In the ’80s, when you wanted big hair you whipped out the Aqua Net. But it wasn’t so easy for animators. The Little Mermaid‘s Princess Ariel was meant to sport curls, but the technology just wasn’t there in 1989—rendering that kind of bounce and frizz, cel after hand-drawn cel, was all but impossible. Now, though, animated big hair is finally on the big screen in Disney/Pixar’s Brave.
The movie centers on Merida, a feisty Scottish princess on a quest to save her kingdom from a curse. To illustrate her fiery spirit, filmmakers wanted Merida’s locks to spring off the screen—”Curly hair almost defies gravity,” simulation supervisor Claudia Chung says—but Pixar’s old CG hair simulator (used in 2001′s Monsters, Inc.) wasn’t up to the task.
So in 2009 Chung’s team designed a new simulator named Taz, after the wild Looney Tunes character. It forms individual coils around computer-generated cylinders of varying lengths and diameters. The resulting locks stretch out when Merida runs but snap back into place as soon as she stops. Each strand is also strung through with a flexible “core curve,” like the string of a beaded necklace, that lets the coils bounce and brush against one another without unwinding.
The full story – Pixar Reinvents Big Hair for Brave
Six families of makers from the Bay Area are working on building a fully-operational motion controlled flight simulator based on the fighter ship from Battlestar Galactica.
Using the fuselage of a small plane, the team has already built a motion platform that rotates a full dizzying 360 degrees in both the pitch and roll axes. They’re still a ways away from finishing the project, including furnishing the interior of the cockpit to look like the ship from the show, and programming the open source flight simulator software to work with their rig.
The goal is to finish The Viper by this year’s Bay Area Maker Faire on May 19th.
The project is even more impressive when you consider that the team that’s building it mostly consists of middle and high school students, with some help from their parents and mentors.
You can learn more about all this by visiting the project home, The Viper, or through the Kickstarter fundraising project. Oh, and check out my favorite part of the whole thing, the test model built using legos…I would love to see NASA doing that 🙂