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Disney and Unity Team Up on ‘Baymax Dreams’ Animated Shorts

Real-time gaming tools used to produce three new shorts, inspired by ‘Big Hero 6 The Series.’ 

BURBANK & SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Disney Television Animation, an industry leader in the production of quality animated properties for television, and Unity Technologies, creator of the world’s most widely-used real-time 3D development platform, today announced a unique collaboration, Baymax Dreams, a series of three broadcast-quality shorts based on the Emmy Award-nominated television series, Big Hero 6 The Series. The 2-3 minute-long shorts are being created using Unity’s real-time rendering technology that enhances traditional animation pipelines by employing non-linear workflows and tools traditionally used in the gaming industry.

This collaboration, along with Cycles, Disney’s first VR film which premieres next week at SIGGRAPH, offer the latest - and possibly most significant - proof point of Unity’s impact and potential for the future of film and real-time rendering.

Directed by Simon J. Smith (Bee Movie, Penguins of Madagascar and Shrek 4D), Baymax Dreams features the cutting-edge robot, Baymax, dreaming of electric sheep, bedbugs, and duplicates of himself. The shorts will debut on DisneyNOW and Disney Channel YouTube Saturday, September 15.

“Working in Unity is like having every department at your fingertips -- it completely revolutionizes the production process,” said Smith. “The results of Unity’s parallel, non-linear workflow and real-time rendering meant we were able to make Baymax Dreams in half the time -- allowing us to spend the other half on experimentation and the creative process.”

“We are always looking at how our teams can innovate in ways that help move the industry forward -- it’s in our Disney DNA,” said JR Grant, senior vice president, Product and Technology, Direct to Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company. “Baymax Dreams and the technology used to create these shorts represent an evolution of the traditional animation production process that allows for greater freedom, creativity and the ability to easily produce content across multiple platforms.”

Unity’s powerful real-time rendering technology brings speed and creative freedom to film and content makers for real-world work. The tech gives studios the freedom to do layout, animation blending, light, VFX, render, and composite all in one place, at the same time.

“It’s great to see the magic of real-time technology come to life with a collaborator like Disney Television Animation. Our tools allow filmmakers of all sizes, from small indie shops to blockbuster movie studios, to iterate at the speed of thought. We can’t wait to show SIGGRAPH attendees how we are working together to push the boundaries of what’s possible in television, film, and beyond,” said Clive Downie, chief marketing officer, Unity Technologies.

Unity will dive deeper into the collaboration with Disney Television Animation with a series of hands-on demos and discussions next week at SIGGRAPH in Unity’s breakout sessions in Room 18 in the East Building:

  • Baymax Dreams: Real Time Directing for Episode Animation - Director Simon J. Smith and Adam Myhill will direct an animated scene from Baymax Dreams live in Unity.
  • Baymax Dreams: Pipeline Tooling for Episodic Animation - Made with Unity’s Mike Wuetherick and Baymax Dreams technical supervisor Michael Breymann will present on the benefits and challenges of real-time workflows for episodic animation.
  • Baymax Dreams: Graphics, Lighting & FX for real-time animation, in Unity - Unity graphics programmer, John Parsaie, will walk through best practices in shading and real-time lighting for episodic animation.

Source: Disney Television Animation