Pixar pictures usually have a lot of thought that goes into their story that has led to much tinkering and reworking. This means that before any of the final animation is completed, there’s a whole lot of planning involved. And on a story level, storyboarding is one of the most crucial for defining the actions of the characters and the general look of the world. Rough drawings are assembled into an animatic to create a sense of timing with sketched keyframes. It’s a filmmaking process that reminds us even computer animation starts from drawing in 2D
Disney usually reserves a look behind the scenes for the inevitable home video release or as a later extra, considering Disney+ just got around to showcasing an extensive documentary series on the production of Frozen 2. But since Soul didn’t debut in theaters for 2020, only making its debut on Disney+, Disney has graciously released some early storyboard comparison reels for the curious and aspiring animators and filmmakers.
Take a look at just how close the inciting incident of Soul appears in making the transition for 2D storyboards to 3D computer animation:
Notice how the design of Joe changed quite a bit from earlier designs.
Soul is currently playing on the Disney+ streaming service.