Principles Analysis – Mike’s New Car

For the return to our animation class, we were asked to watched one of the Pixar short clips Matt suggested and then try to pick out the principles of animation we could see – we usually do this as a group, so it’ll be interesting to see how many I can figure out on my own.

I decided to pick Mike’s New Car, since I have a soft spot for Monsters Inc. and I love the silliness of the characters. I’ll just number the basic principles I saw, listing the¬†examples of each of them.

  1. Squash and stretch : this happens a lot in Monsters Inc. and this video is no exception. Sully is regularly hunched over to give a sense of his height, but when he’s in the car for the first time he is squeezed into the small space until Mike tells him the seat moves. Mike also has plenty of squash/stretch; I namely see it most in his arms and legs, with the way he moves, but also how he’s flung about by the bonnet of the car.
  2. Anticipation : the best examples of this one I noticed was when Sully was deciding on which button to press and then when he finally does decide it takes a few seconds before the bonnet flies open. The same sort of “baited breath” moment came when the hood was closed on Mike’s hand and it takes him a few seconds before he starts screaming.
  3. Slow in and slow out : when the two of them are being bashed about inside the car, you can see that the movements aren’t jerky, even if they’re quick. The seats move into and out of the flinging action slowly. This also happens when Mike is being thrown around by the engine of the car, when he gets trapped inside.
  4. Arc : I think with most animations you’ll have some sort of arcs in the movement of the characters – the way the swing their arms, bring up their legs and put them down again, etc. The way Mike is thrown across the screen at the very end after the car crashes and Sully catches him is in an arc-like fashion.
  5. Exaggeration : In true Pixar fashion, there’s LOADS of exaggeration in this short clip, from the expressions Mike and Sully pull to the car itself. The way Mike and Sully are thrown around in the car would be an extreme exaggeration of the car going haywire (this doesn’t happen at all in real life). The amount of button in the car, to show how needlessly complicated it is just because it’s shiny and new. The way Mike is thrown around by the car, then trapped inside the hood and he can be seen warping the shape of the bonnet (despite it being a solid metal object).
  6. Appeal : Sully has always been a fantastic character. There’s a reason Boo calls him Kitty, since he looks like he’d be extremely soft to touch. The way Pixar animates his fur, each individual strand moving independently, is lovely art in its own right.

Although we weren’t asked to, I might end up looking at the other two videos that were mentioned for this blog post (For the Birds and Geri’s Game), just to continue learning about the principles of animation and seeing their use in popular shorts, like Pixar’s.


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