Ever since I watched Monster’s Inc. I’ve really had a great respect for what the animators at Pixar do. They amaze me with their ability to do hair and make it look real and just spectacular. It’s more than just drawing now it’s physics and computers with fine hand tuning.
it is physics, it is a bunch of equations, one of the variables is time. So we can basically tell the physics simulator time is now not what you think real life is….
This is part two of an interview with Claudia Chung where she goes into great detail describing how they do the hair in the movie Brave, and it’s not just Merida’s hair, there is hair all over this movie. This is Angus, Merida’s trusty steed. He’s a magnificent animal with hair, fur, a main and tail and whiskers.
How Claudia Describes It:
Angus is actually much more complex. He has eight layers groom but his layers aren’t like Merida’s layers which are layered on top of each other. His layers are the different types of hair he has on him. He has his tail, his mane, his fetlocks, he has belly fur and he has chin fur and they all have to move.
He also has whiskers. Fortunately whiskers are pretty stiff so we didn’t have to make those move. But all these things are hand placed. Take a look at what he looks like to groomer. We have this image. There’s a hundred and eleven thousand curves that are hand placed on him. Those grow out to about one point eight million curves to make up his full groom.
Now Merida and her Curls maybe not as complex as Angus but still a lot of work.
Ideas come from sketches
Models and real hair help them figure out how hair reacts in the wind, with movement and how it should lay.
The curls themselves are really tightly wound curls but the movement of her overall curl is nice and soft. And there’s also these hairs that break away from her silhouette to show her wildness, her adventureness. And that’s kind of the key look for Merida’s hair that we had to hit when we designed her. So, as a groomer, this is what I would see in the computer. This is what I would work with, Merida kind of standing there. I would take her scalp and basically grow curls off of her head and detail exactly how those curls grow.
The groomer who actually worked on Merida developed a new technique because she wondered, "How do I get these curls that look the way the art director wants?" … "I really need a curling iron." So she actually built in the computer a curling iron where she could change the sizes of the cylinder, the length and stuff, so she could curl the curves around that. That was really what she had to do to actually produce these curls really fast and direct, and have them be art directed.
Merida has fifteen hundred hand-placed, sculpted curves. That’s a lot of time in the wig-making process. Notice the different colors ? All of these different colors actually represent different layers of her hair, kind of like you would in Photoshop.
So each layer is a different kind of curl size, different length, different stiffness. Some of the bigger curls might be stiffer and what you can see then is as they layer together they create the final look of Merida’s hair. There is a fill hair, kind of like the soft, fuzzy, hairs that you guys have, that’s that like first level, in the end it’s a hundred and eleven thousand curves that get rendered on her head.
Brave comes to theaters June 22 2012.
Disney Pixar covered travel and expenses.