Jack-Jack Has Powers!
Jack-Jack, our favorite little Incredible is back and better than ever! 14 years and it seems like not a day has passed. 😉 Some things about Jack-Jack are the same as they were in the original film but Jack-Jack has so much going on in that little baby body. If you’ve seen the film, you know about Jack-Jack’s powers, but I’m going to tell you a little bit about the powers and the challenges that came along with them!
While in San Francisco in April, we met with the INCREDIBLES 2 Effects Team including Supervising Animator Tony Fucile, Effects Supervisor Bill Watral, and Effects Artist Jason Johnston.
Supervising Animator, Tony Fucile
Fun Fact: Tony Fucile’s son was the original voice for Jack-Jack in INCREDIBLES. The director, Brad Bird gave him a boom mic and a recorder, then he followed his son around for an hour to record his sounds. Laughs, baby sounds, etc.
Tony Fucile also served as Supervising Animator on the first film. When creating Jack-Jack for INCREDIBLES, Tony had to get approval from both Pixar and Disney. His job was to go over the look and “flesh the character out.”
“Brad liked the simple shape of his head and how his hair popped out the top of his head.” – Tony
When creating the characters, Tony said that it was tempting to make the characters realistic. As they were going for the mid-century feeling for the whole set, they wanted that in the characters as well. He reminded himself of the original characters by drawing their shapes on a sticky note and would show it to Brad. If you look, you’ll find that the faces of the Parr family are basic shapes, their hairstyles are basic shapes, even their ears are basic shapes.
He drew the characters for us and here’s what I have from my notes (note that I am not an artist, but you get the idea).
“As we were fleshing them out and making them 3D characters. We had broken the characters down and I wanted to remind myself of the original characters. It was basically shapes – the shape of each of the characters heads and how they look. Arc, square, circle – basically each person in the family and secondary shapes for each that would make up their hairstyles.” – Tony
They wanted to create these iconic shapes in 3D and still maintain a sense of caricature. Tony said that Brad was excited about showing the caricatures.
- Bob – They had an idea of a Grecian helmet (for hair).
- Mom starts out with a heart-shaped face.
Next, they hired a sculptor and he nailed Jack-Jack.
“Chubby cheeks, chunky little guy. Then we built our first version of him in Incredibles. We tried our best. Now we can take the 3 in sculpture and have it scanned. Back then we did more work on the other family and not Jack-Jack.” – Tony
They were excited to update Jack-Jack now that technology has advanced and they could do more to his features. They looked at babies so that they could get his character just right. Chunky, chubby, and no neck! Tony said that they “referred back to the post-it a lot to get it right.” There are subtle changes, he mentioned, but all the iconic things are still in there.
“[…]they knew they were going in the right direction. They’d move him in poses and put it in the computer to get Jack-Jack looking just right – tweaking little parts over months and months.” – Tony
Effects Artist, Jason Johnston
Jason Johnston is the man who created Jack-Jack’s fire effect in INCREDIBLES 2. I for one did not know how much of a process the fire effect was to create! But, so worth it with the final outcome. Jason shared the background for this particular effect with us.
How they made Jack-Jack a fireball
First, they started by going back to look at was originally done on INCREDIBLES and they took the opportunity to improve him for the sequel “because the fire would be bigger and he would have more screen time.” Jason said they were able to flesh-out Jack-Jack since the technology has improved since the original film. They wanted to see the emotions on Jack-Jack’s face, even when he was a flaming fireball.
Jason said they did create test fire shots, which we were able to watch on screen because they needed to prove they could create the original look in case Brad didn’t want it too different. When he met with the art director, Ralph Eggleston they decided that Jack-Jack would be the source of the fire, but he would not be on fire.
- No smoke or embers coming off Jack-Jack
- Didn’t want it to be scary – none of those scary doll-like things you see in some movies
- When Jack-Jack is burning, they didn’t want it to look like he’s on fire
- Tested firestarter cubes that gave them small-scale flames, but while interesting didn’t feel right for the look they were going for
- They tested again and got the idea for glowing eyes. They didn’t like the results of the test but did like the look of the eyes.
- Another test gave Jack-Jack a different color for his skin. Although the test was in the right direction it made Jack-Jack look like a “red-devil baby”
- They did like the flow of fire over his body in one test.
With these tests, everyone could look at the same image and decide what worked and what didn’t.
- Flames moving over Jack-Jack’s skin
- Glowing Eyes
- Modified surface of Jack-Jack’s body with a change in appearance
- “Different things burn at different temperatures – we knew we wanted to keep it in the realm of oranges. But we knew we didn’t want his body clean like a cutout from the fire. We liked the idea of fire simulation just over his body so that we could control the look of to affect the appearance of his skin.”
“It’s good to explore all options even if they seem all wrong in concept.” – Jason
Wait until you see the raccoon fight sequence! Jack-Jack gets to use a few of his powers, including the fire effect and it’s so funny.
Effects Supervisor, Bill Watral
Effects Supervisor, Bill Watral says that Jack-Jack has 6 or 7 powers and “there wasn’t anything that they brought us that we couldn’t do.”
“It’s really important that this be funny and not scary because Jack-Jack is a beloved character.”
Let’s see how many powers I can name.
- We’ve seen the cookie clip (above) where Jack-Jack goes to another dimension but can still hear what’s going on at home.
- The laser eyes as seen below. I can’t wait to see those in action.
- Jack-Jack can multiply himself (seen below). I think some of us would like that power.
- Jack-Jack can turn into this devil child in a onesie, as seen in the image below. I love that even as the devil baby he still has the same hair shape.
- Let’s not forget the fire-effect that we learned about earlier.
- Jack-Jack can walk through walls, or sliding glass doors, as the case may be.
- They mentioned a goo-effect where Jack-Jack was like a gum or honey-like substance, but I don’t know if that made it to the final film.
What do you think? Jack-Jack is like this kick-butt baby and I think I’m even more in love with him than I was in INCREDIBLES. He’s just so stinking cute and adorable, but can do all these fun things! I want to see how it all plays out in INCREDIBLES 2.
Now that INCREDIBLES 2 is in theaters, I’m taking the family to the movies this morning to see it. We did watch the first 22 minutes while at Pixar Animation Studios in April but didn’t get to see the whole film at that time. What I did see what hilarious and I’ve been looking forward to seeing it on the big screen with the family.
INCREDIBLES 2 Activity Sheets and Coloring Pages [Printables]