The Complicated Computer Modeling Behind an Animated Snowball

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

The Complicated Computer Modeling Behind an Animated Snowball

1385482963
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.

Advertisement

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Politics

The Right to Run

If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 6:30 PM The Tragedies That Have Shaped Canada's Gun Politics
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 4:10 PM Skinny Mark Wahlberg Goes for an Oscar: The First Trailer for The Gambler
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.