The maths used to make Woody and his friends – how Pixar make their animations 🤗🤩❤️

We all love a good Pixar film; Toy Story, UP, Monsters Inc, Inside Out are Brave are some of my favourites😍. But did you know that making these animations needs A LOT of maths? How a character looks, their facial expressions, the way they move, the lighting, colour and textures – they all use maths!!

By starting with just a 4 sided shape and following a simple set of equations to add more lines using the midpoints of these 4 edges (the coordinates of the middle point of each line), the curved surface of Woody’s face is made to look smooth and realistic. This therefore turns a complicated shape (Woody’s unique face) into simply lots of lines that a computer can easily deal with. It is how closely these lines are placed that allows each of the characters we love to have different facial features. To animate Woody’s face, so he can talk for example, the coordinates of just the original 4 points of the shape are translated (moved) to a new position🔹➡️🔹, scaled in size or rotated (this uses trigonometry).

In the film Brave, the maths involved in creating just the behaviour of Meridas long curly hair took Pixar over 6 months!👩‍🦱 Let’s give that explanation a miss for now…


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