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Disney Pixar: Creating the Next Generation of Cars Racers and the Production Pipeline #CARS3Event


Creating the Next Generation of Cars Racers and the Production Pipeline

Disclosure: This event and trip to LA was an all expense paid journey sponsored by Disney. All thoughts, opinions and character crushes are 100% my own!

The “Cars 3” Long Lead Press Days, held at Sonoma Raceway, including presentations by Directing Animator Jude Brownbill, Production Designer Jay Shuster and Characters Supervisor Michael Comet, held on March 28, 2017 in Sonoma, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Development of The Next Generation of Cars Racers

As part of my trip to Sonoma Raceway last month, I had the amazing opportunity to interview the team members who brought to life the next generation of Cars racers which include Jackson Storm and Cruz Ramirez, two new Cars characters that are coming on to the big screen in the upcoming release of CARS 3. The creative minds behind these new characters include (above left to right) Jude Brownbill (Directing Animator), Jay Shuster (Production Designer) & Michael Comet (Characters Supervisor)

The “Cars 3” Long Lead Press Days, held at Sonoma Raceway, including presentations by Characters Supervisor Michael Comet, held on March 28, 2017 in Sonoma, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

This trio of creativity was responsible for designing, creating and bringing to life a new cast of characters along with an entirely new storyline. Obviously, SO much goes into creating these characters. This team had to consider everything from the way these characters look to their personalities, histories and story lines. A huge part of bringing all of this together was the development of the different design angles paired the personality of the vehicle in question.

(Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

For example, Jay Shuster shared with us the many things that they took into consideration when designing the looks of these cars. Main character Lightning is a bit more old school. He has a rounder and more flowing shape with upright posture. New to the scene “hot shot” Jackson Storm is very angular and aggressive looking.

CARS 3 (Pictured) – Cruz Ramirez visual development progression. Design by Bob Pauley, Model by Andrew Schmidt and Sculpt by Jerome Ranft. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

As for Cruz Ramirez, she had an even more unique design which created a few challenges. She has the influence of European sports cars, but also some features that keep her feminine and looking a bit like an American muscle car.

“Cars 3” Production Designer Jay Shuster works on the character design of Jackson Storm, as seen in his office on December 15, 2016 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Start to Finish: Pixar’s Production Pipeline

The creation of this film wasn’t without it’s challenges and of course, so much time had passed since the original CARS was released that technology has made huge strides and there was a lot to be considered when heading into this project. Tackling technical achievements and challenges where just part of the journey that artists experienced in the making of CARS 3. We had the chance to interview Bobby Podesta (Supervising Animator), Michael Fong (Supervising Technical Director) & Jon Reisch (Effects Supervisor) and hear their individual stories about how the approached this project and how it all came together.

CARS 3 Effects Supervisor Jon Reisch (Photo by MArc Flores)
CARS 3  Supervising Animator Bobby Podesta (Photo by Marc Flores)

Pixar is HUGE on story. In fact, it was said over and over again that “Story is King”. With story in mind, they set out to create a film that stays true to the story lines that they are aiming for, and that takes a LOT of research. Bobby Podesta (above) shared with us the importance of research (and the more research and even more research!) to keep the story accurate and believable, but also to keep it consistent with story that is being told.

CARS 3 Technical Director Michael Fong (Photo by Marc Flores)

Technical Director Michael Fong went into more depth regarding the Pixar focus on Story is King, sharing with us that the way that the production pipeline works is that from start to finish the film must always be improving. From technical to story aspects, it must be able to be built upon and all of the different departments must be able to adjust to changes and developments that take place to better tell the story. A lot of time has passed since the original Cars movie was released, so these teams must not only accommodate for the changes in the sport since we last saw Lightning McQueen, but they must also adjust for the technology differences that we have these days.

According to Michael, this all comes down to truth in materials, which is where all of the research, storytelling, animation, writing and hard work come together to make not only a fantastic and entertaining movie, but a story that stays true to the story is king mission.

Who Are the Next Generation Racers? 

Holy cow… there are so many new and wonderful personalities to add to your collection and some really fun merchandise and toys to go along with them!!

I LOVE merchandising, I always have and the Cars empire is probably one of the best and craziest. In fact, we couldn’t part with my son’s original Cars collection, it has so many wonderful memories. It is boxed up for him to share with his kids one day. I’m pretty sure we will be adding more too it, as I can’t resist some of these new racers.

The brilliant folks at Mattel make collecting pretty easy too! You can print the 2017 Cars 3 Poster here and then you can also visit the Mattel site to keep track of the 2017 Cars Diecast collection and make notations of cars that you want to collect, which ones you already own and they even subdivide them into categories based on their role in the film.

Make sure to read my other CARS 3 coverage including my lap around Sonoma Raceway and the time I competed in the Cars 3 Pit Stop Challenge! I also shared my behind the scenes tour of Pixar Animation Studios (amazing) and an exclusive interview with the writers from CARS 3 including Mike Rich (Writer), Bob Peterson (Writer), Kiel Murray (Writer), &  Scott Morse (Story Supervisor).

Make sure to mark your calendars!
CARS 3 rolls into theaters June 16th!

CARS 3 Trailer

Just to get your excitement flowing… here’s a peek at CARS 3:

Mark your calendars!! CARS 3 hits theaters June 16th, 2017!


Meet the author – Keri Lyn

The creative and frugal mind behind She Saved for over 12 years now, Keri Lyn shares her adventures in parenting along with her love for family travel, country living and brand marketing. A self-proclaimed “brand loyalist”, Keri Lyn is known for her strong and enthusiastic voice when it comes to the products and brands that she loves. She Saved has become a community for like-minded consumers who appreciate saving money, time and sanity by getting the best deals on quality products and experiences.

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