This blog post will focus on Pixar Studios and the reason for this is they use lots of modern and old fashion animation software and techniques so they are an interesting group to actually look into. It also helps that they were in the news today as well.
Pixar uses a wide range of technologies for animating their films such as maya which is a 3D software that is used to create models of the various objects from characters to buildings. Maya allows the user to create not only shapes and models but also allows them to animate them in various ways such as manipulating the physics of the environment and adding a skeleton to the objects then artificial muscles to simulate the actual movement of the characters. The software also allows rendering of the characters and objects created within. Although Disney only uses this software to create their characters, the export the shapes and models to another software called Marionette. I would consider using this software but unfortunately it is very expensive for me to actually use at the current moment the software is about £30.00 a month for the basic such as the simple motion skeleton feature for the characters and the £204.00 a month for everything. So while I could actual use the software if I do decide to go down this route of the animation industry, I may not be able to completely benefit from a version that offers the basic features.
Not much is known about Marionette except that it was produced by Disney/Pixar for private use and is not for public sale and that it can be used for recreating the traditional Cel animations as well as it been used to animate modern Pixar films that have been transferred over from Maya since it does a better job at capturing the motions of characters in the correct way and that it is easier to do so then on Maya. The software is then transferred over to Disney’s RenderMan. I will not be able to look into getting this software for my project even if I did consider doing 3D project work since it is for Disney/Pixar use only and they have never released this software to the public.
Disney’s RenderMan is a public animation rendering software that is used to finalise the skins of the environments, objects and the characters and is up for sale to the public. An example of this could is Sully’s fur in Monster Inc and its prequel Monster University, other examples that I could look at are Finding Dory (Her Scales and pattern on them) and Cars (The wind and weeds). I may look into getting a copy of render man if I decide to go toward the 3D aspect of Animation, since it offers some of the best skins and rendering possible in this industry, the software its self comes in two forms, RenderMan 21 that comes with everything that disney uses (The price of this depends on what features you want though) and the second offer is that Students and Educators can get the Non-Commercial version of RenderMan for free.
This Image belongs to Pixar and community.renderman.pixar.com