Beginning July 26, visitors to the Museum of Science, Boston will be inspired by the science and technology behind some of the most beloved animated films with The Science Behind Pixar. This interactive, 12,000 square foot exhibition showcases the computer science, math, and science concepts used by the artists and computer scientists who help bring Pixar Animation Studios’ award-winning films to the big screen.
Created by the Museum of Science, Boston and Pixar Animation Studios and featuring more than 50 interactive elements, The Science Behind Pixar shows the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) thinking skills needed to create compelling films. The exhibition is organized into eight sections, each focusing on a step of Pixar’s technical process—modeling, rigging, surfaces, sets & cameras, animation, simulation, lighting, and rendering.
Visitors of all ages will engage in and learn about the filmmaking process through activities inspired by some of Pixar’s most treasured films, from the first-ever computer animated feature film Toy Story, which opened over two decades ago, to Pixar’s summer 2018 release, Incredibles 2. Since The Science Behind Pixar’s world premiere at the Museum of Science in 2015, the exhibition has traveled to seven cities across the U.S. and a second version of the exhibition tours internationally. In total, over 2.3 million visitors have experienced The Science Behind Pixar to date.
“The Science Behind Pixar is an interactive exhibit that offers people an opportunity to understand how we make our films,” said Jim Morris, president of Pixar Animation Studios. “At Pixar, we use science, technology, engineering, art, and math—along with a significant dash of creativity and fun—and this exhibit is truly a great demonstration of how all those ingredients come together in our filmmaking process.”
To better understand the science and math that goes into creating Pixar’s worlds and characters, visitors will hear directly from members of the studios’ production teams. They will also be invited to experience different roles within the production pipeline, through screen-based activities and physical interactive elements.
In Sets & Cameras, for example, visitors will discover how camera placement and angles created a bug’s-eye view for A Bug’s Life. Visitors will have a chance to try creating a digital sculpture from an artist’s sketch in Modeling, and use lights to solve challenges similar to ones Pixar faced in creating underwater scenes with virtual light in Finding Nemo in Lighting. Rigging showcases how the models are given a virtual skeleton that enables the animators to pose them, and in Surfaces, visitors can immerse themselves in the techniques that give surfaces color and texture.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to take their photo with human-size recreations of many of their favorite Pixar characters, including Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley, Edna Mode, and WALL•E.
“We are thrilled to welcome our community back to the Museum of Science with the return of our blockbuster exhibition, The Science Behind Pixar,” said Tim Ritchie, Museum of Science President. “The exhibition is sure to bring joy to our visitors of all ages, as they see themselves as creators of their favorite Pixar films and learn about the unique combination of science and art within the imaginative and inventive world of computer animation.”
The cost of admission is included with Exhibit Halls ticket. All visitors, including Museum of Science members, must reserve a timed ticket for The Science Behind Pixar along with their Exhibit Halls ticket in advance of their visit. Capacity is limited to allow for safe social distancing, so it is strongly recommended that tickets are reserved at least three days in advance. Purchase tickets online at mos.org, or by phone at 617-723-2500.
For full details on how to plan for your visit to the Museum, visit https://www.mos.org/exhibits/the-science-behind-pixar.