Rob Cook Talks Right Brain And Left Brain

12 12 2008
Rob Cook.
Rob Cook.

Rob Cook’s featured speaker keynote took us on a journey behind the scenes of a Pixar production. Interestingly, Rob is the Vice President of Advanced Technology at Pixar Animation Studios, yet he hardly spoke about technology. He talked about story, story, story, and art. It might just be that he is so humble to rather highlight other folk’s contributions to Pixar’s final products, but it surely is connected with Pixar’s secret recipe to success – their stories.

Rob highlights the process that John Lasseter had introduced to the previously technology driven group in the early Lucasfilm VFX days, before the formation of Pixar. As John Lasseter put it “art challenges the technology, technology inspires the art.” Throughout his breakdown of the production process, Rob highlighted the importance of story and art, and the artist driven process.

A full house came to hear Rob Cook speak. All images courtesy of SIGGRAPH Asia 2008.

A full house came to hear Rob Cook speak. All images courtesy of SIGGRAPH Asia 2008.

In relating the painting Mona Lisa to the film Ratatouille, he explains that the painter now is the team, and the brush is the computer technology. Yet the process of painting, which is an intuitive and entirely right brain activity, is very different than what computer artists struggle with: a creative decision is made on the right brain, and then the artist has to find a left brain, technical solution, and then switch back to the right brain to assess the results. He compares our current state of tools to the Ford Model T car, which back then needed an elaborate process to start it up. His vision for the future is the creation of artist centric tools, enabling right brainers to work intuitively on the computer.

Melanie Beisswenger is character animator and animation teacher based in Singapore. Some of her past projects include the Academy Award winning feature film Happy Feet, the stereoscopic 3D animated feature Fly Me to the Moon and the TV launch commercial for the blockbuster game BioShock.

Melanie is teaching as Assistant Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media, NTU in Singapore and has been involved with SIGGRAPH Asia 2008 as Computer Animation Festival Producer.


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One response to “Rob Cook Talks Right Brain And Left Brain”

20 01 2009
Maksim (18:23:28) : edit

—— It is very important, Please answer me!!! ——-
Hi Rob and my favourite company PIXAR!
My name is Maxim, I live in New York.
I for a long time dreamed to write to you but was not solved, but here when I have added the book.
I was solved and I inform you that would dream to contact you and to show you it.
But there is small problem - while I write only in Russian and in English to me it is still difficult.
I live in New York only two years, but all this time and before arrival to America dreamed about meetings and work with you.
I in 1997 have drawn comics, and after when I have represented the idea on a paper that to me it seemed, that it does not express all my ideas and I have decided to write the story.
It story fantastic both very actual and interesting.
After I have added it (300 pages) seemed to me, that I could not lay out all in words and it will look perfectly and originally only in the visual image - film or a cartoon film.
I at present have started to write the second and I have already about 300 pages and there are ideas at a rate of 1000 pages the third scripts.
If the first fantasy the second not far cunningly and has a fantastic inclination and very much even most was pleasant to me, though I the person self-critical.
I have started to be engaged in translation and to me have offered variants but they have not liked me, as It seems that they will not translate me as I have expressed it. And consequently I have solved will address to the organization which will be interested in correct translation.

Thank you, Maxim.

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