The man responsible for much of the magic in movies such as “Up,” “Wall-E” and “Cars” will give a behind-the-scenes look at how it’s done during a lecture at Cal Poly Pomona on April 4.
Chris Ford, business director for Pixar Animation Studios’ RenderMan team, oversees the development of the software used in the creation of the eye-catching imagery Pixar is known for.
His lecture, “The Present and Future of Cinematic Photorealism,” is being sponsored by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and will provide insight into how science and technology are combining with art to create new visual forms.
Alex Rudolph, professor of physics and astronomy, says his department has good reason to host the lecture.
One way astronomers can learn more about the cosmos is by modeling stars, galaxies, and their surroundings on a computer and observing how they behave, he says.
“One of the things you want to do is make a model, make it 3-D, rotate it around and see it from different angles,” Rudolph says.
The software Pixar uses to simulate light reflecting off a surface or how a character moves follows the same basic principles.
“They use a lot of physics in creating their product,” Rudolph says. “It turns out the astronomy community and the animation community have taught each other a lot.”
Ford also happens to be an “avid amateur astronomer,” Rudolph says. Both Ford and Rudolph are on the Board of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
The lecture will be held in the College of Business Administration auditorium (Building 162 – Room 1001) at 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served beginning at 3:50 p.m. For more information, visit physics.cpp.edu/news-and-events/seminar-schedule/event/52-special-seminar-chris-ford-pixar-animation-studios.