Pixar’s Elemental Director Explains His ‘Big Fears’ About One Character’s Design

Pixar‘s latest creation, elementals, brings the four elements of nature to life into a society of characters who interact with one another in a massive city. As the next release in upcoming Disney movies slate explores, what happens if fire and water mix through the characters of Ember and Wade? While audiences find out the answer to that question this weekend, CinemaBlend spoke to writer/director Peter Sohn about the making of the animated film.

One major feat of elementals was creating believable characters out of elements as unpredictable as fire and water. When CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell asked about the process of how the production played with fire, Peter Sohn had this to say (also in the above video):

[The fire characters] were one of our big fears, just to be frank, when we first started this. I thought all I did were these drawings of fire, that were these static things and everyone was like ‘Boy, will we even be able to focus on the eyes,’ so very soon it was all about trying to control the fire, so the technology about that control. It was called NST (Neural Style Transfer), which I’m not a technical person, but it is taking a style of a drawing, like you could do [a drawing of a] graphic flame, and it would take that and start imprinting it into the three dimensions of the flames.


Ember on the train in Disney/Pixar's Elemental.

(Image credit: Disney/Pixar)

Release Dates: June 16, 2023
Directed By: Peter Son
Written By: John Hoberg, Kat Likkel, Brenda Hsueh
Starring: Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie
Ratings: PG for some perils, thematic elements and brief language
Runtime: 103 minutes

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