Monday, February 26, 2007

Pixar Is Inventing New Math

Tony DeRose, a resident computer nerd at Pixar, said today that much of their work while creating new films requires the creation of new math. The problem is that human skin, for example, goes through extreme deformations when it is being animated. Because of that the Pixar team needs to figure out new ways to represent complex geometry. Otherwise, a character's skin could fall apart, tear, or melt off their bodies when the images are rendered

Their goal for integrating these new methods, says DeRose (who has a degree in Physics and a PhD in Computer Science) is that, "the science should not replace art. We don't want fully automatic techniques [for image creation], we just want to enhance the art. [New software] should be intuitive to the artist, not just the scientist."

What they're finding is that the interplay between academics and industry has been hugely successful. According to DeRose they now have more courage to explore scientific musings that would normally only have been possible in a university environment.

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