The Pixar animation company was originally one third of the computer division of Lucasfilm, the company that produced George Lucas’s legendary Star Wars films. In 1979 the company that would later be called Pixar was known as The Graphics Group. This small company was behind many of the advancements of 3D animation, creating animation and rendering software that drastically improved the quality of computer animated films. Pixar’s animated movies are so popular that many people have chosen to get tattoos of the fun 3D characters.
Pixar takes Tattoos 3-Dimensional
Traditional tattoos are 2-dimensional, which means that they have two dimensions, height and width. A 2D tattoo design typically looks a bit like a cartoon, with a distinct outline and flat areas of color. To make a tattoo design 3-dimensional, the tattoo artist needs to add a third dimension to the design; depth. Depth can be thought of as perspective, because it is this dimension that tells you how far away an object is, and the distance between it and other objects in the design. The same principles apply to animation. 2D animation is also known as traditional animation and is made using images that were hand-drawn in only two dimensions. 3D animation, also called computer animation, is made using 3D animation software which allows the digital artists to mold a 3-dimensional character and then film it from any angle.
To create the third dimension in tattoo designs, tattoo artists must use similar techniques to those used by 3D animators. Highlights, like the shiny spot on a marble, reveal the shape of an object by bringing the highlighted area closer to the viewer. Shading or lowlights are darker areas that create the illusion that that part of the object is further away from the viewer. Shadows are used to describe the relationship between objects in scene. If a character doesn’t have a shadow, it looks like they are floating. Shadows are what tie objects together in animation. While the 3D animators at Pixar can easily edit the shapes, textures, colors and lighting in an animated scene, tattoo artists don’t have that luxury. Once the tattoo has been inked into the skin, it is very difficult to change elements of the design.
Luckily for tattoo artists, when it comes to creating tattoos of 3D animation characters, all of the design work has already been done by companies like Pixar. The tattoo artist can then make outlines of the character on paper and transfer this drawing to the skin. The outlines are used as a guide for the tattoo artist so that they know where to put highlights, shading and shadows. Copying the realistic effect of Pixar’s 3D animation in tattoo designs isn’t easy, and it takes a skilled tattoo artist to create a beautiful 3D tattoo. Read more about 3D tattoo designs in 3D Tattoos add a New Dimension to Tattoo Art.
Pixar Tattoos Honor Cute Characters
The “actors” in 3D animation are called characters. Pixar’s 3D characters are especially lovable and have been winning the hearts of children and adults for decades. Kids who grew up alongside the characters from Toy Story 1 (1995) and A Bug’s Life (1998) have now matured into adults. For some people, characters like Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story were such a large part of their childhoods that they have chosen to have these Pixar characters inked permanently into their skin in tattoos designs.
Monsters Incwas released in 2001 and was an instant success. The story told of another reality, a place where the monsters under the bed go to when they aren’t busy scaring the socks off little kids. The tale follows the main characters through a comedy of errors and learning curves. The bad guy tries to oust the good guys, but ultimately, good beats evil and theater-goers get to go home content. This was one of the first feature-length 3D animations to use fur, a texture that is tricky for both 3D modelers and tattoo artists to create.
Finding Nemo (2003) is one of Pixar’s most popular films (second only to the Toy Story trilogy). Nemo is a young clownfish who gets kidnapped and taken to an aquarium far away from his home on the reef. His courageous father sets out on an epic journey to rescue Nemo, befriending other fish and learning a lot about himself and life along the way. The characters from Finding Nemo are the most popular of all the Pixar characters for tattoo designs, especially Crush and Squirt, two surfer-styled sea turtle characters.
Wall-E(2008) had an eco theme to it, warning children of a future in which the Earth was no longer fit to inhabit as a result of the laziness and wastefulness of human beings. Wall-E is a robot who has been left behind on Earth as part of a clean-up operation. When he finds a plant growing on the dead planet, a space ship supporting the last of human life is alerted and a technologically advanced female robot is sent to investigate. Besides the moral of the story, the plot contains romance, action and humor. Tattoos of Wall-E are a symbol of the sweetness of the robot’s sentient personality, and of the selfless way in which he improves the existence of others with his actions. In many ways, Wall-E is more “human” than the humans in the movie, a personification of all the personality traits that humans hold dear.
The opening scenes of Up (2009) tell a love story that is both heart warming and heart breaking. Audiences across the globe surprised themselves by starting the movie in tears. The pace of the plot quickens after the introduction of Russell; a young Asian-American Wilderness Explorer, thousands of helium-filled balloons, a comical bird and dozens of talking dogs. Pixar animation used an elderly man as the main character in Up, something that no other animation house had tried before. The use of an older character appealed to older viewers, making Up a film that appeals to people of all ages.