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Meet Hank- the Reluctant Superhero of Finding Dory

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Meet Hank, an animated red octopus with a weary expression.

One of my favorite things about sequels is the fact that we get to enjoy our favorite characters but also get introduced to so many new characters that i'm sure we will learn to immediately love. If you have watched the new trailers for Finding Dory, we have been introduced to so many really fun characters. I had the opportunity to see the beginning of the movie and see some of the new characters in action so I am eagerly looking forward to watching the whole movie and really getting to know them.

Meet Hank, an animated octopus looking surprised while a blue and yellow fish swims in a tank in the background.

One of the characters that I was instantly drawn to was the character of Hank. Hank isn't your typical Octopus because he actually a Septopus! That is one thing that makes him so perfect for the Finding Dory film. You'll love his character in this movie and i'm so excited to see more of him. While we were in Monterey, we were able to interview creatives from the film and they shared with us their experiences in bringing the character of Hank to life. We were able to interview Supervising Technical Director John Halstead, Character Art Director Jason Deamer, Supervising Animator Mike Stocker and Characters Supervisor Jeremie Talbot.

A presenter giving a lecture and pointing to a slide with an illustration of Hank the octopus.

Jeremie Talbot (Characters Supervisor) presents at the Finding Dory Long Lead press day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Here are some fun facts about the character of Hank in Finding Dory.

  • When you are asked to design a character you start by doing a lot of research. It is important to look to nature and see how it moves in its natural environment. They need to see the colors and pattern and learn how to draw it. Research helps them to learn what their character can and can't do. In making Hank, they needed to learn how an Octopus moves so they could put it on screen.
  • To really get a feel of how an octopus moves, they held it, felt it and saw first how how it works. They mentioned the importance of always starting with nature and then learning how to mimic that behavior on screen.

    A presenter speaking at a conference with a slideshow of octopus images, including Meet Hank, projected in the background.

    Jason Deamer (Character Art Director) presents at the Finding Dory Long Lead press day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

  • In making Finding Dory, it took 2 years to make Hank from start to finish.
  • The tentacles were modeled separately from the body, but when they tried to attach them, only seven would fit. Filmmakers later decided that it made sense that Hank would have an affliction, so they worked it into the script.
  • Designers gave Hank 50 suckers per arm for a total of 350 suckers.
  • One challenge that they come across with Hank was to learn how to camouflage him. This is a big part of the movie so they did a lot of tests in learning how to do it right.
  • There are scenes in the movie where Hanks mouth isn't seen when he is talking so they had to learn how to really animate his eyes well so he could talk with his eyes.

    Meet Hank, a man working on color grading a video on a computer workstation at night.

    Michael Stocker is photographing working in his office on March 3, 2016 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

  • An important part of movement with an Octopus is the ground contact. With an Octopus having suckers, they needed to learn how to communicate grip as Hank moves. This grips helps it to feel as realistic as possible. It is important to make the character believable on screen.
  • Kaa from the animated movie “The Jungle Book” was a great starting point for the movement of Hank the Octopus.
  • The choice for Hank's colors were ultimately decided in order to compliment Dory.
  • Physics was used to create the animation of the suction cups on Hank.
  • There is also mixture of mathematics and art that make up Hank!
  • Hank is Andrew Stanton's favorite character in the movie. He loves seeing how he will deal with new situations.

Giant octopus model named Hank suspended above an interactive exhibit space.

My kids have been counting down the days until this movie comes into theaters so we will definitely be in the front of the line to see it. I loved learning about the process of making Hank and his character and look forward to seeing him on screen. Disney/ Pixar always does such an amazing job at creating characters and I am so impressed by the character design and movement of Hank. There is so much work that goes into making each character and it really makes watching the movie extra special when you recognize what it takes going into it.

Two animated sea creatures, an octopus named Hank and a fish with a yellow tag, exploring an underwater environment.

FINDING DORY swims in theatres everywhere on June 17th, 2016!

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