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Pixar animation software part 1

Posted on April 28, 2013  11 Comments
Filed under Animation

This article is the first of a three part series

Pixar animation software part 2

Pixar animation software part 3

Wondering what animation software Pixar uses to bring us magical movies like Monsters inc 2? Wonder no more!

In a latest Open Subdiv demo, Autodesk Meet the experts presentation, Pixar’s engineer lead Dirk Van Gelder lets us have a quick peek at his computer screen so we get to see what Pixar’s Marionette looks like.

If you didn’t know, the software’s 30th iteration of Marionette or Menv (the name comes from the original name, Modeling environment), is now called Presto, as a tribute to Doug Sweetland’s 2008 short film.

Around 18 minutes into the presentation, we can have a good look at the interface and see Monsters University’s character, Dean Hardscrabble, the dean of the School of Scaring faculty, in motion. Here is a screenshot.

Pixar Marionette Menv screenshot

Pixar Marionette

Instead of being displayed in the viewport as we are accustomed to, the controls or Avars (this is how they are called at Pixar) are tucked to the bottom right of the screen and displayed as some sort of advanced channel box or spreadsheet since this is the term used in Animation Language AL, the ancestor of Pixar’s Menv.

An other interesting thing we notice is that Presto runs on Linux and the Gnome environment. This could be surprising when we think that Pixar’s CEO was also Apple’s CEO.

Animator working on Brave

If you want to see Presto in action a little bit more, check out that Guardian’s interview with Toy Story 3’s Animation Supervisor Bobby Podesta : (the video seems to have been pulled out, here is an other one instead)

or that one with Sanjay Patel:

Ah and to finish this post, what a better way than posting Monsters University’s third trailer!!! As a side note, Monsters Inc is still my favourite Pixar feature ;-)

Related posts:
Pixar Brave wireframes

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