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The Pixar Pipeline
The incredible yet unnoticed happenings
“It takes a tremendous amount of effort to
make something look effortless”
Story & Art
- Initial concept art to convey idea
- Plot, pacing, shot angles all fine tuned at this stage
- All rough sket...
Modeling
- Make sculptures (maquettes) to get feel for characters
- Scan a neutral posed sculpture to convert to 3D model
...
Rigging
- Create a virtual bones + joints structure for a model
- Allow animators to pose character with simple controls
-...
Surfaces
- Apply colors, textures, reflectiveness, sparkly-ness, etc
Sets
- Build out the virtual environments for the scenes
Cameras
- Point imaginary cameras within the scenes
- Replicate real world cameras - angles, focus, etc
Animation
- Using the rigs, move the characters within the scenes to bring them to life
Simulation
- Animate the things that would be hard to do by hand with programming
- Grass in A Bug’s Life, crowds in Cars,...
Lighting
- Apply imaginary light sources within the scenes
- In Inside Out, Joy is made up of particles, each of which is ...
Last Step
- ??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
- Profit
“It’s the small details that the audience
isn’t consciously aware of that sell the
believability”
The Pixar Pipeline
The Pixar Pipeline
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The Pixar Pipeline

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A Learning Night talk by Owen Wang on how a Pixar film goes from conception to the big screen

Published in: Entertainment & Humor
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The Pixar Pipeline

  1. 1. The Pixar Pipeline The incredible yet unnoticed happenings
  2. 2. “It takes a tremendous amount of effort to make something look effortless”
  3. 3. Story & Art - Initial concept art to convey idea - Plot, pacing, shot angles all fine tuned at this stage - All rough sketches with voice overs
  4. 4. Modeling - Make sculptures (maquettes) to get feel for characters - Scan a neutral posed sculpture to convert to 3D model - Turn model into meshes for usability
  5. 5. Rigging - Create a virtual bones + joints structure for a model - Allow animators to pose character with simple controls - Modeling + rigging takes up to 1 year per main character!
  6. 6. Surfaces - Apply colors, textures, reflectiveness, sparkly-ness, etc
  7. 7. Sets - Build out the virtual environments for the scenes
  8. 8. Cameras - Point imaginary cameras within the scenes - Replicate real world cameras - angles, focus, etc
  9. 9. Animation - Using the rigs, move the characters within the scenes to bring them to life
  10. 10. Simulation - Animate the things that would be hard to do by hand with programming - Grass in A Bug’s Life, crowds in Cars, hair in Brave, garbage in Toy Story 3
  11. 11. Lighting - Apply imaginary light sources within the scenes - In Inside Out, Joy is made up of particles, each of which is a light source!
  12. 12. Last Step - ??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? - Profit
  13. 13. “It’s the small details that the audience isn’t consciously aware of that sell the believability”

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