This year’s 89th Academy Awards was easily one of the most memorable ones to date- and not just because of that tiny, little mix up for Best Picture.

As predicted, Zootopia took home the oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. While we were hopeful for Kubo and the Two Strings, it was without a doubt a well-deserved win for this Walt Disney production for many reasons.  What impressed us most about this movie was the impeccable attention to detail in the configuration of the animals. While we’d like to think this was simply created by the magical touch of Disney, there was an extensive process conducting before the making of the characters that included nearly a year of research studying animals and building custom-made software. The team at Walt Disney’s Animation Studios concluded that the best way to go about making the animals look as realistic as possible was by focusing on their fur. They spent months studying animal fur, learning the ins and outs of different coatings and textures, such as how specific furs would react to light, types of weather, or movements. The next step was then to take this knowledge and apply it to a custom-made software that would help the team execute the animals’ fur. A recent article in Engadget unveiled that this newly produced software is called iGroom, a fur-controlling tool that had never been used before Zootopia. It went on to explain that:

“The software helped shape about 2.5 million hairs on the leading bunny and about the same on the fox. A giraffe in the movie walks around with 9 million hairs, while a gerbil has about 480,000 (even the rodent in the movie beats Elsa’s 400,000 strands in Frozen)…The software gave the animators a ton of flexibility. They could play around with the fur — brush it, shape it and shade it — to create the stupendous range of animals for the movie.”

Check out the entire article on Engadget for a deeper look into the the magical making of the animals in Zootopia. 

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