What can you do with a background in computer science and a masters in fine arts? Well, Edgar Rodriguez, took those skills and built the garments for the new Disney/Pixar animated film “Brave.”
“Brave” premiered last week at the Seattle International Film Festival and will be released in U.S. theaters tomorrow.
“I worked on ‘Brave’ for about two years,” says Rodriguez in his shy, quiet manner. “I spent the first year building garments and doing set up work, and the second year doing shot work.”
The 34-year-old says he started working for Pixar as an intern while he was still in graduate school. In the almost six years he’s been with the company, he’s already worked on “Ratatouille,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3,” and he’s now working on “Monsters University” – the prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” set to premiere in 2013.
As a simulation technical director, he is like a digital tailor who puts life into the designs given to him by the artists. He says it’s much easier with the new animation software just implemented by Pixar for the first time in 25 years.
“It was a lot was more difficult to do before regarding the cloth side of things – in terms of directing shapes,” says Rodriguez, who is originally from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, but is now based in Oakland, Calif. “It lets us do things quicker – regarding holding shapes and certain other effects.”
Like a tailor, he gets to determine the properties of the cloth he will dress the characters in such as, cotton or wool. Then he tests the garments against different elements, such as wind.
“You want to keep the look even when the character is moving,” says Rodriguez. “Once we have all of the garments built, we run simulations on the different characters to make sure the cloth moves with the characters and try and control the mood of the shot. All of this is done on the computer.”
He says working on “Brave” has been his favorite project so far, because it was a challenge for him to construct some of the kilts.
“When I’m challenged, I end up loving what I’m doing,” says Rodriguez, who adds that he has gravitated towards computer generated images since the early ‘90’s. “‘Twister’ was an inspiration. That’s what led me to my interest into the film side of things.”