When you think about the amount of research that goes into making an animated film, it’s no wonder that they take years to create. When I was in LA a few months back, I had the opportunity to speak with some of the folks involved in the research of Planes: Fire & Rescue and got a better understanding of the entire process.
Piston Peak National Park is a fictional combination of Yosemite National Park and Yellowstone National Park and is the handy work of Toby Wilson, Art Director for Planes: Fire & Rescue. He was tasked with the heavy load of creating Piston Peak National Park from the ground up.
Toby wanted to make Piston Peak National Park as real as possible so he visited both, Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks where he experienced the sounds, sights and even smells of a park. To make an animated film as real as possible, he knew that he would have to experience it to be able to translate it to film.
As I’m sure you can imagine, thousands of photographs were taken and many hours of interviews were conducted in order for Toby to absorb everything he could to draw a setting, where a story could be told authentically as possible.
So many of the details you find in the movie can be attributed to things he learned and saw during his research. Grand Fusel Lodge, where most of the film is set, is actually made to resemble Old Faithful Inn. One particular element that should be noted is the exterior sprinkler system, which is used to soak the building in case of a wildfire.
And a park just isn’t a park without trees. There are 2.5 million pine trees in Piston Peak National Park, all of which had to be drawn and placed strategically amongst the other elements of the film to create a cohesive and natural look. The foliage that was used was chosen because it is indigenous to the pacific northwest. If you look really carefully, you may even notice the spark plug pine cones.
Planes: Fire & Rescue has a very utilitarian feel to it and if I’m not mistaken, may be the beginning to a new franchise. Trains, maybe?
You can find all my Planes: Fire & Rescue coverage here:
- Julie Bowen interview
- Me as the voice of Dipper
- Drawing Dipper
- Bobs Gannaway and Ferrell Barron interview
- 10 Facts about Planes: Fire & Rescue
- Planes: Fire & Rescue Movie Review
Have you seen Planes: Fire & Rescue yet?