The Complicated Computer Modeling Behind an Animated Snowball

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 26 2013 12:02 PM

The Complicated Computer Modeling Behind an Animated Snowball

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In Frozen, snow is everywhere.

Disney

In Disney’s Frozen, loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, a trio of characters—Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and snowman Olaf (Josh Gad)—hope to save the kingdom from an eternal winter, created by Anna’s sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), who uses her powers to cast snow and ice across the land in a fit of rage. That means a lot of snow to animate, and it all behaves in impressively snow-like fashion.

How’d they do it? In this short film, a Disney animator explains the rather complicated process. While the narrator can be hard to understand (he talks rather quickly), the visuals are easy to follow, and it’s pretty interesting to see how much computer modeling went into making, say, a snowball.

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Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.