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Pixar's "Cars 2" previewed at 2011 AutoWeek Design Forum

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Cars 2 Art Director Jay Schuster and Co-Director Brad Lewis at the 2011 AutoWeek Design Forum in Detroit.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

|

DETROIT -- In 2006, Cars Director John Lasseter spoke at the AutoWeek Design Forum. This year, it was all about the sequel, Cars 2 Co-Director Brad Lewis and Art Director Jay Schuster offered a preview of the new animated film, which is scheduled to be released on June 24, 2011. There will be many differences in the second film. It was a great time to talk about movies, since Michigan is called "Hollywood East" due to our state's 42 percent tax incentive for the film industry.

Lewis received a Bachelor's degree in theatre from Fresno State University. He was the mayor of San Carlos, Calif. in 2008. Lewis started his career in the entertainment business as a production assistant on The Merv Griffin Show. He produced TV specials such as The Last Halloween and the first 3-D episode of The Simpsons. Then, Lewis worked at Pacific Data Images for 13 years before landing a role at Pixar in November 2001. He served as the producer of Ratatouille and is co-director of Cars 2.

"The level of support has been phenomenal," Lewis said about the new animated film. "We had never done an open-wheeled car. We had to sort of pick and choose some things. We had to limite where we let the animators go. We also had to design international racing champions that Lighting McQueen would race against. We took existing cars in the world and adapted them. These things start with research trips. We went to the Frankfurt Auto Show. There are so many different types of cars in the world."

Schuster graduated from the industrial design program at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. He grew up in Birmingham, Mich. as the son of a car designer. His bedroom was filled with blueprints, drawings, posters, machines and models. Schuster knew he wanted to get into the film industry after seeing Star Wars. He was able to land a job at Lucasfilm Ltd. as a designer of vehicles and environments for the Star Wars film trilogy. Schuster joined Pixar in 2002 as a sketch artist. He contributed designs to the first Cars film and is now the art director on the sequel.

"I knew we had a big win with eyes on the helmet," Schuster said about Cars 2. "Our biggest challenge in the design was the length of the nose. The animators start pushing and pulling points. We started in London on a 15-city tour."

Attendees were treated to a short clip from the new animated film. In addition, the co-director and art director showed images of the characters from the movie on an overhead projector above.

"The first race is in Tokyo," Lewis added. "There is layer upon layer of detail we wanted in the film. There is a nighttime race on a half mile dirt track. We designed an Italian village. In Monaco, we studied the characters there. In London, our final race takes place right around Buckingham Palace."

In Cars, most of the story took place in the town of Radiator Springs. However, in Cars 2, the characters move on to several different international cities. The co-director said audiences will recognize famous buildings from Europe.

Other speakers highlighted the importance of automotive design for the future

Michael M. Warsaw earned a Bachelor's degree in industrial design from the Art Center College of Design. He is an executive board member of the NewNorth Center for Design in Business. Warsaw landed a job at Johnson Controls 20 years ago. Now, he is the vice president of industrial design and marketing for the parts supplier. Johnson Controls works with virtually every OEM throughout the world to provide them with interior environments.

"It's about having a vision," Warsaw explained. "Be your guidepost. I've never got a good idea from a pessimistic guy. Cars equal love. There are four trends: emerging world, aging society, alternative energy and a digital generation. Cars will go through a profound change. The ie-3 debuted this year. This is a global car, a B-segment car."

Frank Stephenson graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. in 1986. He started his automotive career at Ford in Germany where he helped to create the Escort RS Cosworth. In 1991, he accepted a position at BMW, which allowed him to contribute to the design of the X5 and the new MINI. Stephenson went on to become the design director of Ferrari and Maserati in 2002. By 2005, he was promoted to design director for the rest of the Fiat group (Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo).

"We introduced the use of carbon fiber," Stephenson said. "It really is the super material. I could never imagine that computers would help us that much in design. We are concentrating on delivering the 12C to different markets around the world. We cut off from Mercedes-Benz last year. A lot of our inspiration is coming from design over beauty."

Achim D. Badstuebner graduated from the industrial design program at Hochschule fuer Gestaltung in Pforzheim, Germany. He started his career as a designer for Stile Bertone in Turin, Italy. Then, he went to work for Open and joined the design department at GM's headquarters in Detroit. By 1999, he moved on to Audi where he served as the head of project design. Then, he was promoted to head of exterior design at Audi in 2008.

"You have to find new ways," Badstuebner explained. "I think creating cars is a little bit the same as creating good food. You need good base material. A good car has to visualize. It's all about reality at the end. Keep on growing bigger and bigger. We try to get them as good as possible in production. The face has to be clear this is an Audi. It's all about details. You want to make it perfect as an Audi."

For more information on the AutoWeek Design Forum, visit www.autoweek.com/files/awdf_11.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Lewis also serves as a director/producer at Pixar Animation Studios.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Art Director Jay Schuster shows off an updated design for Sally Carrera in Cars 2.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

The new look of Lighting McQueen for the animated film Cars 2.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Some of the animated characters in the motion picture sequel Cars 2.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

A question-and-answer session with Schuster and Lewis.

 

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This page was last updated on Tue, January 25, 2011 1:53 AM

 

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