Soul: Connecting Pixar and Picasso


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As UI Designers we need to have some understanding of art, even though design and art are different disciplines.

Knowing about Picasso, Da Vinci, Dali, and Frida among another genius could increase the quality of your UI work.

Everybody knows that in terms of Easter Eggs Pixar is a masterpiece, however this year the company went far from beyond again, or we can properly say it went to the Great Before.

This blog is not related to cinema, although we must have to talk about “Soul”, for its connection with Pablo Picasso’s work.

Therefore, the film tells the story of Joe Gardner, a middle school music teacher whose main focus is becoming a notable jazz musician, nevertheless, he suffers an accident on the same day that he has the most important gig of his life.

Design Relax Soul
Joe Gardner – Urban Landscape. credit: Pixar

After the accident he appears in the Great Beyond, however, he finds a way to escape from there and lands himself in the Great Before, a site where new souls gain their unique personalities before being sent to Earth to start their human lives.

At that place, Joe encounters a young and high-maintenance soul named 22 as well as some “counsellors” whose main task is to care for the youthful souls.

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The Jerrys a clear reference to Picasso’s work. credit: Pixar

The co-director Pete Docter says the counsellors or “Jerrys” themselves were a big challenge to the film’s art department, as they could be literally anything.

The artists created a wire sculpture so they could realize what the characters might look like, also led by countless physical drawings.

Bobby Podesta explains.“We began exploring shapes and expressions, movements and transitions, The animators didn’t just animate a model, they animate a design the characters captured the sense of living one, a piece of art, a form that was understandable yet ethereal.”

Furthermore, we can see the counsellors are more than animated lines; they channel a hint of Picassos’s penchant for depicting faces, and they employed a similar concept to produce forky in Toy Story 4.

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Character scratch – credit: Pixar
Design Relax - soul Picasso Femme au Béret et à la Robe Quadrillée
Pablo Picasso’s Femme au Béret et à la Robe Quadrillée

What can we correctly conclude from it?

To develop something great we call to handle brand-new technologies in addition hold a strong art and history background.

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Quernica – the most notable Picasso’s painting exposed in Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid)

For sure this film could prove to us by mixing modern 3D effects with Picassos’s references and how we can do it.

Despite the art amongst other things, the movie itself is thoughtful as well as an impressive way to carefully make us think about what we are doing with our own lives.

This blog heartily recommends you take some time, relax and watch this animated piece of art.

Wrote by Rafael de Rezende Basso


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