Hyperion: The technology behind the magic of Big Hero 6

At first glance it might seem like Disney’s Big Hero 6 is just another animated movie. In fact, even when you’re watching it, it’s easy to take the animated world for granted, and not even realize just how vast and detailed it is–thanks to Hyperion.

When Disney created the movie Tangled it was considered to be a technological marvel because of how well it could render the physics of Rapunzel’s hair. Hyperion can render the entire movie Tangled from scratch in only 10 days. What’s more impressive is that Disney developers created Hyperion while Big Hero 6 was in production.

I wrote about the impact of Hyperion on Big Hero 6 in this blog post:

Like millions of other movie-goers, I took my kids to see Disney’s latest animated adventure, Big Hero 6. To be honest, I went to see Big Hero 6, and I took the kids along so it wouldn’t seem awkward. The big screen adaptation of a relatively obscure Marvel comics series is a great movie that I highly recommend. One of the things that makes it so awesome, though, is the technology that went into creating it—namely the Hyperion rendering system.

I had a chance recently to speak with Hank Driskill, technical supervisor for Big Hero 6, about Hyperion, and the role cutting edge technology played in bringing the story to life. Hyperion is only one of about 50 or 60 brand new technologies that were created just for Big Hero 6, but Hyperion is arguably the most important one. Driskill told me it was a scary leap. “Rendering engines are a big component that are crucial to getting frames on film.”

One of the most interesting things about developing the movie using Hyperion is the risk that was involved. Hyperion did not exist when production began. Disney literally (the actual version of literally—not the new definition that actually means figuratively) developed Hyperion as Big Hero 6 was being produced. Throughout production, Disney had a backup—a Plan B—to revert to existing rendering technologies if Hyperion didn’t work out.

Check out the complete story on Forbes: The Amazing Technology Behind Disney’s Big Hero 6.

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