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The math behind the movies: An interview with Tony DeRose of Pixar

Originally posted on TED Blog:

Tony DeRose captivated the audience at TEDYouth, sharing how mathematics makes Pixar characters look so life-like. Photo: Ryan Lash

Tony DeRose captivated the young audience at TEDYouth, talking about how mathematics makes Pixar characters look so real. Photo: Ryan Lash

Pixar films are known for their thoughtful storytelling and groundbreaking animation. One of the coolest things about these movies: the math that Pixar’s team is actually inventing to improve the audience experience and the look of the characters. We caught up with Pixar’s Research Lead, Tony DeRose—who gave the TED-Ed Lesson, “The math behind the movies,” about how arithmetic, trigonometry and geometry helped bring Woody and the rest of your favorite characters to life—to hear more. Bonus: we got to hear about his own progression from building model rockets to creating Oscar-winning characters.

What got you interested in mathematics as a kid?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in science, but my interest in mathematics really began when I was in 7th grade. I was into building model…

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