I liked it) and had my curiosity piqued by the "director(s) of photography" credit during the closing titles - in the context of a computer-animated film, with no actual "camera" per se, just what exactly is the role of a DP?

My uninformed guess is that the DPs here had overall responsibility for determining the virtual lighting levels in each scene, ensuring that light sources created the correct shadow configurations, that the moonlight on the sea had the right "look", and maybe some kind of say in the colour grading of shots... but if anyone can explain to me the precise parameters of an animation director of photography's role, I'd be ever so grateful. I'd imagine there'd be some overlap between roles on a fully-animated project like this (don't the actual animators themselves decide on the position of light sources within shots, as part of their programming chores, and doesn't the actual director decide what "look" he has in mind for individual scenes?), but possibly I'm hopelessly misguided in such a belief. Basically, I'm clueless, so a little help would go a long way.
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Michael Mackenzie
Posted: Dec 9 2004, 10:28 AM


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Group: Members
Posts: 359
Member No.: 40
Joined: 18-October 04



Steve, I think your guess is pretty much correct. I believe Pixar use this credit to designate the person who supervises the lighting and (possibly) application of shaders. I would imagine that there is a lot of overlap here, especially given the large crews that work on animated movies, but I think it's probably safe to assume that it's the person who assumes responsibility for the colour balance and positioning/quality/type of lighting for each scene.

Animation does seem to have a tendency, especially in the last 10-20 years, of trying to apply live action job titles where they aren't actually relevant per se. This is especially true of the "production designer" credit, which appears in a lot of animated films but seems to signify the person(s) in charge of set design and conceptualization, rather than their live action equivalent, where they are generally (at least nowadays) in charge of the whole visual design side of things.


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Steve Guariento
Posted: Dec 10 2004, 02:24 AM


Mobian


Group: Members
Posts: 1,235
Member No.: 145
Joined: 21-October 04



Thanks for confirming my suspicions!

I'd also thought about querying the "production design" credit, too, but as you suggest came to the conclusion that this was all about designing the virtual architectural spaces within the animated world. (Such as Edna Mode's fabulous "glass boxes" mansion, and Syndrome's Blofeld-modernist lair. People have looked at me kind of strangely when I've said this, but THE INCREDIBLES is the first film in ages I've really wanted to inhabit myself...that island, those monorails, the whole design... yes, I could happily retire there. smile.gif

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