Technical Supervisor Hank Driskill Explains the Tech Behind Disney's Big Hero 6

Technical Supervisor Hank Driskill Explains the Tech Behind Disney's Big Hero 6

Love Big Hero 6? The movie wouldn't have been possible without Disney's new Hyperion rendering tech.

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Ok I'm impressed by the technical feat, however, if I'm honest I don't know what it adds exactly. Sure you could see every building in the town but why would you want to and what does that add to the experience? I for one never got the sense that the production quality was significantly better than most other recent animated features...

having the whole city on display was to establish a scope on the city's size, a minor way of world building without exposition.

TallanKhan:
Ok I'm impressed by the technical feat, however, if I'm honest I don't know what it adds exactly. Sure you could see every building in the town but why would you want to and what does that add to the experience? I for one never got the sense that the production quality was significantly better than most other recent animated features...

There must be a lot of shots in the movie that show a buttload of buildings at a time.

What I couldn't help but notice is that they never delved into the details of what Hyperion actually does to make what they described possible. I'm a nerd; I want to know this stuff! I mean, if they're really paranoid about rival companies copying it, that's what patents are for. Or better yet, don't try to stop other companies from doing cool stuff in an industry where your stories and art are what ultimately puts butts in the seats and, besides, there's plenty of room for more than one movie per year in people's collections.

Steve the Pocket:
...don't try to stop other companies from doing cool stuff in an industry where your stories and art are what ultimately puts butts in the seats and, besides, there's plenty of room for more than one movie per year in people's collections.

But their technology improves their art (apparently: I haven't seen BH6), so why would/should they not want to keep that and be the guys who can do superior cities and nanobot swarms? It's not like the standard of previous animated films has been lacklustre, just that now Disney has stepped up their game.

Shame they could not fix the uneven nonsensical script and sloppy characterisation.

The thing about this system is that it really only saves on money and time for the studio. It doesn't primarily up technical barriers but rather monetary ones. Instead of having to render a frame in multiple passes, they can use the new system to do it faster which means it costs less and cost is king in movies. It's essentially down to making a factory line more efficient.

So for example when they pitched the mini bots. (Tiny bots that form up shapes kinda like the sandman in spiderman.) It originally would have been. "We can do these shots for $x million" which may have been too expensive and not enough bang for the buck. Now with this new system they can do it for less and make it look better because the system is better. So it's less a case of the art is better or design is better. But rather, the tools are better. It opens things up for the artists, but I would argue that does not equal better movies. Toy Story 1 is an incredibly basic movie by todays standards and it is still a classic, full of expressive, well written and designed characters. What makes movies good, are good movies.

Big budget animation is like big budget movies. You can have more complexity and effects. But if the script and aesthetics are not up to muster then it's not going to be a good movie. (Which I gotta say, I think is true here.)

 

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