One of the reliable highlights of any Pixar release is the short film that plays in front of each feature. Not only are they invariably sweet, funny, and inventive, they’re often a great way to check out the studio’s rising talents. When Monsters University opens this summer, we’ll be seeing the Pixar directorial debut of technical artist Saschka Unseld, who helmed the six-minute short The Blue Umbrella.

While Pixar has a reputation for innovative, intricate animation, Unseld’s piece pushes into a whole new direction with a startlingly photorealistic look. What hasn’t changed, happily, is the studio’s signature warmth and humor. The plot concerns two umbrellas that take a shining to each other one rainy day. Watch the first clip after the jump.

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