Behind Brave: The Pixar Process - Merida’s Hair #pixar
There’s volume. There’s, there’s length. There’s different size curls.
One of the biggest challenges was animating Merida’s hair. In fact, it was so difficult that Merida’s hair was actually considered to be its own character and the Pixar team created a new process to make the hairdo, um, do. From Claudia:
The curls themselves are really tightly wound curls, but the movement of her overall curl is nice and soft. And there’s also these hairs that break away from her silhouette to show her wildness, her adventurousness, and that’s kind of the key look for Merida’s hair that we had to hit when we designed her. So, as a groomer, this is what I would see in the computer… I would take her scalp and basically grow curls off of her head and detail exactly how those curls grow.
The groomer who actually worked on Merida developed a new technique because she was like, “How do I get these curls that look the way the art director wants or the director wants?” She’s like, “I really need a curling iron.” So she actually built in the computer a curling iron where she could change the sizes of the cylinder, the length and stuff, so she could curl the curves around that.
The length of her curl, if you were to pull it straight, will measure out 4 feet long. Merida herself is only five four, so she has really long hair. It’s fifteen hundred hand-placed, sculpted curves. So that’s a lot of time in the wig-making process… all of these different colors (below) actually represent different layers of her hair, kind of like you would in Photoshop… in the end it’s a 111,000 curves that get rendered on her head.