Effects Artist Jason Johnston on the process behind Jack Jack’s powers:
“We met with the Art Director, Ralph Eggleston, and he was very specific in that Jack-Jack is the source of the fire, he’s not on fire,” Johnston added. “And what that means is that there’ll be no smoke and no embers ever coming off of him, but things that he has lit on fire can have them.”
Another crucial element: “We also don’t want it to be scary.”
This is a fascinating look at the incredible (forgive me) attention to detail these artists put into a special effect that many of us took for granted on first viewing. Even if you recently rewatched the first Incredibles, which came out 14 years ago, you probably didn’t notice that much of a difference between the effects and character models of 2004 to this new sequel, which evolves just about everything.
But that’s the level of thought you can expect from a Pixar film, where expectations are sky high. It’s one thing to make Jack Jack a thrilling character with unpredictable powers, but it’s another to balance his limitless potential with the fact that he’s still a baby.
Filmmaking is a deep and inspiring art, so it excites me to see Pixar’s creatives continuing to put effort into their special features and “behind the scenes” featurettes like this. The next generation of storytellers will watch and learn from these problem-solving anecdotes, spurring young fans into making animated films of their own someday.
For now, here’s a special clip from Incredibles 2 released in anticipation of the upcoming digital and Blu-Ray release, where you can relive Jack Jack’s close encounter with an unfortunate raccoon. It’s still a blast.