Brain Springs: Fast Physics for Large Crowds in WALL•E

by Paul Kanyuk | Pixar Animation Studios

The following videos are short clips from the making of the feature animated film WALL•E and demonstrate aspects of technology used to create its crowd animation. Many images are rough previews of work in progress, although the later videos include some finished work.

» Read the full article from IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications

Videos 1-6     |     Videos 7-12     |     Videos 13-18

Video 1. This video shows a hovering crowd robot from WALL•E. The subtle oscillations help keep the agent from looking lifeless.

Video 3. This video shows four different robot agents with four different sets of hover parameters. An animator tuned each set of parameters to give each hover a distinctive personality. The larger agents have more lumbering hovers, whereas some of the smaller agents have more frenetic movements.

Video 5. This video shows an agent demonstrating reaction using brain springs: the agent bounces with accelerations and deceleration in a spring-like manner.

Video 2. This agent's hover is created from sine waves at varying frequencies and amplitudes controlling each degree of freedom. Over time, the hover begins to degrade into odd "gallops" and "limps." Phase constraints ultimately helped alleviate this problem.

Video 4. This video shows an agent demonstrating anticipation: the agent banks just before the turn occurs, giving the impression that the turn is anticipated.

Video 6. This video shows an agent demonstrating brain-spring-based reaction applied to its limbs: the agent’s arms bend with changes in acceleration.


Videos 7-12