I was provided with an all expenses paid trip by Disney in exchange for my coverage. All opinions are always my own!
What is rigging you ask? Rigging — animating skeletons and making them 3D, in simple terms. Before heading to the Disney Animation Studios and into the rigging lab I had no idea what rigging was or how characters got their animation. I knew cartoons started out as sketches and then they somehow turned into 3D characters, but I didn’t know how that happened exactly and after some time with Frank, Keith, and Greg I learned a lot.
Some Fun Facts about Frozen Rigging:
- Frozen has more characters than any other Disney movie with 312 characters in the kingdom with 245 cloth rigs and 63 hair rigs.
- Frozen used a Scandinavian, Norwegian set film, with a lot of traditional Norwegian hairstyles represented. That includes a lot of braids and buns and those are very hard to create.
- Elsa has hair 420,000 hairs on her head. That’s about four times more than an actual person has, with an actual person having an average of 100,000 hairs. Compare her to Rapunzel who only has 30,000 hairs on her head.
- The costumes the characters are wearing consist of folklore costumes in Norway. All of the dresses have foundation garments that include pantaloons, petticoats, under skirts and over skirts. They’re very layered complex outfits and highly detailed.
With the rigging process they start with a digital sculpture and build a skeleton that they can add skin and muscle to. Finally they build a set of animation controls that really allow the animators to push and pull a character around through a giant range of motion and then they add the costumes, hair, ect. After we learned about how the rigging process works we got to play around with it for ourselves. There’s nothing like some hands on learning.
I got to play around with Olaf and see how they change facial expressions, move limbs, and all that fun stuff. I have no idea so much work went into it and how long the process can be.
After learning about and experiencing the rigging lab I have a new found appreciation for animated movies. So much work and dedication goes into them and the end result is a great animated movie!