Project Description

The Science Behind Pixar

About the Exhibit

The Science Behind Pixar is a 13,000 square foot exhibition touring two copies — one nationally, and one internationally. It was a collaboration between the Museum of Science, Boston, and Pixar Animation Studios.

This interactive exhibition shows you the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts used by the artists and computer scientists who bring Pixar’s award-winning films to the big screen. Its eight sections (with more than 50 interactive elements) focus on steps in the filmmaking process, so you can experience an unparalleled view of the production pipeline and concepts used at Pixar every day.


Each interactive in The Science Behind Pixar was designed to teach a single aspect of computer animation. We used a variety of both tactile and touchscreen interfaces. All of the assets we received from Pixar were designed for film, not real time use, so we had to recreate, texture, and rig the 3D models. The interactives were designed in Unity, and we used Arduino microcontrollers to read a variety of sensors and communicate the data over serial.

Pixar at Home

Along with the physical exhibit we also launched an online version designed for students to learn at home and provided lesson plans for teachers. We also exported some of the interactives to WebGL so students could play with them in their web browser. Check out the site for yourself, maybe you’ll get inspired to be an animator!

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