New Braunfels native helped bring new Pixar animated movie Inside Out 2 to life

Jacob Brooks, who grew up in the San Antonio area, also worked on Ratatouille, Toy Story 3 and Monster's University.

click to enlarge New Braunfels native Jacob Brooks, a supervising technical director at Pixar Animation Studios, worked on Inside Out 2, among other films. - Courtesy Photo / Pixar Animation Studios
Courtesy Photo / Pixar Animation Studios
New Braunfels native Jacob Brooks, a supervising technical director at Pixar Animation Studios, worked on Inside Out 2, among other films.
New Braunfels native Jacob Brooks lets his 12- and 14-year-old sons know that back when he was a kid,  cartoons weren’t as easily accessible as they are today. Like anyone born before 1990, Brooks, who's a supervising technical director at Pixar Animation Studios, had to wait until Saturday mornings or after school to watch animated TV shows.

“We had to have so much patience back then,” Brooks, 44, told the Current during a recent interview. “Now, [kids] just press a button. They have the world at their fingertips.”

Brooks, who graduated from New Braunfels High School in 1998, started as an intern at Pixar after earning degrees in computer science and visualization science from Texas A&M University in College Station. The first project he worked on was the 2007 Oscar-winning film Ratatouille. Over the past 20 or so years, Brooks has had a hand in making other movies includingToy Story 3, The Incredibles 2, Monster’s University andInside Out.

For Inside Out 2, Brooks serves as the tailoring and simulation supervisor in the visual effects department. That means he is part of the team that creates the clothing and the hair of the characters and makes those elements move.

“We take [the characters] out of the naked zone,” Brooks said. “We're essentially in control of the motion of all the supporting things that go around the animation of the characters.”

Inside Out 2 follows the original film's characters — Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust — as they enter the teen years of their girl Riley, whose emotions they control. Entering puberty, of course, comes with new emotions, which are introduced as the characters Anxiety, Envy, Ennui and Embarrassment.

Brooks worked with designers to uphold some of the legacy wardrobe of the original characters and come up with fresh looks for the new ones. Those included the lavender-colored hoodie Embarrassment wears and the frizzled hair of Anxiety, who Brooks said was meant to have the look and feel of a Muppet.

“[Anxiety’s hair] was probably our biggest challenge,” Brooks said. “Our department really ran with that project. We were squashing, stretching, shifting and scrambling her hair in order to support the animation. We call it hair emoting.”

Brooks said he hopes moviegoers of all ages “feel like they’re with old friends” when they see Inside Out 2. The sequel premieres at theaters nationwide on June 14, 2024.

“I hope they feel like they're on a journey that continues to explore a world that they already know and love,” he said. “I hope [the film] teaches them something new – something that's maybe even more complex as we get older.”

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