As many know animation has been in childrens and young adults lives for years , many companies creating their art and showing it to the world.By now 3D animation has been used for many films and shorts but the titans of the industry are Pixar easilly going hand in hand with Disney who only not long ago started working on 3D movies.
MONSTER INC/Short “Mike’s New Car”
First off movie and short from Monster Inc made by Pixar around 2001/2002, many programs used and improvement has been seen for Pixars animations for future projects.
As the creative process begins nothing can be done without starting sketches or storyboards , for that artists in most cases use Adobe Photoshop along with tradicional art (pencil sketches ,quick notes and etc.) The software itself has been around for years and as it may not be primarily for drawing it is useful to know how to use photoshop efficiently. As storyboards/sketches of characters/enviorment are produced begins the 3D mesh modeling process.(Also at times sculptures of concepts of characters are made to possibly help the mesh artist to get a better grip on the proportions of the character)
One of many home-built programs that Pixar has made is called Fizt(Physical tool). Fizt is a program that was developed by David Baraff and Andy Witkin from Pixar animations studios to speed up the process the production of special effects around scenes and make the effects used to appear more realistic, incorporated physics and the ability to control the behavior of mesh objects in the virtual animation.One of the uses for this program was used to simulate physics around the millions of hairs around some of the monsters bodies and reduce the time of creation process for such a task.As before this kind of things were hard or close to impossible to recreate because of the time would be spent while animating batches of hair on top of the characters movement and increasing the render time for the final processes.
Another add-on for the program is that Pixar as of the creation of the software were able to animate all types of clothing , fur and other materials of their choosing without incorporating animators having to manually animate every little detail and decrease the time used for animating , speeding up the production time in the process.
Second program that is mainly used to make models with is Autodesk Maya. This program is widely used among Pixar employees and other game developers or animators. As this program was released since 1998 Pixar has most likely used this program ever since then to make at least basic models for their animators to work on while higher quality meshes are later made and added into the final product.Many movies have been made with Maya for example “The Matrix” , “Final Fantasy:The Spirit Within” , Pixar , Disney and Dreamwork movie names are also in the list as it proves that the program has been quickly added to every animators and creators list of programs to know. Program itself is able to do more than mesh high or low poly models but also to sculpt organic models (nurbs), texture , animate, create UV mapping and so on.Rigging and animations are done in a in-house built software called Marionette or Menv.
Renderman & Presto
Presto is one of the softwares that are complimentary and compatible with Maya and is responsible for things like scene layouts, rigging, physics and animations. The interface itself looks somewhat similar to Maya itself or 3DSMax but is simplified that the artist would not be cluttered with information or panels that are not needed to whatever they are working on at the time.Animation wise the software allows the animators to have multiples of points and joints to easily move in real-time, tinkering with small details just to give that individuality for each character and their set of movements.
Open SubDiv – Maya shortcut to being able to make weirdly figured faces of mesh to lower the topology on a mesh , lower the render weight and the polygons used . The program itself was made as Pixars leads and Microsoft worked together trying to make Maya Autodesk a standart in the industry by showing people easier ways to work with Maya.
Pixar’s RenderMan is the premier professional rendering software used by talented creators and studios large and small, to generate the photorealistic visuals used in most visual effects and animated movies including all of Pixar’s films. For a more detailed overview of the features in the latest RenderMan 21.
The actual process of making an animation of movie for pixar starts off with creating a concept would it be characters or story and then presenting it to the team. A lot of time is put into developing the story in the form of a text treatment and can take some time, after that is settled and the writers team and so on have a plot and script concept art is created to fit the story .
Drawings upon drawings created by multiples of artist , different concepts of one character, areas where it would be placed would it be a make up place or something taken from real life (Like in Big Hero 6 where Tokyo and San Francisco were merged into making the city where the main story happened).
With the script either in the works during concept art or already done voice actors do a loose read of the lines for the characters that animators would be able to use for accurate lip movement or express maybe the situation better (would it be a serious scene or a funny/goofy part).
Later on in the process moodpboard like concept is created to better represent the colour palette for certain scenes or how the areas where everything is set looks like, it later on help 3D modellers to portray the wished concept art but in 3D.
Along with creating the buildings/extra assets models are made, low polygon versions would be used for animators to get the real-time frames and get a rough idea of the characters are meant to move before moving on to complex models for the finished product. Depending on the model different things could be added to the more detailed models (like Fitz that Pixar used to add hair to characters and also lessening the render time and applying physics to them that the animators would not animate the hairs separately).
Most scenes were mainly hand animated by the animators with simplified scenes with basic colours that the animators during this process could easily orientate where the characters are and what do they need to do as they follow through the storyboards and script.Once the animations are good enough special effects, lighting, shading, textures, hair and so on are added and then the final project is rendered most likely in pieces or scenes because even with the software where render times are decreased it still may a long time for a whole movie for example to render out.