Week Four Research and Development

Pixar began its feature film history with the release of Toy Story in 1995. Toy Story was not only their entry film but the first 3D feature length animated movie to be produced and screened commercially. In the 90s, 3D animation existed mostly in the short film format. The Animation field was exploring what exactly could be made with the use of CGI. Pixar was the first to push forward making 3D  feasible as a movie genre.

Pixar’s ability to create its own recognisable style was a very large factor . The style needed to be on par with the current technology as although CGI was feasible it was still at a tentative early stage. Many conventions of modelling have been pioneered by Pixar and it is for this reason the character designs in Toy story can still be admired today.


toystory poster


One should also consider the experiments that were conducted before the development of Toy Story that contributed to the success of the use of various techniques. The Pixar team tried modelling a human like character, which was the baby in the short film “Tin Toy”. This was specifically made to practice for the upcoming feature film Toy Story. It was from this test that Pixar discovered many problems related to what is now referred to as  the uncanny valley effect, a problem where the level of human likeness of a character sits at a point that is uncomfortable for viewers. This was something which was prominent in the final modelling of the baby character in Tin Toy.

Pixar showed that it learnt from this and  the creative decision was made, with the characters in Toy Story designed specifically to appear  stylised and to have a cartoonish simplification.

Toy Story was the first of many triumphs for the Pixar company and is a movie that is not only still entertaining to audiences, but still worth studying within the industry.

Also in relation to Pixar I have found the blog belonging to an animator, Carlos Baena; who has worked on such Pixar films such as Ratatouille, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Many of the Pixar movies inspire me however The Incredibles is very high on my list of favourite movies. Carlos Baena worked on the animation of Mr Incredible in one of the action sequences in the film, specifically the initial fight sequence between Mr incredible and the Omni Droid, and the opening scene to the movie (both pictured below).


omnidroid fight

opening scene incredibles



Carlos Baena’s Personal Blog:




Shepherd, J. (2015, November 22). Toy story turns 20 years old: A brief history of the Pixar classic. The Independent – News. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/toy-story-turns-20-years-old-a-brief-history-of-the-pixar-classic-a6744036.html

Pixar, 2012. (1986). Pixar. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.pixar.com/about/Our-Story

Nevius, C. W. (2005, August 23). Pixar tells story behind ‘toy story’. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Pixar-tells-story-behind-Toy-Story-2614947.php

CGW: Feature: Toy story: A triumph of animation (08.95). (1998). Retrieved March 14, 2016, from https://design.osu.edu/carlson/history/tree/related%20materials/08stry1.html

Disney. The uncanny valley and CGI – the challenge of creating realistic humans. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://simplymaya.com/articles/uncanny-valley/uncanny-valley.mhtml


TOY STORY poster. (1995). Retrieved 14 March 2016, from http://au.movieposter.com/poster/MPW-51901/Toy_Story.html

Disney. (n.d.). The Incredibles official site presented by Disney movies. Retrieved 21 March 2016, from http://movies.disney.com/the-incredibles

CRAP MY KIDS WATCH: ‘The Incredibles’ – is syndrome really that bad? (n.d.). Retrieved 21 March 2016, from http://www.crapmykidswatch.com/2012/08/the-incredibles.html

Week Three Research and Development

Lighting is the step whereby light is added to a scene and may be emulation of the sun, or perhaps duplicating artificial lights. The desired effect is achieved with various angles, sources and types of light. If this stage is not executed correctly then the final product will be greatly diminished as the texture of a model will be affected, as well as the realism or the atmosphere.

Rendering follows lighting and is the process by which the model and scene, after careful preparation, is processed by software to produce output files. It is important leading to this stage in the pipeline that every element has been setup correctly, the same way a scene is set in photography.


assassins creed render


There is also a parallel to photography in the way a camera is inserted into the scene, to determine what will be seen and how it is intended to be seen.
Many software options and rendering advancements are also a consideration during this stage in the pipeline.

The final stage, compositing, is the time for editing and combining together. This is when everything that has been made will now be polished by making creative choices regarding the rendered animation.


Different sections of rendered animations are essentially layered and a compositor will ensure that the same style and the same vision is seen throughout. Apart from piecing things together to make a whole, consistency is key.

By the time a pipeline has reached the stage of compositing the material which will comprise the final product has already been created and the product can finally be made into what was intended in the pre-production phase of the 3d production pipeline.



D-Animation, 3. (2016). 3D GLOSSARY. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.3d-animation.com.ar/glossary_3d_4.php

Master digital Compositing. (2004). Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.digitaltutors.com/subject/video-and-vfx-compositing-tutorials

Written, & Burton, M. (2015, January 4). Compositing artist – career profile. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.animationcareerreview.com/articles/compositing-artist-career-profile
RMIT. (2016). Compositing: Animation and live action – RMIT university. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www1.rmit.edu.au/courses/047445

reserved, A. rights. (n.d.). Arno Dorian in his master assassin outfit. Retrieved 14 March 2016, from https://alt.artstation.com/portfolio/arno-dorian-in-his-master-assassin-outfit

Zeke. (2015). Jobs in animation: Average salaries & career paths. Animation. Retrieved 14 March 2016, from https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/jobs-animation-average-salaries-career-paths/

Week Two Research and Development

After the pre-production and modelling phases of the pipeline, UV mapping is necessary to allow an object to have a correctly positioned or mapped texture. As I understand it, UV mapping is the process of applying a chosen texture to a 3D object.



