Features and Columns · Movies

How Pixar Animates Realistic-Looking Clothing

This is like when you want to eat animated food but it’s clothing.
Incredibles 2 Pixar animated clothing
By  · Published on December 4th, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video on how Pixar animates realistic clothing.

There are some things that Pixar does better than anyone else. They are the undefeated champions of making adults (me) ugly cry (still me). And there are few studios that can rival their incredible original soundtrack run. But today, let’s focus on one of Pixar’s more … tactile strengths: clothing.

Amidst its many areas of expertise, Pixar has been on a near-twenty-five year mission to perfect the art, science, and philosophy of computer-generated clothing. After all, garments are one of those tiny-but-important details that sell you on a world that must be fully-fabricated from the ground up.

And there is, in a sense, an uncanny valley for animated clothing. If the weight of a jean jacket is off, you’ll be able to tell. If the folds in a terrycloth robe don’t sit right, it’ll feel off. And if a character’s movement does not properly affect the movement of their clothing, you will absolutely notice.

The secret to Pixar’s success in the realm of realistic textiles is an approach the studio has optimized and expanded since their 1997 short Geri’s Game. Namely: the studio has developed a way to automate animated clothing. So, in addition to the detailed labor of their character tailoring artists and animators, Pixar has FizT (pronounced fizz-tee, short for “physics tool”), which allows them to automate everything from shading to cloth dynamics.

The video essay below unravels the labor, time, and technology that goes into Pixar’s process for animated clothing, and how their approach has evolved from film to film.

Watch “How Pixar Makes Animated Clothes Look Real | Movies Insider“:

Who made this?

Insider is a global news publication that specializes in video content. They cover all manner of topics, including film production. You can subscribe to them on YouTube here.

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Based in the Pacific North West, Meg enjoys long scrambles on cliff faces and cozying up with a good piece of 1960s eurotrash. As a senior contributor at FSR, Meg's objective is to spread the good word about the best of sleaze, genre, and practical effects.