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Creating the World of San Fransokyo in Big Hero 6

We attended the interview as a guest of Disney

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The world where Hiro and Baymax have their adventures in the film “Big Hero 6” is a magical place called San Fransokyo that is inspired by San Francisco and Tokyo. The world of San Fransokyo is so unique and is one of my favorite things about the film.

They started by making travel posters in the studio to get people who were working on the film excited about the world. They brought on early development artists to work on the visual development, and to help give them a sense of what the city was like and what everyday life was there.

They were excited about the design challenge of having to create an entire city with its own aesthetic visual language. They wanted to create a giant city that has a huge sense of complexity that you could imagine living there.

John Lasseter is always telling filmmakers that when designing a new world, they need to get a strong sense of what the real-life details are. They went to Tokyo and San Francisco to see the details of the city so they would get it right.

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

They first traveled to Japan and emerged themselves into the city to get a sensory feel for the city. “You really have to sense the space. Tokyo has its own sense of organization & design that is very particular to it that we had to make sure we studied it,” said Paul Felix, Production Designer.

They took notes of the smallest details too. What struck them about Japan was the attention to even the smallest details in the city. Every neighborhood had its own special design, and even something as small as utility poles look different in Japan vs. anywhere else in the world.

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The film is “technically” set in San Francisco but with Japan inspiration. When they traveled to San Francisco, they paid special attention to the light in the atmosphere. They wanted the cinematography to reflect the special light of the bay area because that makes it feel like you’ve been transported to a place.

Hiro’s house and a lot of the other buildings were inspired by real houses in San Francisco. They wanted people to feel like “It reminds you of something, but you sense something else in it, but in the end it is its own aesthetics,” said Felix.

There is a fine balance of detail of what they kept from San Francisco and what they made Japan inspired.

Your children will be transported into the this magical world when seeing the film “Big Hero 6” in theaters on November 7th. Learn more about the film on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

 

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