The animal locomotion studies of Muybridge weren’t exactly animation; they were one of the very first experiments in moving images, laying the groundwork for generations of videographists to come. In 1893, he famously used the phenakistoscope – an animation device that captured the ‘persistence of vision’ principle in order to depict an illusion of motion – to further his visual studies in the field of animation.Leaving behind the crowd favourite, How to Train Your Dragon 2, by possibly more than a mile, Big Hero 6 took home the Best Animated Feature Film award at the Oscars this year. In this blog we take you behind the scene of this unconventional superhero film & look at what made it a winner at the Academy Awards.
Director duo Chris Williams & Don Hall wanted a whole new kind of robot when they thought of Baymax. The idea was to make a robot unlike any seen on screen before. They wanted his appearance to not only look like a cute, huggable robot but also be one that was original & grounded in scientific logic. For this purpose they visited Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute where they came across a research study called ‘soft robotics’. The non-threatening nature of the inflatable vinyl used in the research led to the creation of Robot Baymax.
Armed with a battalion of 120 crew members including scientists, engineers & technicians, Disney Studios built a physically plausible rendering system called Hyperion, especially for the film. This was a lighting simulation system based on the concept of global illumination.
The directors visualised a very rich & dense world, and wanted a lot of details in the actual environment, and Hyperion proved essential in bringing that to life. According to Andy Hendrickson, the chief technology officer at Disney Studios, the complexity of this film was far above the complexity of earlier Disney productions, such as Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph & Frozen, combined.