3D Animation – Pixar Shorts

3D Pixar animated movies are created using the software RenderMan, unlike other companies which might use Maya or Cinema 4D. They have Been using this technology for over 25 years and is used to this day. And in their animations, they commonly use forward kinematics (FK) and inverse kinematics (IK). Forward kinematics are when the robot generates the co-ordiates of the end-factor from the joints and parameters. Inverse Kinematics are the opposite of FK. IK is when the joints are obtained by given co-ordinates.

In the animation business, there are many different jobs and each process can take a long time to execute.

there are three main stages in creating an animation, Pre-production, Production and Post-production. This can lead to many jobs in animation, including; Script writing, Storyboarding, creating an animatic, character design, background design, texturing, lighting, modelling, visual effects, and more.

It is important to render due to the final compositing being detailed and it will give the final product higher quality. Rendering can take hours, due to the films frames being transferred into single images, thats why companies like pixar use render farms. This is when instead of having a single computer/laptop render each image and take hours to complete, the render farm consists of many computer which can organise and complete each image and effectively reduce the time it takes to render the entire film.

Pixar also created the software known as Renderman to render animation and visual effects. This software is compatible with maya and makes it easier when rendering the different scenes and characters. It can also mimic real life cameras and access features such as motion blur and adapt the depth of field.

One man band

It starts with a man, stacked with instruments, who is waiting for people to pass by him and tip him. However no one is around with him. That is until he sees a small girl going to put money in a fountain in the piazza. He gains her attention and performs for her, however, before she gives him the money, a violinist comes along with the same goal to get the money. They appear to battle each other with their music and instruments to determine who is better and who deserves the girls money more, unaware that they are scaring the girl and she drops the single coin she has down the drain. Angry, the little girl demands one of the percussionist’s violins and starts to play and receives a bag full of coins she then proceeds to tease the men with money before throwing 2 coins, that she was tempting them with, into the top of the fountain. They then spend hours, as shown by day turning to night, trying (and failing) to get the coins but end up falling over due to treble balancing on bass.

The short film was most likely built in Maya and rendered using Renderman seeing as  RenderMan can be used out-of-box  with Autodesk Maya.When building the characters, using a multitude of polygons and nurbs, they would of used skeleton joints which help control the characters and handles which are used to control the animation. And to change the geometry of an objects they would have adjusted the surfaces and.The short film was made using a 38 piece orchestra as well a solo parts. This suggests that software such as Audition might have been used to adjust the sound levels of the instruments and then might have been loaded into Adobe Premier Pro to align the sound output with the animation footage.

Luxo Jr

The story, by John Lassater, is two lamps playing with a ball, Luxo Jr deflates the ball and then brings another, considerably larger, ball into the scene.

The Inspiration for this was based on a child and how they act and play. John Lassater once saw and played with a boy when Tom Porter brought his son in to work for the day, and he was intrigued by how the head of a child is bigger than the body. He then thought about how it would look if his Luxo lamp was a child, so he changed the dimensions of the lamp and Luxo Jr came into existence. The Luxo Jr gives off the impression that it is a child due to the size and proportions and how it behaves, jumping around the scene and messing about. Luxo also gives off the impression of an adult due to the shaking of the lamp head, chiding Luxo Jr for being reckless and energetic.

Lassater created a storyboard for how the animation was going to look.


Concept art was also created for this animation


After this, Wireframes were then built for the Characters. Using the wireframe models, they then did a test to see how it would look once animated.

After this, the models are built, textures are placed on the objects, and the camera angle is set. For Luxo Jr there is only one camera angle which displays the entire animation. The animation would of then been rendered using Renderman to give it the high definition that it shows.

By researching these animations, created by Pixar, I now know the different processes there are in 3D animation. Ive learned the different fps settings different companies might use (Film-24fps, UK PAL-25fps, US-29.7/30fps).