All About Hank the Octopus

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This post about Hank the Octopus from Finding Dory is part of a series about my experiences during the Finding Dory Press Event. This was an all expense paid trip, but my reactions to the experiences and opinions are my own.

Hank the Octopus

FINDING DORY – Hank Design Concept Art by Production Designer Steve Pilcher. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s be honest, Octopus are wicked cool. If you’ve seen the trailers for Finding Dory (and if you haven’t, um WHAT?) you know that there is a cantankerous, yet lovable, octopus whose name is Hank who befriends Dory in her journey to find her parents.

I learned how Hank the Octopus was created from initial character design to being animated to his final look in the film with Supervising Technical Director John Halstead, Character Art Director Jason Deamer, Supervising Animator Mike Stocker and Characters Supervisor Jeremie Talbot

First there was learning to draw Hank. Learning how to mimic octopuses. Octopuses can match pattern, color, brightness and texture. Jason talked to us about looking for fun design things that hadn’t been done before.

Jason Deamer

Character Designer Jason Deamer is photographed on February 3, 2016 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

There was a trick to figuring out where Hanks mouth was. Technically he doesn’t really have one. This means that the triangle between eyes and where his mouth is supposed to be is where acting happens. Most of his acting and expression is in his eyes.

Hank's Design

FINDING DORY – Hank Design (Concept Art) by Character Designer Jason Deamer. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Then there was deciding on Hank’s color. Creating his texture and how light interacts with him, or when it doesn’t, because he is camouflaged.

In order to make Hank seem real, they looked at real life octopus in motion. The result was Hank had an organic feel because he was modeled after his real life brothers and sisters. Locomotion was a challenge, and that changed in and out of the water. Showing him swimming was tough too, getting all the details just right.

The final result for Hank? Pure Disney/Pixar brilliance. I saw him for just a snippet when we saw a sneak peek of the film, and I adored him. I hope you enjoy him as much as I do.

Hank the Octopus with Dory

FINDING DORY – Pipe Nexus (Concept Art) by Artist Rona Liu. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Learning about how Hank the Octopus came to life was definitely cool. But I also had the opportunity to meet an octopus in person. I’m not talking about seeing one in a tank, but actually getting a behind the scenes, hands on look. It was the craziest experience. Octopus are smart – they have to line the sides of their tanks at the aquarium with astro turf, or the will try to escape! When my friends Jana, Carol and I had our turn visiting the octopus – he used US to try and escape. They are so clever and sneaky!

The lovely Carol Jones of "All Mommy Wants" has some hands on Octopus experience.

The lovely Carol Jones of “All Mommy Wants” has some hands on Octopus experience.

You’ll meet Hank and the rest of the crew when Finding Dory swims into theaters on June 17th. Until then, here’s the latest trailer to tide you over.

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About Kerri Jablonski

Kerri Jablonski AKA The Maven lives in Seattle,WA with her 3 kids (2008, 2010, 2013), husband, cat and backyard chickens. Two of her children have special needs. Kerri enjoys cooking, travel, movies and spending time with her family.

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