Sunday, June 10, 2012


Not many members of the movie-going audience realise how much science is involved in computer animation. Some animators also don’t know this and even some animation studios have taken a while to understand the need for good, innovative science in CGI.

Pixar does. They have their own Research Group, established in 2004, to develop new, innovative technology and new methods for exporting their characters to other media, such as games and animatronic robots. This group is based on a model of an academic research department and currently has seven “tenured faculty”.

Disney does too. Disney Research was launched in 2008 as an informal network of research labs that collaborate closely with academic institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Z├╝rich (ETH). Research areas include computer graphics/vision, video processing, robotics, human-computer interaction, behavioral sciences.

Animators move characters around the screen with tools provided by scientists; tools like simulated cloth, knitted garments, light models, hairmore hair and this amazing model of human skin.  Any day now, we'll be seeing dead actors starring in new movies.

Where else can you see such a wonderful combination of art and science but in computer animation?