Pixar Goes on a Dinosaur Hunting Field Trip

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Earlier today we posted a speculative scoop, a screen-grab from B-roll footage for Pixar’s Up that accidentally showed concept art of a boy and a dinosaur in the background of sculptor Greg Dykstra‘s office (see the left side of the zoomed in photo above). We were unsure if this art is part of an upcoming unannounced Pixar short of feature film. It certainly didn’t look like anything that would fit into the few announced features that the animation studio is currently developing. Pixar story supervisor Ronnie del Carmen responded to a tweet asking about the art on Twitter , confirming that he knows what the art is from, commenting that it has “nothing to do with anything Toy Story,” but would not reveal more. We have since learned a little bit more.

Pixar Touch author David A. Price has alerted The Pixar Blog to some interesting postings made by Pixar animator and paleontology buff Austin Madison‘s personal blog earlier this month.

Madison recounts a trip taken by a group of dino enthusiasts to the badlands of South Dakota last month, many (most?) of whom were Pixarians. These included a production assistant, Brandon Hyman; a technical artist, Chuck Waite; and an assistant editor, Zack Keller.

Sculptor Greg Dykstra was also on the trip. As any of you who follow Pixar’s development process probably know, the companies’ artists usually takes research field trips while developing new films. For Ratatouille, they took a trip to Paris to study the city and eat in some of the fine restaurants. For Up, they took a trip to South America to study the the strange wilderness of the region. And it certainly looks like Pixar is doing some research on dinosaurs, and the concept art of Dykstra’s wall is actually part of this upcoming project.

TPB speculates that Dykstra is directing (which makes the most sense out of the list of named mentioned). If true, this would mean that the film is a short film, and not a feature, as Dykstra has not directed before. Pixar uses their short films as a training ground for potential future feature directors. For example, sound designer Gary Rydstrom directed the short Lifted (which played in front of Ratatouille), and is now at the helm of his first feature, Pixar’s 2012 film newt.

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