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Disney Pixar’s "Inside Out" animator Dan Holland spoke to the Penn and Drexel student bodies on Friday.

Credit: Tiffany Yau

With the help of animator Dan Holland, Pixar is ready to introduce the little voices in people’s heads.

On April 17, Disney Pixar’s “Inside Out” animator Dan Holland spoke to the Penn and Drexel student bodies, presenting them with an overview of the film’s storyline, his contributions and challenges he faced in creating the animation of this major animated movie.

Holland has previously worked on several Pixar animations, including “The Incredibles,” “Wall-E,” “Toy Story 3,” “Cars 2” and “Up.” He has also played a major role in creating “The Incredibles’” short, “Jack-Jack Attack,” and on commercials for Tokyo Disneyland’s Buzz Lightyear ride.

As an animator for “Inside Out,” Holland worked with the production and set designer to construct 11-year-old Riley Anderson’s mind, which includes her primary emotions — Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness — and even segments such as her imaginary boyfriend generator.

The film explores how these parts of her subconscious lead and guide young Riley through struggling to adjust to her new life after her father starts working in San Francisco.

Holland explained the process and significance of giving these emotions life.

“The major factor was to make them reflect the way those words feel,” he said. “For instance, what does ‘Joy’ look and feel like to most people? How can you design a character so that anyone in the world will know what emotion it is when they see it? That’s the biggest consideration: readability and entertainment value.”

He and his team conferred with several psychologists and other specialists to generate the most accurate and best visual depiction to complement the story and its overarching theme “that all of our emotions are important; sadness is just as important as joy.”

“We explored how the brain worked, and it felt like what we created is very similar to what we were told; no one really knows how it works, and people have such different opinions,” Holland said.

With his and his team’s creativity, they were able to construct the human consciousness in “Inside Out.” Holland also explained his opinion on animation’s potential to overtake real-world film.

“The worlds are beginning to collide that there are so many digital effects that they’re almost 50 percent animation,” he said.

Additionally, Holland elaborated on the highlights of his work as an animator.

“The highlight for me is seeing my part go all the way through: when someone hands me a problem and me being able to solve it in the most entertaining way possible. Problem solving and coming up with something that I’ve never even considered beforehand.”

Holland has experienced years of hard work to become as successful as he is as an animator for Pixar. He offered words of wisdom to inspire individuals interested in the film and animation industry.

“Find what you are passionate about and mine that passion,” he said. “Use that to supply you with the inspiration for your work. Do the thing you want to do and what you care about. Be an artist first, then work at a place second.”

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