Did you see ‘Lightyear’? Now read about the tech behind it

A number of technical Pixar papers and videos have already been published covering cloth, hair and environment R&D in computer graphics for the film.

Now is a great time to head over to Pixar’s online library of technical publications. It just so happens they have already published papers and talks that will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2022 in Vancouver. Details of these sessions can be found here. Meanwhile, here’s a quick preview of specifically the Lightyear-related papers available at Pixar’s online library (there are decades of papers there from past research, too, so make sure you check those out).

Creating a Planet and Clouds Lightyears Away
Laura Murphy, Joshua Jenny, Michael O’Brien, Colin Thompson

Abstract: For Lightyear, Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear’s exploits take him on a journey around the planet, T’Kani Prime and its neighboring star. In order to create realistic planets as seen from his star ship, we built a new workflow for creating procedural planet terrains and volumetric clouds as seen from space. These techniques needed to produce realistic results but also be highly art directable to help the audience believe Buzz could get to Infinity and Beyond.

Revamping the Cloth Tailoring Pipeline at Pixar
Christine Waggoner, Fernando de Goes

Abstract: This work presents the most recent updates to the cloth tailoring pipeline at Pixar. We start by reviewing the evolution of cloth authoring tools used at Pixar from 2001 to the present day. Motivated by previous approaches, we introduce a structured workflow for cloth tailoring that manages multiple mesh versions concurrently. In our implementation, artists interact primarily with a low-resolution quad-dominant mesh, which defines the garment look as well as setups for rigging and simulation. Our system then converts this coarse input model into a triangulated mesh for simulation and a quadrangulated subdivision surface for rendering. To this end, we developed a new remeshing tool that outputs surface triangulations with adaptive resolution and conforming to edge constraints. We also devised procedural routines to generate render meshes by applying fold-over thickness, refining the mesh, and inserting seams. In addition, we introduced a suite of algorithms for transferring input attributes onto the derived meshes, including UV shells, face colors, crease edges, and vertex weights. Our revamped pipeline was deployed on Pixar’s feature films Turning Red and Lightyear, producing hundreds of high-quality garment meshes.

Space Rangers with Cornrows
Sofya Ogunseitan

Abstract: This presentation is a debrief of the processes and methods added to Pixar’s groom pipeline to create the hairstyles of Lightyear characters Alisha and Izzy Hawthorne. The processes include novel ways of generating braids, curls, braid partitioning hairs (edge hairs), and graphic shapes populated with hair.


Get bonus and early VFX content via a befores & afters Patreon membership

Leave a Reply