15-462 Computer Graphics I
Guest Lecture

Dynamics in Monsters, Inc.: Papers to Product to Productions
David Baraff, Pixar


Dynamic simulation had a major role in shaping the final look of Monsters, Inc.'s main characters, but from the start, it was set in stone that simulation could only be used if it didn't interfere in Pixar's traditional creative process. This talk gives a candid behind-the-scenes look at the core physical simulation technologies employed to create Monsters, Inc., describes the balancing of creative and technical needs due to simulation, and reveals the difficult effects that were easy, and the simple shots that were hard.

No matter what your current or future interest in computer graphics is---student, researcher, developer, end-user---you'll also have a chance to see all the aspects that can be involved in a career in this area. This talk will pull back the curtain on the development process itself, with an opportunity to follow the evolution of the key technology from its research origin at CMU ("papers"), to an initial commercial implementation in Alias|Wavefront's Maya animation system ("product"), and then to its current role at Pixar Studios ("production").


Speaker Bio

David Baraff joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1998 as a Senior Animation Scientist in Pixar's research and development group. Prior to his arrival at Pixar, he was an Associate Professor of Robotics, and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. David Baraff received his Ph.D. in computer science from Cornell University in 1992, and his Bs.E. in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. Before and during his graduate studies, he also worked at Bell Laboratories' Computer Technology Research Laboratory doing computer graphics research, including real-time 3D interactive animation and games. In 1992, he joined the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University. In 1995, he was named an ONR Young Investigator. His research interests include physical simulation and modeling for computer graphics and animation.

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Frank Pfenning