This requires flattening an object into 2D to accurately apply the texture to each face which makes up the 3D object. Texturing comes into play just after the UV mapping stage and is the time in which the rough textures that have been placed in their positions on a model can be refined until the desired effect is achieved.This involves starting with an approximate of what is wanted and then changing the texture, for example painting over in Photoshop.

The shader works as instructor to the software, telling it how to process colour and effects onto the object. It will also instruct how to deal with the surface features; for example the objects interactions with light as well as texture mapping. Overall the shader is needed to create how the object will appear in its final form.



Rigging and animation are the focus after the model has the appearance and aesthetics that is needed. Rigging can be thought of as the skeleton of a model, it allows the model to have “joints “that help define the movement of the parts of the model, the same way a leg has bones with joints that define how the leg moves and swings.

The next step, the animation stage is when the models are brought to life. Software is utilised to  automate a lot of the work that would traditionally be drawn by hand in 2D animation. The model is essentially articulated and manipulated with the rigging which has been made.



Requests, M. P. H. Rigging (new). Retrieved March 14, 2016, from https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/pixar/pixar-rigging

Amidi, & Articles, M. (2014, April 3). Watch A rare demo of Pixar’s animation system presto. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from Pixar, http://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech/watch-a-rare-demo-of-pixars-animation-system-presto-98099.html

Masters, M. (2014, January 16). 3D Texturing terminology | learning to 3D texture. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from Uncategorized, http://blog.digitaltutors.com/cover-bases-common-3d-texturing-terminology/


Crash, C. (2016). Shiko V1.0 free rig for 3dsMax – free character rigs Downloads for 3dsmax. Retrieved 14 March 2016, from http://www.creativecrash.com/3dsmax/downloads/character-rigs/c/shiko-v1-0-free-rig-for-3dsmax
(n.d.). Retrieved 14 March 2016, from http://static-dc.autodesk.net/content/dam/autodesk/www/products/autodesk-3dsmax/responsive-center/images/featureimages/xref-renovations-large-1152×630.jpg
Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://static-dc.autodesk.net/content/dam/autodesk/www/products/autodesk-3dsmax/responsive-center/images/featureimages/xref-renovations-large-1152×630.jpg


Week One Research and Development

Pre-production is the planning stage before production begins. It is the time where creative ideas are developed properly and a plan or design is made to follow. This helps to ensure that the rest of the production goes smoothly with a goal to work towards, not a project which has to be determined during the process of production.

Often the pre-production will start with concepts for various elements such as characters and the general aesthetic of the animation. In a nutshell, pre-production essentially sets out the guidelines for the creative process.




Modelling is the next step in the pipeline of production and is the step when creation of the models used in the animation, the assets are created. This is the first step in which elements that are used in the final animations enter 3d.Translating sketches and ideas into 3d is what entails the modelling component of the pipeline.

There are two types of models that are made during the production phase, the hard surface models and organics models. The approach to each is very different and people will often specialise in one or the other to help the efficiency of the production pipeline.



The line between hard surface and organic modelling is blurred if one is to read many industry definitions however an easy way to see the two is manmade and organic life. It is useful to note that leeway in the preciseness of a model is created by a later stage in the pipeline, texturing. knowing this allows for better time allocation from one step to another.



Masters, M. (2015, June 16). Differences between hard surface and organic modeling?. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from Uncategorized, http://blog.digitaltutors.com/whats-the-difference-between-hard-surface-and-organic-models/

University of Colorado Denver digital design program. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.designucd.com/courses/motion-i/pre-production/

Lemz. (2013, October 5). Video games, film, what’s the difference? It’s still 3D modeling right?. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/news/2013/03/video-games-film-whats-the-difference-its-still-3d-modeling-right/

Vaughan, W. (2012, February 14). Peachpit. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1825166&seqNum=2


jason. (2013). Despicable me 2 character and concept art. 2d Digital Art. Retrieved 14 March 2016, from http://www.cgmeetup.net/home/art/despicable-me-2-character-and-concept-art/

* N. (2010). Wireframe. Retrieved 14 March 2016, from https://jamie3d.com/ducati-desmosedici-rr-3d-model/vqdhkt7_2007_desmo-rr_wire0001

How can I make my 3DS model’s mesh visible inside and out in unity 3D? (2013). Retrieved 14 March 2016, from http://answers.unity3d.com/questions/533017/how-can-i-make-my-3ds-models-mesh-visible-inside-a.html

Latest works. (2009). Retrieved 14 March 2016, from http://www.tsumea.com/journal/theone26/011209/tauren-hunter-model