The interesting thing about this is that I think it’s not about everything moving more photoreal. I think what everyone was amazed at about this short, what John Lasseter and Ed Catmull were excited about was to break open what animation could look like. It could look way more photoreal, but it could also look way more painterly. Just to get rid of this conception we have, of how CG animated features look. Breaking new ground in that territory.
Ultimately, it’s always about what fits the story. That was what I mentioned earlier. First there was the story, and then it, was, “Okay. What is the style? What is the look we can best tell it with?” Because there are no technical limitations anymore. You can make it look however you want it to look.
So this is more evidence of the return they're getting on the Global Illumination System, and it looks beautiful. I'm even more excited though by how they're freeing themselves from the limitations of the technology, and from the hegemony of style. The Blue Umbrella looks like nothing Pixar's attempted before, but the importance of emotion and narrative is undiminished. This is a company determined to reassert its core values, and to remain relevant for decades to come.