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                              How grand animation studios use colors to dazzle viewers

                              Name one thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “animation”. No thinking, answer fast!

                              I bet at some point you thought about color.

                              Do you want to know why? The answer is quite simple, straightforward and obvious: because color is one of the main features that makes animation what it is.

                              Color is one of the main features that makes animation what it is

                              It is different from what we used to see around us in real life; its hyper style makes us suddenly aware of color as some essence or quality. It moves us to a rather philosophical point.

                              Animation studios always work on these effects that might feel as a part of the narrative, but in reality, those are always the tricks that should be making the viewers feel a deep emotional response.

                              Color and lighting

                              Color and lighting are the main things that can create an atmosphere of a movie – you always see that in Disney, Pixar or even in TV series like Rick and Morty. But it doesn’t look like isn’t like lighting a film with real actors, places and events that take place in the world as we know it. Inside animation, there is another world that needs to look like it and nothing else.

                              "Rick and Morty" in the article about colors in animation“Rick and Morty”

                              In real life – and the living movies – the limits of colors are quite easy to understand; that’s how our ability to express colors works and it rarely can quite make us wonder. However, in animation, many studios aren’t concerned with the limits of something – especially with the limits of color. Have you noticed that?

                              Of course to be able to out limit conventional colors people who work in grand animation studios should take a lot of pictures and notes and sketches on lighting and color.

                              It is also important to say that animated movies, cartoons or even short videos have their own grammar.

                              Animated movies, cartoons or even short videos have their own grammar

                              What most studios do is try to invent new colors not necessarily in accordance with its grammar.

                              For example, Pixar once used green fluorescent light that was completely unconventional. They took a risk and managed to surprise all of us. Here’s the most interesting thing: the color itself was picked up during the trip to Mexico by the filmmaker. 

                              Well, picked up means that she noticed it during the trip and recreated it with the means of animation. 

                              Actually, Pixar film directors do it systematically. They create color and light to convey narrative and emotion that will dazzle us as well as make it hard to forget. It is hard to say whether this is some sort of company’s philosophy, but many movies were made under a certain color palette.

                              Pixar cartoon "The Good Dinosaur" in an article about animationPixar cartoon “The Good Dinosaur”

                              "Soul", created by Pixar studio - article "How grand animation studios use colors"“Soul”, created by Pixar studio

                              A Bug's Life - Pixar Animation Studios in the article about colors in animationA Bug’s Life – Pixar Animation Studios

                              Color and emotions

                              Color is naturally evocative. Even animals react to it although in a bit different manner – they perceive it unlike us. It’s the color and its varieties that changed completely. Ever since the Renaissance colors changed the way we imagine things as the technology that produces color changed. Nowadays the technology – especially in the hands of Pixar or Netflix or Disney studios – are the most powerful ones. 

                              Naturally, they use it efficiently, following the rule (apparently) – “the way you are using light will affect what emotions arise in those who watch it”. Consequently, their movies are loved for children, as well as adults to the same extent.

                              The way we see color depends on how much light is behind it. The variety of colors nowadays is built with three color dimensions – black at one end and white that represents light and at the top.

                              The intensity of color and light that Pixar or Netflix has is simply fabulous. 

                              The intensity of color and light that Pixar or Netflix has is simply fabulous

                              Do you remember the color and lights in the “Inside out” story? The range of colors they used in the movie was a big part of its success. Why? It has a lot to do with the way we felt about it.

                              Summary

                              Do you want to convey a certain emotion? Use colors wisely. However, if you observe what Pixar or Netflix does, you’ll understand that in order to increase the influence of color in animation you have to intensify it.

                              You may also be interested in:

                              Secrets of Pixar’s animation: why it become so successful?

                              How Netflix widely promote animation: from headspace series to japanese anime

                              The best animated studios besides well-known giants

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