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  • Vinayak Khithani

Idea #77 - How Pixar's Animation Became Progressively Realistic

Today we watched how Pixar’s movement animation became so realistic over the decades; the studio’s journey from a mere 596 avars (animated variables) for Woody’s movements 26 years ago to over 7,000 avars for the same character by 2019.

Pixar’s character movement starts from the rigging and modelling department. In its earlier days, Pixar employed Geppetto, which was later updated to Presto, a software which allowed animators to reuse and adapt rigs for multiple characters, immensely speeding up the process of animation.

The more the avars the more nuanced is the character’s movement, bringing the character a little more to life with every muscle and every connecting tendon. While Toy Story 2 made it possible for the team to adapt and reuse the rigs, the animators behind Finding Nemo learned how to show emotions in fishes despite a lack of eyebrows; the animators behind The Incredibles learned how to highlight the slightest muscle movements and the team behind Ratatouille improvised and exaggerated human emotions with the advancing technology.

Each Pixar movie has brought with it a breakthrough that has paved the way for the movies to come, and without these breakthroughs, we would have never been blessed with Miguel playing the guitar or Joe Gardner on the piano!

Written by: Arya Kastwar

Curated by: Shweta Singh

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